If you want to have fun and live a more active lifestyle, you might try playing Ultimate Frisbee with family and friends. In 2012 there were 5.1 million Ultimate Frisbee players in the U.S. The game has become a global phenomenon that is played by recreational, school, club and national teams at various age levels as well as with men, women’s and mixed competition tournaments.
There are many benefits to playing a game that does not involve any risks for serious injuries because the recreation does not involve physical contact. It can be played practically anywhere, preferably in an open field or in any spacious area. Fancy uniforms or very expensive Frisbees are not needed to play this game.
“If you want to go out and have fun you can play Ultimate Frisbee,” said Parker Cass, a Cleveland native who graduated from Walker Valley High School. “There’s plenty of people, including myself, who aren’t really extremely physically conditioned to be out running back and forth. That’s when the recreational part of it comes into effect. There’s a lot of people who play with us at Westwood who aren’t in the best shape. We just go out there to have fun. We have one guy who’s 65 who comes out and play.”
During the game, players may run, walk, jog or jump without fully realizing that they are enjoying the benefits of exercise. After several months of regularly playing Ultimate Frisbee, players have noted more leg muscles, more muscular endurance and improved respiratory health.
Cass, who said he remembers throwing his first Frisbee in the yard with his father when he was only 6 or 7-years-old, went on to play Ultimate Frisbee as an organized sport for recreational purposes.
“I used to play in high school,” Cass said. “A couple of my friends introduced me to it in a club at school. We use to play at the YMCA. Now we’ve moved over to Westwood — behind Westwood Baptist Church. Some of the members I play with, we also play together in Chattanooga. We play with the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga’s club team. Sometimes they will bring in other teams to scrimmage against.”
Cass also played Ultimate Frisbee with the East Tennessee State University Buccaneers when he was in college. The 20-year-old said he enjoys playing the game both recreationally and competitively.
“I’ve played Ultimate Frisbee recreationally for four years,” Cass said. “I’ve played competitively for about two years. In competitive Ultimate (Frisbee) there is different styles of defense that you play. There are also different zones. Recreationally, everybody usually guards man-to-man and just runs around. But in competitive there are different zones and different versions of the man-to-man defense.”
Regarding the benefits of playing Ultimate Frisbee, Cass said, “There’s a lot of running involved so you get a lot of cardio out of it. I feel a lot better any time I’m able to get out there and play. When I played for ETSU we played at a lot of different places and met a lot of people. In our very first tournament we went to South Carolina and played against Duke University, Texas, Tennessee, Vanderbilt — a lot of really big name schools. So I met tons of people who also love Ultimate (Frisbee).”
The basic rules of Ultimate Frisbee are simple. Points are scored by tossing the Frisbee to a teammate in the opposing end zone. The two teams begin at opposite end zones and try to advance the frisbee to the other end zone. Once in play, the frisbee may be moved only by tossing it through the air.
The player catching the Frisbee can pivot on one foot, but cannot take any steps while holding the Frisbee. If a pass is incomplete, intercepted or caught out of bounds, the opposing team immediately gains possession and tries to move the Frisbee in the other direction. If either team successfully advances the Frisbee into the end zone, that team scores a point and the teams swap directions.
Some players prefer giving the player holding the frisbee a limited time to throw it. They allow a defensive player within 10 feet of the thrower to count to 10 out loud and if the Frisbee is not thrown within the 10 seconds, the defense immediately gains possession.
According to Cass, each score equals one point. The winner is the first to reach 15 points. If time runs out in the alloted time and the game is tied, the game can go into overtime where the first team to score wins. Uniforms are usually light verses dark, meaning everyone on the same team is wearing one color or the other.
Since many people play Ultimate Frisbee without a referee, the players get the honor to call fouls and settle disputes among themselves. Honesty and sportsmanship are very important to the game, which may help youths build character and integrity. Cass said what he like most about Ultimate Frisbee is being able to go outside and hang out with friends.
“We try to play twice a week — usually on Mondays — sometimes on Wednesdays,” he said. “I haven’t been able to get my girlfriend into the sport yet. But we had three members on our team at ETSU who were female. In one of the places we went, we played against an all female team. They were good!”
Cass, a cashier at Publix in Cleveland, said he still likes wearing his ETSU jersey when he plays Ultimate Frisbee, adding, “It’s a great way to stay active, plus I really love the sport.”
Ultimate Frisbee combines the action of soccer, while using hands, with the look of football but without the hits. It’s a cardiovascular workout with an emphasis on fast-moving fun and a healthier way to improve your social life.