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The Ultimate game of Frisbee

In a sport that relies on speed, quick thought and precision, both genders hold their own ground and are required to display a high degree of team work to secure a victory.

Office of PR & Communications

21 January, 2021 | 4 min read

By Rohan Chaudhuri

I watched in bewilderment as a group of boys and girls passed a saucer like disc amongst themselves on a warm Sunday evening. It was orientation day for us, the new undergraduate batch at Ashoka University. Stepping out from the packed hall where parents were gathered to learn about the nuances of a liberal arts education, I moved over to the cricket field where this strange activity was being carried out with a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm. I could not fathom how throwing a disc in the air and receiving it could be a cause for such animation.

Seeing my amusement, a friendly senior invited me to try my hand at the game. Being a decent sportsperson, I expected this to be fairly easy. Contrary to my expectations, it turned out to be one of my most torrid evenings as I struggled to catch the disc and missed my every target while throwing it. Walking away though, I recognized that this was indeed a  game and is truly unique and revolutionary in nature.

Ultimate, originally known as Ultimate Frisbee, is an International Olympic Committee recognized sport and is played bymore than five million players worldwide. Points in this game are scored by throwing the disc, known as the Frisbee, to team mates in the opposing end zone. Other rules dictate that a player is not allowed to take steps while holding the Frisbee, and an interception or an out of bounds play implies a turnover to the other team. Played on a field 40 yards wide and 120 yards long, the game insists that players must carry on even in the most difficult conditions such as rain, which makes it an interesting watch for spectators.

Ultimate is a game that has been re-writing the rules of conventional sporting events. One of the most interesting features of this game is that men and women can play on the same team. In fact, a mixed team stipulates that there must be at least three female players on the field.

This is an  achievement which supports inclusivity in an age where gender inequality is such a major issue globally. Women are encouraged to take on responsibility and very often are found to be captains of their respective teams. In a sport that relies on speed, quick thought and precision, both genders hold their own ground and are required to display a high degree of team work to secure a victory.

Alongside its space for gender neutrality, another distinctive aspect to this game is that it’s self refereed. This implies that there is no external agency to interfere in the proceedings. Ultimate promotes playing in the “Spirit of the Game”. For the game to flow freely, it is imperative that there is a mutual respect between the teams and that players are aware of the rules and know how to apply them. In case of a disagreement or a disruption to play, the players and the coaches must come together to find a solution respectfully. Where other sports such as football and hockey are marred with controversies and tension over decision making by referees that often lead to ugly encounters between opposing teams, Ultimate promotes fair play and cooperation.

Still significantly less popular than cricket or football in India, Ultimate does have its supporters amongst its ranks. However, funding to send teams for competitions remains a major drawback. For instance, the U-23 Indian team had to open a fundraiser to raise the funds required for them to participate in the World Championships in London in 2015.

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