A Throw Back In History

Adam Piersa, Staff Writer

Now, anyone who has played football knows just how competitive, cutthroat, and overall fun the sport is. However, those same aspects put the “ultimate” in ultimate frisbee. Ultimate frisbee combines the basic rules of football with the fast-paced action of lacrosse and soccer. It is the perfect combination of speed and skill.

As you may or may not know, Stamford High has its very own ultimate frisbee club. They meet at the dungeon (the field next to the student parking lot) in the fall two times per week and are working towards expanding that routine into the spring season. As of now there are about 30 members in the club, and they have yet to have a bad game. The club currently is run by Mr. Moynihan, along with seniors Malcolm Tom and Ismael De Los Santos. They are always looking for more members to join the club; Moynihan even comes out and plays in the games.

Stamford High has alumni Sam Berkrot and Geoffrey Cahr to thank for bringing ultimate frisbee into our culture. The two former students founded the club in 2013 and continued to run it as seniors in the school year of 2014-15. As time went on, ultimate frisbee became more popular around SHS, and more kids began showing up to play in games.

Ultimate frisbee is great for kids who aren’t interested in organized team sports or those who simply want a more relaxed atmosphere to exercise. It’s very simple to sign up; all you have to do is walk by Moynihan’s room on the eighth floor, room 827, and ask for a permission slip. It is not mandatory for you to go to every meet every week, but you’ll certainly enjoy it if you do. The whole point is to go out, have a good time, and, of course, win in the process.

The game itself isn’t complicated. Basically, if you have a frisbee and a field you are good to go. The first thing you need to know is how to play. Like football, ultimate is played on a total 120 yard (total) by 40 yard field with the exception of having 25 yard end zones on each side and seven players per team on the field. What happens is, each team stands on their end zone and the team with the frisbee (disc) throws off (pulls) to the other team. The whole point is to get to the other team’s end zone and complete a pass to score a point. There is one catch though. You cannot run with the disc. You are allowed ten seconds with it in your hand. If you run out of time, or the other team knocks the frisbee down, there is no wait time and defense immediately becomes offense. This clearly shows the fast paced nature of ultimate frisbee.

It can get pretty rough out there on the field with the competition, which is why ultimate frisbee is a noncontact sport. Not only that, but it is also a self-officiating sport. This means that all the weight is on the players’ shoulders to be fair and not cheat. If one player does make contact with another, it is expected for them to make up and have the game resume after a short pause.

Ultimate frisbee is a relatively new sport, as it was founded in 1968 at Columbia High School in Maplewood, NJ by a student named Joel Silver. In the year after his proposal, the first ever ultimate frisbee game was played between two groups of students. After this event, ultimate frisbee expanded to other schools and soon became a multi-school sport. In 1970, Joel Silver and fellow frisbee players, Buzzy Hellring and Jon Hines, wrote up the rules for the game, and the first interscholastic game was played. Columbia High beat out Millburn High School winning 43 pts. to 10. Just two years after that, ultimate frisbee spread to colleges. The first college ultimate frisbee game took place between Rutgers and Princeton: ending with a score of 29-27 with Rutgers being the victor.

The allure of ultimate frisbee spread wide across college campuses and in 1975, the first organized tournament, called The National Collegiate Championships, was played between eight different teams. Ever since then, ultimate frisbee has been a part of schools like Yale, Rutgers, and many other colleges and high schools across the nation. It has even been recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as a sport.

Ultimate frisbee went international with the United Kingdom’s establishment of it in some of their colleges and high schools. In 1984, ultimate frisbee had its first college national tournament in Somerville, MA. Stanford ending up winning against Glassboro State in the finals. In that same year the World Flying Disc Federation was formed, which would become the governing body for disc sports internationally.

Despite the fact that ultimate frisbee is a relatively recent sport, its value is not diminished. This is a sport where anyone, anywhere can play and still have a good time. It is for that reason that it has caught on so fast and that is exactly why Stamford High has a club for it. It doesn’t hurt to sign up and go to one meet just to see what it’s like, because it’s guaranteed you are going to want to come back for more.