We all have our personal “bucket lists.” These are items or events we want to have or be a part of before we proverbially “kick the bucket.” My list includes visiting Norway, skydiving, and thumb wrestling the president (which by the way, I KNOW I can beat him in). As ultimate players, I also think we should have a bucket list in order to experience everything that the diverse community and the sport has to offer. These are the bare bones of the sport, but something I believe we call can relate to.
On the Field Greatness
- Catch a Callahan (preferably with an egregious layout)
- Bookends – get the D and the score
- Sky someone taller than you
- Complete a huge hammer
- Stall someone out
- Complete a “Worlds Greatest”
- Throw a full field huck for a score
- Spike the disc after a contentious play
- Catch a Layout D
- Catch/Throw a winning score on double game point
The first part of the list is “On the Field Greatness,” these are plays that when we make them, we feel utterly invincible and the best player on the field. My personal favorite is catching your layout D. For anybody that has experienced this, your adrenaline is through the roof as you blow by your player and stick the D. It’s one of the few plays where you know you absolutely bested your opponent.
- Upset a team who is supposed to be better than you
- Win a tournament
- Oatbag a team (A 6-0 run)
- Play in a game to go to (either regionals or nationals depending on level of play)
The next part of the list involves the team aspect of ultimate. We all want individual glory, but I find it’s much more fun to revel in team accomplishments. Winning a tournament is a sustained feeling that you hold on to for a while, but upsetting a team is much more gratifying. There is just nothing more sneakily satisfying than relishing in your opponents dejected body language.
- Play in a Hat Tournament
- Play in another country
- Play in an observed game
- Go to College Championships
- Go to Club Championships
- Play in a beach tournament
What is truly amazing about this sport is how ridiculously diverse it is. There are innumerable options for playing all over the country and the world, and it is just plain fun to be a part of as much of it as you can. Hat tournaments are a blast, you get to play the sport you love with people you don’t know, and often it is just for fun. On the flip side, going to nationals you get to see the peak of ultimate in all levels, and some of the most exciting games our sport has to offer.
Socializing and Arguing
- Drink a disc full of beer
- Win a “party”
- Master all disc related drinking games
- Argue a call until the opponent relents
- Heckle so acutely the player responds to you personally
The competitive traits of our sport often flow over into our social realm. We often compete in “fun ways” because we still have an innate desire to prove our worth. The most hilarious one is “win” the party. This is the vaguest description I can give, but if you are an ultimate player, you will often hear teams bragging that they indeed “won” the party. My best estimation is that they won the most boat races, or were the most obnoxious. For me, there is nothing better than heckling a player so brutally they respond to you while playing, after that you know you are in their head.
The “Kwame Brown” experience of Ultimate
- Get spiked on
- Drop a pull
- Get skied by someone shorter than you
- Mess up the force
- Injure yourself stupidly
- Make a call so bad, you are embarrassed and recant it immediately
This one aspect of Ultimate is never fun, but I find that it is an important part of the learning process. We have all made mistakes in the game, and these are some of the most embarrassing. I don’t think there is anything more upsetting in any sport than dropping a pull. It is a free pass, and the minute it slips through your fingers you feel the flush of red hit your face and the only thing you want to do is call an injury and hide somewhere. In the end, these events rarely matter in the grand scheme, but make for hilarious stories later.
The Devil Wears Patagonia
- Wear a sublimated jersey
- Buy unnecessary clothing at a tournament
- Wear Patagonia shorts
- Trade your jersey
If there is one thing Ultimate players’ love, it’s showcasing that they play ultimate. At tournaments it is a capitalist feeding frenzy of trying to get as much gear as possible. I am generally a pretty miserly individual, rarely spending money on frivolous things…except when it comes to ultimate. At nationals I will pony up $60 for a long sleeve just because I can. I am not alone; all of us have a penchant for getting the “coolest” gear possible. And I still maintain that Patagonia shorts are the most comfortable piece of clothing I own, and yes, I will continue to buy more pairs.
All of these are the general things that I feel every ultimate player should experience. Personally, I have not done several of these things, but I hope to accomplish them all before my knees give out at the age of 33. Obviously these items are the tip of the iceberg, the list is too innumerable to put everything up there that I wanted. These very few are among the most recognizable among the ultimate community and for the newer players, these are some things you should strive to do. I would love to see some other things that are “absolutely” necessary to be added to this list. In the meantime, strive to finish everything on this list. Currently, I’m working on Club Championships and injuring myself stupidly.
Here are some unattainably awesome things I can scratch off my bucket list:
- Slap a Callahan Winner (part of a drinking game)
- Taking a drink from the national championship cup
- Writing a column about Ultimate Frisbee.
Feature photo of Seattle Voodoo’s Mark Burton at ECC 2011. (Photo by Scobel Wiggins)