TL;DR: Honesty, Intensity and Joy! The reasons why I play Ultimate
What the Huck. Ultimate Frisbee® 101, for anyone who has ever thrown a Frisbee® or a Flying Disc. I gave a talk today at Barcamp titled "What The Huck", which was intended to be an introduction to Ultimate, one that would hopefully get more people to play the sport. But, unfortunately, I guess I chose the wrong title for the topic, and not too many people turned up for the talk. So, I decided to post the gist of my talk here.
For those who do not know, what Ultimate Frisbee® is, here is a nice one minute summary of the rules of the game.
Long ago, a couple of friends shared with me a kind of a mantra that Vivian Richards shared in an interview: Honesty, Intensity and Joy. We just loved this mantra.
In another time and age, the same couple of friends, introduced me to the sport that I love, called Ultimate. (A shout out to @cloud9trt and @avudem for that! Thanks folks!) This game was fun, from the word go, but as I played it more and more, I fell in love with this game. As an after thought, I think one of the reasons I love this game, is because it imbibes all the three values that Viv mentioned: Honesty, Intensity and Joy. Or actually, just for these three things!
I play Ultimate, for the Spirit it involves. The rule #1 of the game is the spirit of the game, and the whole game relies on the fact that the game be played in it's spirit. Unlike most other sports, Ultimate is self-refereed at the highest levels of the game. It places the responsibility of fair play on every player, trusting that no player would intentionally break the rules. Essentially, the game treats us as adults! And that leads to a lot more intensity, and a lot more fun in the games! Games in tournaments (in India), end with teams getting together in a spirit circle, where both the teams circle up, and discuss, praise and criticize each others' games, giving each other constructive and critical feedback. You can play as intense a game as you want, and at the end of it, finish off with an equally important and intense, but stupid spirit games and go home with no hard feelings towards any of your opponents.
This intensity is a sort of a healer, for me. Taking you into a different sort of a world, away from the craziness of every day life. Each time you get on the field, you want to give your best, for yourself, and for your team. Anyway, if you don't, you opponents would kick your ass. And that definitely doesn't feel good. ;^)
I play for pure joy. The sight of a disc floating in front of me, is so luring for me that I MUST chase it down and catch it. The sight of players, even from your oppositions, jumping sky high to come down with the disc is such a joy!
Ultimate involves a huge range of "tasks" - marking, defending, catching, throwing. Each of these tasks need quite a lot of practice to get good at. Learning a new skill is always a joy, whether it is learning to throw a forehand flick or a hammer, or it is to learn how the zone defense works.
In conclusion, what I found out today is that it's quite difficult to talk about a game you love, and get across it's awesomeness. Some things can only be experienced first hand! See you on the field!
PS: A Huck is a long distance pass - typically half the playing field or more. Hucks are a big part of many offensive strategies as they often result in quick points or substantial yardage gains.