http://savas.ca/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/10584037_10152579199114670_2244627851418541004_n.jpg 960w" sizes="(max-width: 960px) 100vw, 960px" />
I’ve just returned from the 2014 Canadian Ultimate Championships, for which I essentially took a week off all programming to play ultimate. For those of you completely uninterested in this sport, please ignore this post.
Ultimate is a relatively new sport, which is played with a frisbee (yes, like the one you throw at the beach). It plays similarly to football, but without tackling- contact is much more similar to soccer (bodying, etc.). It’s been a growing sport, especially over the last couple years, with two vibrant pro scenes with the MLU and AUDL, which have been relatively successful across all of North America. Vancouver has two pro teams, the Nighthawks (MLU), and Riptide (AUDL), both of which have reasonably large followings, although these followings are still mainly made up of ultimate players. I won’t go too much more into detail about what ultimate is, but if you’re not convinced as to it’s viability as a sport, just check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzOFaUac1dQ
I’ve played ultimate since grade 8 but only very casually. In grade 12 I took it more seriously and in the summer of 2013 (last summer) started playing in the club scene. In North America, there are currently 4 different “tiers” of ultimate, each of which involves different skill and different commitment. There is local ultimate (VUL in Vancouver), varsity ultimate (university), club ultimate (summer), and pro ultimate. My first season as a club player, I made it onto Misfit, the 2nd best team in the Vancouver area, and we went on to take 2nd place at BC Regionals as well. Our national showing was an unfortunate 9th, but playing for that summer really opened my eyes to the potential of ultimate.
When I went to McMaster, I immediately joined the ultimate team there, where I was met with open arms (as there are relatively few people coming to university with prior ultimate experience). Our team played at CUUC (Canadian University Ultimate Championships), and placed 7th/8th, which was surprising for our University which typically places lower. Playing over the summer and then at University convinced me that this was a sport that I wanted to put a lot of effort into, as I found it very enjoyable. The ultimate community, being still relatively small, is very warm and tight-knit. Even after playing for only a couple of years, at Nationals it was hard to walk for more than a few minutes without seeing someone I knew and stop for a conversation. As someone who’s other hobby is spent mostly sitting down (programming), having a sport that I genuinely enjoy is great and gives my life a lot more balance. Ultimate is by no means an easy sport, in fact it involves more running than most sports I can think of. During a point, cutters (one of the two main positions) spend most of their time sprinting, stopping, then sprinting in the other direction (“Making a cut”).
I’ll make another post soon about my overall experience at CUC 2014.