Ultimate Frisbee: Sport of Life

By: Thomas Touchstone

Ultimate Frisbee is a fun and great way to get exercise as well as compete for bragging rights.

A group of people associated with the First United Methodist Church in Newnan hosts Ultimate Frisbee each Monday and Wednesday afternoon at the practice fields next to Newnan High School.

Students simply refer to the friendly, twice weekly competition as “Ultimate” and spend their afternoons flinging, flicking and hammering the disc with their friends in the summer and fall. Once the days begin to grow shorter, “Ultimate” games slow down with diminishing sunlight in the later afternoon.

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Martin Pate was one of the founders of these local Ultimate Frisbee games. Pate started playing Ultimate Frisbee when the pick-up games started a decade and a half ago.

He said the group struggled to get members over the years. Pate noted how now, Ultimate Frisbee has a much larger base of interest, “the current group is great, one of our biggest regular groups in years.”

The pick-up frisbee group is always looking for new members and is open for anyone to join.

Pate also elaborated on how exercise is a major factor that makes Ultimate Frisbee such a great sport to play beyond just the friendly competition and sportsmanship.

“It gives young people, and older ones, an opportunity to get outside away from television and computers, and get a great workout,” he said.

Ultimate Frisbee can be learned and played by anyone who is willing to pick up a disc. “It’s just a great sport that can be learned quickly and enjoyed by all levels of skill,” Pate added.
The attendees at the event are mostly teenagers and young adults, but people of all ages are encouraged to come out and participate.

“We often have beginner level players in the same game as veterans,” Pate noted when describing the diversity of skills on the field at any given time.

For students, Ultimate Frisbee is a great way to get involved with a team and get some exercise along the way, but the players always have fun regardless of the outcomes of the game.

“It’s a fun and competitive way to get some good exercise,” Ben Matistic, NHS senior, commented.

Ultimate Frisbee is not only a good source of exercise for everyone who plays it, but also it is a great example of how sportsmanship can be shown and practiced in all athletic outlets. So while players are having fun and competing, they are also growing as people even if they do not realize it.

“I like to see everybody get along and included,” Pate said. “Sportsmanship is more important to me than winning.”

Jake Johnston, NHS senior, has been going to Ultimate Frisbee for three years and has become a regular at “Ultimate.” He remarked on how he enjoys “competing with my peers and just having a dandy time out there.”

Pate also thinks that Ultimate Frisbee includes the perfect combination of fun and responsibility.

He explained the balance between the two, “Competition, when not taken too seriously, is great fun. I grew up playing sandlot baseball and football, and to me, this is just like that, organized just enough to have a good time but not as structured as tightly as school and county sports.”

The lessons that Ultimate Frisbee teaches can be incorporated into the lives of those who play the game, and they can take these lessons, values and ideas with them into college and throughout the rest of their lives.

“They learn what teamwork is all about,” Pate said. “They learn that sometimes you’re going to lose, and sometimes you’re going to win. It’s all good fun.”

Ultimate Frisbee is a great sport to learn, because it is extremely common and popular on college campuses, offering a calm way to relax from coursework. Students may also recreationally play Ultimate Frisbee in college in more organized and competitive ways.

“It also prepares them for taking it to another level perhaps in college, even if it’s an intramural team,” Pate said.

Even though students may not play later in life, they still learn valuable life lessons about teamwork and can carry those lessons into the workforce and wherever life may take them.