FEATURE: Is Ultimate the ultimate team sport? Find out more about one of our oldest clubs.
Fancy playing a team-based sport that Increases sprinting and endurance running? That offers interval training and increased agility? That is, by its very nature, the ultimate full body workout? Well, perhaps Ultimate Disc, or just Ultimate as it is now known, is for you!
Ultimate, also and originally known as ultimate frisbee, is a non-contact team sport played with a flying disc that was developed in 1968 by a group of students at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey.
Closer to home, the ANU Ultimate club is one of the oldest on campus having been around for 22 years. Originally named the ANUDE (ANU Disc Enthusiasts) the club had the honour of hosting the inaugural Australian Universities Ultimate Championship in April 1998, a tournament in which ANU came in third.
Since then the quality and knowledge of play has developed and the club has placed well in multiple championships, including first in the men’s and second women’s ultimate tournaments at UniGames in 2018 and winning the University Mixed Ultimate Championships in 2019.
“Ultimate is a bit of a mix between netball and American football. You move the disc up the field to your endzone but cannot run with the disc,” Rosie Happ, club Treasurer in her fourth year of an Accounting and Commerce Degree told ANU Sport. “You score by catching the disc in your endzone.”
Ultimate is set apart from most sports by its total reliance on self-refereeing, meaning that that players are exclusively responsible for following and enforcing the rules. This places a heavy emphasis on the Spirit of the Game, the commitment of all players to play competitively while maintaining respect both for other players and for the game’s rules.
Being a sport that is fast-paced and played on a decent sized arena, Ultimate attracts all sorts of competitors. According to Happ there are several characteristics that make up a quality Ultimate player.
“A good ultimate player has a good mix of endurance, coordination and explosiveness as well as a good understanding of space and field awareness,” she said. “They may also create high quality memes,” she added with a laugh.
Happ’s journey to the sport, started via her college residence and she has been playing ever since, bitten by the Ultimate bug at an early stage of her stay at ANU.
“I started playing at my college residence and the coach encouraged me to come to ANU training,” Happ recalled. “I felt very welcomed and enjoyed playing so I kept coming! Our club engages with a wide range of people, most of whom have never thrown a disc before they arrive at training. We welcome everyone and teach from the basics, so everyone is on the same level.
“We believe we have a good club culture. You get to go away with the team to tournaments and really get to know everyone and improve exponentially whilst having a really fun time.”
Whilst their 2020 endeavours have been stymied by the COVID-19 virus, alongside all other competitive and social sport at ANU, Happ has her sights firmly set on the resumption of her chosen sport and has ambitions to match.
“In 2020, we would really like to be able to send a full, competitive tea
m to nationals when we are allowed to play again,” she revealed. “We also want to keep people engaged and interested in the sport.”
Another national championship? That might well be the ultimate for Ultimate.
For more information, or to get involved, please email: anu [dot] ultimate [dot] clubgmail [dot] com or visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/anuultimateclub/.
Story: Russ Gibbs