Ultimate the First Five Decades (VOL II) in Review

by | December 24, 2023, 1:57pm 0

They didn’t know Nord, they didn’t know Fortunat, and they now claim to not know Beau. But now they have no excuses. 

Ultimate the First Five Decades (VOL II) not only captures the numbers, the titles, the feats, but the spirits and the movements that have shaped ultimate since 2005. Whether it be the explosion of ultimate media, the battle for a more equitable community, or the merits of referee versus observers, this book puts a spotlight on the individuals and events which impacted our movement that started in 1970.

Even now, much of ultimate’s history is passed down at the end of a long tournament weekend. Either by the elder statesmen of the media crew that will tell you about the best catch they ever saw, or the college alumni who remembers a time without lefty backhands. You can still trap yourself in debates whether Jeff Cruinkshank was a better thrower than Jimmy Mickle, or how long it would take a time-traveling NYNY in their peak to adjust their game and compete at the top again.

Media since 2005 has exploded. Callahan videos are published by the smallest of DIII schools. Lower level tournaments, pre-season club tournaments have warranted media and streaming coverage. Much of what happened on the field is documented better than ever and freely available on youtube. The first edition of Ultimate the First Five Decades seems like an absolute necessity, like stone tablets, or the Rosetta stone, just to have a source that isn’t RSD to tell us how. Is VOL II just an excuse to see pretty pictures and relive the past 13 years?

No, and well yes. Maybe you’re not a film junky like me, maybe you haven’t attended major events, but on the other hand, you’re reading Skyd so chances are you are in the know. Even for me, Vol II is an essential text that helps me relive the days I ended up covering.

Despite the media coverage that exists today, a lot of the movements that shaped ultimate aren’t well documented. There isn’t anything cohesive out there that can take you from point A, Cu1timate’s strife with USAU to the formation of the pro-leagues to the gender equity boycotts ongoing today. Volume II is your guide through the sea of podcasts, standalone articles, and adds in first-person accounts of what happened and why. As like other avenues of human progress, we stand on the shoulders of giants. Their contributions from 2005 follow through the decade-plus to give us what we have right now.

This book, however, is not exhaustive. Big international moments are captured some years, but not others, instead choosing to highlight the growth of international communities. Canada’s Darren Wu’s sky grab over team USA in Lecco was one of the few big moments missed. The Club, College, and even DIII College is documented about the happenings from year to year but not the Japanese Women’s win in 2015 at U24’s, or the strength of the Philippines in beach ultimate. 

This is an excusable omission because despite missing some big named events, it is more about our journey as a sport, not the summation of facts and figures. You can go back and watch streams of the big international events, but you can’t find the perspectives of those who were there without some digging. The writing captures the values and missions of those working to grow the sport, and for some looking to grow it the “right” way.

For the events I personally attended, the book is a worthy addition to my own first-hand experiences. The high-resolution photos take you back to those moments, jostling older memories free from the cobwebs. From there you are free to wander back to all of the other events that remind you why you love the sport. The pictures are a warm embrace of the journey we are all on.

Vol. II takes me back to my first flick, to watching Beau jump over a guy, to all the wonderful complexities of side stack. I don’t know what it will mean for you, but I know it will mean something. So what are you waiting for!

Available at: https://www.ultimatehistorybook.com


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