Towson dad Jamie Harding has started a middle school Ultimate Frisbee league through the Towson Recreational Council. The deadline to sign up is March 31. (towsonrec.com/ultimatefrisbee)
Here’s a Q&A he did with the Flyer to fill people in:
Are there other rec councils with Ultimate Frisbee teams that TRC will play against? Or will they just do scrimmages?
We will start the season off by introducing everyone to the game. Then we’ll form teams and have the teams scrimmage one another for the remainder of the season.
There are other youth Ultimate Frisbee programs around Baltimore, including the Pikesville Ultimate Disc Association which is based at the Greater Pikesville Recreation Council. As the season moves along we will be in touch with these programs to see about setting up inter-squad scrimmages or possibly participating in a regional tournament.
Will it be co-ed?
At this point, we’re planning on having co-ed teams, but if we have more girls sign up we will form separate boys’ and girls’ teams. Then, as the program becomes more established, it would be great to offer all three options, boys’, girls’, and co-ed teams.
One of the people I have been working with to kick-off our first season of Ultimate at TRC is a co-founder of the Girls Ultimate Movement, also known as GUM. If you go to the GUM website you will see that female players only make up about 25 percent of all youth currently playing Ultimate. We will be working hard in upcoming seasons to increase girls’ participation in the program.
Who can register?
Right now, the program is only open to grades 6 – 8. Based on the response we have received since we first announced the program, however, we will likely be expanding next season to three youth leagues (high school, middle school, and a league for 4th and 5th graders).
What are the basics of the sport? Is it like soccer but with a frisbee?
Ultimate Frisbee is an outdoor team sport that incorporates the quick back and forth motion of basketball, the aerial passing of football, and the athletic endurance of soccer.
Typically each team plays 7 players at a time on a field that’s roughly the size of a soccer field. Though, with younger players, both the fields and the teams will be smaller in size. The object of the game is to pass the frisbee from player to player down the field and catch it to the opposing team’s endzone. During play if you catch the frisbee you must stop running. You can only move the frisbee towards the endzone by passing it to a teammate. Meanwhile, the defending team will try to prevent you from completing your passes. If the frisbee falls incomplete to the ground or goes out of bounds possession turns over to the other team.
One of the best aspects of the sport is the “Spirit of the Game.” Ultimate is self-refereed and therefore, as USA Ultimate says, “Ultimate relies upon a spirit of sportsmanship that places the responsibility of fair play on the player.” Spirit of the Game stresses taking responsibility and working through conflicts. Embedded in the rules of the sport is the concept that highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules, or the basic joy of play.
What’s the UF vibe?
With Spirit of the Game as one of its guiding principles, Ultimate is generally a very welcoming sport. It’s centered on a positive attitude and good sportsmanship. There are all different levels of play, from an easy going pick-up game to a super intense national championship game. But, no matter the level you are playing at, players want you to play hard, play fair, and have fun.
What equipment/gear to kids need?
Ultimate actually does not require a lot of gear. In that regard, it is a fairly low-cost sport. It’s usually recommended that players wear cleats so it is easier for them to cut back and forth on the field. We will be providing frisbees (also known as discs) and jerseys and will have cones on hand to set up the boundaries of the field including the two end zones.
Why did you want to start the team?
I am starting this program at TRC partly to introduce youth in the area to a terrific sport. Kids who come out to play will not only get some great exercise, they will also find great camaraderie too. I also wanted to provide an alternative for kids who might not have found a home in one of the traditional team sports. Kids who start playing now will have many different options for playing as they grow up. There are weekly pick-up games all over the place. There are also organized high-school and college teams, club teams, professional teams, and even national teams that play in world competitions.
A good place to learn more about the Ultimate scene in and around Baltimore is the Central Maryland Ultimate Association. They have information on where Ultimate is being played in the area at all different levels, from pick-up to club to indoor.
The TRC Ultimate Frisbee league will practice/play on Sundays from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm from April 23 to June 4 at Meadowood Regional Park. To register, visit towsonrec.com/ultimatefrisbee.