Middle of October in Rochester, New York. “Stall one, stall two!” Rain is pouring down, wind whipping the leaves around, hot breath hanging in the cold air. “Stall three, stall four!” Hands shaking, the final seconds of the game. “Stall five, stall six!” It all comes down to this last moment. “Stall seven!” The handler looks around, practically begging someone to become open. “Stall eight!” The popper cut to the left unexpectedly, surprising the defense. “Stall nine!” The handler throws the disk at the last possible second, just as the popper dives towards the end zone. A perfect catch. Winning point scored for Nazareth college. The winners celebrate their victory with cheers and congrats from everyone.
This is Naz Ultimate.
How do you become a part of this experience, you ask? First learn the basics about Ultimate. Ultimate, sometimes known as Ultimate Frisbee (although Ultimate is the official name of the sport), simply put is a mixture of soccer and football played with frisbees. There are some coed or all female teams, but most teams around the US are all male teams. There are college teams and recreational teams. There are no refs, even in the official games, proving that overall, Ultimate is a relaxed, but competitive, club sport.
Now for the set up. There are seven people on the field from each team, so 14 on the field all together. The field itself is usually about the length of a soccer field, with end zones on both sides, which are marked by cones. The game starts with a pull, meaning the defense throws the disk towards the offense and the game starts from where the disc lands or from where the offense catches it.
Onto the game rules. The person with the disc can’t move from the spot from where they caught the disc, although they can pivot, like in basketball. The person with the disc also only has 10 seconds to throw the disc to their teammate before it gets handed over to the opposing team. This is called the stall count, because when the disc is in the offense’s hand, a defenseman comes up and says “stall one, stall two, stall three…” to inform the offense how much time they have to throw the disc. The disc is turned over to the other team when the disc is dropped, intercepted, or if the stall count gets to 10.
Now for the players. A traditional offensive set up is known as a Horizontal Stack. This means that there are three handlers, two poppers, and two wings on the field. Handlers are the people who control the disc for most of the game. They usually stay towards the back of the field and will pass to either the poppers or the wings. Poppers “pop” up and down the field, cutting back and forth in an attempt to get open for the handlers to throw them the disc. The wings stay to the right and left most sides of the field, and they generally are there for long distance throws. The Horizontal Stack is just one of many different types of set ups Ultimate players may use during the game.
On to the important stuff, aka how you win. A point is scored when someone from outside the end zone, usually the handler, throws the disc to someone inside the end zone, usually a popper or a wing. When a point is scored, subs can come on the field, and a pull from the team that scored begins the next round. The game ends when a team reaches 15 points, which usually takes about an hour and a half.
Let’s finally talk about Naz Ultimate. Naz Ultimate is a coed team, which is relatively unusual for a college team, meaning that most of the teams Naz plays are all male teams. Usually the teams played are from other colleges, but they occasionally play recreational teams as well. There is no official Ultimate season, which means Naz Ultimate goes all year long.
The time commitment. Tuesdays and Thursdays are practice nights and Friday is game night almost every week. Every few weeks there are tournaments, where many different teams from around the area gather and play each other. They usually play about four games in one day during these tournaments. During spring break, everyone from the Ultimate team drives down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to participate in a week long tournament, called High Tide. Teams from all around the country go there for a few weeks and participate, although Naz only stays for one week. Not all the time is spent playing frisbee though. There is plenty of time to relax on the beach and hang out with your new Ultimate friends.
Naz Ultimate is a great sport to play if you want to stay active and have fun. Ultimate is a great sport for everyone to be a part of, and they’re always looking for more people to join. If you’re interested in joining the team, or just joining them for practices, feel free to contact Kevin Printup, firstname.lastname@example.org, for any more information about Naz Ultimate.