The “Ultimate” Sport

In Communications, Life at School by Carol

Post and photographs submitted by Heather Bell

ultimate 2This past week, as well as an exciting soccer tournament, Equinox participated in two Ultimate tournaments. A 5/6 team played on Wednesday and the 4/5 team on Thursday. Unfortunately yesterday (Thursday) morning was a little bit damp, but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the 4/5 team who, while their short exposure to the sport didn’t perhaps yield as many goals as they would have liked (though they did score some epic points), did win a great honour in the ultimate world. That is, they won the ‘Best Spirit’ award! For those who have played Ultimate you will know that the ‘Spirit of the Game’ is not simply some ‘loser’s salve’ but a critical part of any tournament or game of Ultimate.

For those unfamiliar with the sport of Ultimate (formerly ‘ultimate frisbee’ -but ‘frisbee’ is trademarked name and most players nowadays refer to the object thrown as the ‘disc’) here is a little information about the ‘Spirit of the game’ as well as a small amount on the mechanics. Some of what is below is an excerpt lifted directly from www.whatisultimate.com (in “quotes”). I encourage the uninitiated to do a google search of their own and read up on this amazing international sport which uses minimal equipment and takes aspects of sports like soccer, netball, basketball and American football and melds them into one very cool action packed sport which really requires an advanced degree of teamwork. Ultimate supports a large number of the values most of us hope our children will acquire.

Spirit of the Game:
“Ultimate is essentially non-contact; any contact between players can be declared a foul. There’s a variety of other minor violations, but that’s the big one.

Ultimate is unique in that it is refereed by the players themselves, even at World Championship level, according to a code of conduct known as “the Spirit of the Game”. This places the responsibility for fair play on the players themselves. In that respect, playing Ultimate is a completely different experience to playing other sports. And believe it or not, Ultimate’s system of self-refereeing works. Beautifully.”

Now our teams at an elementary level receive help with the calling of fouls etc. but the ‘spirit of the game’ is being engaged from the beginning. At adult tournaments, while hard working athletically skilled teams prevail, the typical hardcore cutthroat competitive atmosphere is not found in the same way as in many sports. Teams can be seen acknowledging the skill and prowess of their opponents and cheering each other on. At the end of tournaments there is more than the simple line up and handshake.  It is not unusual for teams to create a cheer or song to celebrate the other teams attributes… and food is often shared between teams. It is a refreshing change from the negativism which can be associated with any number of sports. And there is no single referee to bash! Spirit points are awarded at the end of games and teams can be disqualified or removed from tournaments for showing disregard for the ‘spirit of the game’.

Another aspect of ultimate is that the games tend to be co-ed and our teams are no exception. Out of 7 players on the field at one time 3 must be female players. This co-ed atmosphere is fairly rare in the sports world and is a good way for boys and girls, men and women, to understand our similarities, occasional differences and continuum, and build the kind of healthy relationships which will transfer over to their work and home life.

Anyway… 3 cheers to all the teams that played and gave it their all this week, including Roden’s soccer team which competed at the same tournament as our boys on Wednesday!

soccer 1 soccer 2

Players rallied to a hurt player to see if he was okay (and he was)

It is busy these days to be sure, but it sure is nice to have the extra-curriculars back up and running! Many thanks to the teachers and some parent and outside volunteers for their dedication!  Looking forward to the upcoming track and field meets! And congratulations again to the 4/5 players for winning the ‘Best Spirit’ award. The most important skills and lessons for this sport must already be sinking in! 

If you were there for Wednesday’s game or would like to submit a post about soccer, we would love to post it!