Photo by Kevin Leclaire of UltiPhotos
One of the unfortunate side effects of Ultimate’s underground status is the dearth of quality highlights available on the internet. When a great video makes the rounds, it’s a real treat to watch. We had such a great response to our article about the Most Athletic Ultimate Plays that we decided to make it a series. Now we’re on a quest to find the greatest Ultimate videos – and we need your help. We’ve picked multiple categories, each showcasing five videos which Skyd will be presenting over the next few months. After you watch each set, vote for the best one in the poll at the bottom. The top plays, as voted by you, will make it to a final showcase of the best Ultimate videos online.
And now, the Five Most Miraculous Ultimate Plays caught on video:
There are situations and circumstances in which no great play should be made. The defense has won the air battle, tipped the throw, and is triumphantly turning their gears towards the opposite end zone. But even when the greatest athletes the sport has seen are involved, fortune can exceed skill, positioning, strength, and even logic.
These videos are those unexpected, lucky plays that you’d swear is the work of Zeus or maybe Batman. Here are our picks. And of course, if you have some miracles we missed, let it be known in the comments section.
The Skippy – 2006 Club Championship Finals, Sockeye vs. Furious George
Sockeye’s Skip Sewell puts on a clinic on how to get your team pumped up going in to halftime. After going up strong against Furious defender (and eventual teammate) Ron Kubalanza, Skip’s quick hands and flat legs cradle a cascading disc, preventing the turnover and giving Sockeye the break. Great plays and a little bit of chance would give Sockeye the 2006 title, winning 15-13.
Mental Toss Flycoons vs. Shazam at 2008 Club Championships
In this pass gone wrong, the Mental Toss Flycoons pull out an incredible score from what should have been a turnover against a tough Shazam defense. Missoula star Skyla Sisco recalls it “was incredibly windy, so we were focusing on short yardage gains – we had worked it all the way up the field and I was just getting it back to our handler after a short under to me.” Will Sutton is the handler who saves the disc and cutter Jen Nicholls makes the diving score, giving the Flycoons a 4-3 lead. “Great players make great plays” said Sisco, “and both Will and Jen will put it on the line in every point of any game.”
Oh yeah, did we mention that this was in the 2008 UPA Club Championship finals? Missoula went on to win the championship 15-11.
Zip’s Patience – 2005 College Championship, Brown vs. Colorado
In this throwback to the 2005 college championship finals, Brownian Motion handler Neale Mahoney, trapped on the line, launches a high stall air ball into the end zone towards his receiver and brother, Colin Mahoney, who is closely guarded by Beau Kittredge. The disc is deflected, macs towards a second Brown receiver, Will Arnold, who can’t pull it in, and bounces off another Mamabird defender’s head. Current Chain Lighting all star Josh Zipperstein is following the play the whole time and cleans up the swill with the errant disc raised high. Oh my goodness. What a series.
Brown coach Nathan Wick reflects, “I nearly subbed Zip out of the game this point – I initially called him to come out of the game, he said ‘I can go 3’, so he stayed in the game.” Sometimes a great play just takes great hands and a lot of luck.
Brown had just rallied back from a 8-5 deficit at half and this play gave them their first lead of the game at 14-13. Brown captured the 2005 title, 15-14.
Nord Back Catch – 2007 Club Championship, Sockeye vs Johnny Bravo
Sockeye again shows their ability to score despite great defensive blocks. During only the second point in the 2007 UPA Club nationals open finals, the fans would witness one of the strangest completed passes in ultimate history. Sockeye player Seth Crockford tries to thread the needle between the Johnny Bravo defense, but is ultimately unsuccessful as two Bravo players rush in to break up the play. The disc is interrupted mid-flight and lands squarely on defender JD Lobue’s back, who is just finishing his layout. In the midst of the confusion, Sockeye’s Alex Nord realizes the disc has not yet hit the ground and snatches it up right off of Lobue’s back, throwing it into the end zone for the score. Sockeye went on to win the game 15-13 and claim their second national title in a row.
Immaculate Reception – Oregon Ego
It’s one thing to hurl your body at an egregiously out of reach disc. It’s another to actually come up with the dig .08 seconds AFTER the D has all but safely batted the disc to the ground.
Ego co-captain Justin Grishkin makes an amazing catch-up snag on this miscommunicated throw at the 2003 Presidents Day tournament in San Diego. Former Ego captain and Callahan winner Ben Wiggins said, “[Grishkin] was one of the middle cutters in our horizontal stack, and I actually was walking the disc to the line and calling a play. My play call was for the forehand side wing and middle to go deep. Grish took 3 steps deep, and broke it off to come under…only to see the disc go sailing over his head when I hucked on stall 1.”
“[He] essentially layed straight over his defender who was (rightly so) completely sure that all he had to do was finish the easy block. We lost our minds when Grish came up with the disc.” – Ben Wiggins
Oregon won the game 15-8 and would carry that momentum to win the tournament. “It really showed the kind of abandon that many of our players played with,” said Wiggins. “Grish would go on to win the all-time lay-out championship of the team pool competition, which is probably more important.”
Moral of the story? Catch your D’s, or you’ll end up with your head down as the offense walks off the field, calling a time out to get some most deserving high fives and gloat about how bad you got punked.
Coming up next
Our next video series will be the Five Sickest Layouts Caught on Video. If you think you have a clip that fits the bill, post it in the comments.