Remember when you were a kid and playing Frisbee meant standing on the beach or in your backyard leisurely tossing the disc to and fro. A few consecutive catches and all active participants were delighted. As gas and food prices remind us on a daily basis, times are changing.
I learned about disc golf two years ago. Sure I witnessed "dudes" throwing "Frisbees" at metal baskets in the past, but I just figured they could not find a friend to play catch with. Now, I enjoy the walk through the park.
A few months ago my coworker mentioned Ultimate Frisbee. She thought it would be a good story. I thought she was crazy.
My first thoughts were to my Commodore 64. I had a game where one blocky-pixilated droid would throw a disc. It would sail methodically across the screen. Then, you would attempt to catch the disc on the other end of the screen. The more difficult, the more points you scored.
So you can see why I thought my coworker was crazy. How is this a sport? What fun would that be? Will she next ask me to write about an extreme hacky sack group? Oh the dilemma.
Suffice it to say I checked into Ultimate. Turns out I was wrong... again. Not a bad activity. A pleasant surprise to say the least.
The game began in 1968 by a group of high school students in New Jersey. The first official rules of the game were recorded in 1970.
Today, the Ultimate Player's Association (www.upa.org
) is the governing body for the world of Ultimate.
"Ultimate is played by good athletes that don't fit many of your common sports stereotypes," said Terrell Hoagland. He is Tournament Director for the upcoming Summer Solstice tournament. It takes place June 28 and 29 at Valley Park Soccer Complex, 3151 Keetonville Road, in Claremore.
The players may not have been big enough for football or tall enough for basketball. The common thread? "They are usually fast, scrappy and fun loving," said Hoagland.
"Not disc golf!" I was reminded by one of the players. Scrappy indeed.
How about I breakdown the game for a first timer?
You're going to need some land. Some open space if you will. A playing field is 70 yards by 40 yards with 25 yard deep end zones. A regulation game sees seven participants per team. Soccer fields work fantastic.
A player in possession of the disc may not run (or walk for that matter). They must advance the disc by throwing it to a teammate. They have 10 seconds to throw the disc and a defender counts them aloud. Ultimate is a transition game in which players switch between offense and defense on turnovers that occur with an incomplete pass, out of bounds throw, a 10-second stall, or a block or drop. Points are made by teams working the disc up the field and into the zone. Similar to basketball, the defense can play man-to-man defense or zone defense.
This is a non-contact sport. Forget about taking out the person with the disc. Rugby this is not. But also like in basketball, foul calls happen in Ultimate and the players themselves make the call.
You know what? Maybe you should just check it out for yourself.
"Come out to pickup at TU (Harvard and 5th) on Thursdays or to Summer League at West Bank Soccer complex (3625 S Elwood Ave) on Sundays and play," said Hoagland.
Rays of Shine
"I played at Solstice back in 1999 on the Tulsa rookie team," said Hoagland of the ever growing summertime tournament. His goal is to revitalize the sport in Tulsa and raise the Solstice tournament's prestige in the region.
This will be the 15th annual Summer Solstice. They are expecting 32 men's teams to enter and 10 women's teams.
The Valley Park Soccer Complex lends 30 professional soccer fields for outstanding playability. A few additional amenities include free camping, outdoor showers and 30 kegs of local brew.
Is that it? No. There are more featured items such as live entertainment, but I like ending paragraphs by saying 30 kegs of local brew.
Teams converge on Tulsa's Summer Solstice event from across the nation. Des Moines, Albuquerque, Houston and St. Louis are just a few of the major cities sending teams.
Former soccer and tennis players gravitate toward Ultimate. Track runners also find their post career competitive juices filled by Ultimate. There is a certain level of camaraderie they find appealing.
Hoagland strongly urges interested parties to check out the Summer Solstice festivities. "Solstice is a big event regionally that is known for both good competition and a great social atmosphere. The sports complex at Valley Park is a great venue and most teams camp onsite. There are live bands and the event is sponsored by Choc Brewery." Rock on.
Visit tulsaultimate.com for more details.
In Other News
Several weeks ago I ran down a top ten list of summer sports activities. Once the heat index tops my golf score, I'll be heading inside for some bowling action. Just a thought.
Downtown ballpark news continues to seep out at a snails pace. The city and the Drillers signed an extension for "exclusive negotiating" rights. The "new" deadline is set for July 15.
If you think the deal will get done a day before the 15th then you've never witnessed a million dollar ventures in progress. Both sides will be fighting over pennies. NTTAWWT (Not that there's anything wrong with that).
My buddy Kevin Ward over at the Sports Animal, 97.1FM, released an interesting news blurb last week. The Sports Animal has agreed to air the University of Kansas football and men's basketball games.
"With all the connections in Green Country to players and coaches at KU, it just made sense." Ward also ads, "nothing will change in regards to our relationship with Oral Roberts University men's and women's basketball and baseball and the weekly Coaches Hour. They will still be our priority on their game days."
Good move or bad move for one of "Tulsa's" premier sports talk radio stations? I'll need a little more time to digest the ramifications of this move on our local teams.
Until then, keep it real.
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