By Sean Nyilassy

Under the summer sun shining on the University of Calgary, a common sight is a group of friends “hucking a disc” or tossing around a frisbee as it is known to laymen. The U of C vets have experienced this for years but the newcomers may have a few questions.

"What the deuce are those dudes doing?" they ask. "Don’t they know frisbees are for throwing to your dog?"

Well here’s a news flash Walter Cronkite, they don’t!

When the game of "Ultimate" was introduced to me in junior high I too thought, "Why would I do this when I could be doing something more manly like playing football or drinking beer?"

Now, with two years of residence life in my back pocket I have really come around to the game, I mean sport for a number of reasons.

First, it’s cheap, all you need is a $15 disc from Wal-Mart (or a buddy who owns one) and at least one friend to throw it at. Even competing is cheap. Intramural ultimate at U of C doesn’t require cleats, pads or helmets. Bare feet and a smile are more than adequate.

Second, it’s simple. Catch the disc. Don’t run with it. Throw it to a teammate within ten seconds. Get it to the end-zone for a point. There now you basically know how to play, I mean compete.

Finally, you don’t have to be good to play. Since nobody really starts playing until after high school, your average Sean is not that great. With most sports, by the time one is of university age one must be pretty top notch to participate competitively because everyone involved has been at it for so long. But even the best "Ultimate" players have usually been playing for under a decade.

After horsing around by the Olympic Oval or on the soccer fields for two years tackling rez buddies and jogging leisurely about waiting for an errant disc, I decided I was ready for the next step. This summer two friends and I entered into the Kelowna Ultimate Players Society league.

People’s attitudes sure do change after starting real jobs. Albeit the players are still oddballs that obviously didn’t fit in at soccer camp there’s now strategy to figure out as well as new rules and lingo I’m still trying to catch on to. As we showed up to our first games running around in bare feet, the snickers and strange looks from the sidelines quickly told us that this was more serious than we were used to.

The players are better too, some having competed for many years. At least the learning curve of a 21-year-old isn’t what it once was.

It has also definitely been a great way to get in shape. Jogging for the disc is no longer good enough and sprinting up and down a field for 90 minutes helps break a sweat.

All in all it was a great experience though. It helped us meet some cool people in a town unfamiliar to us as well as gave us something to do Tuesday and Thursday nights.

I think the following incident best sums up "Ultimate" and its players; I glanced around the field as a 9 a.m. tournament game neared its end and noticed I was not the only one drinking beer, feeling comforted I had to think, "This truly is a sport I can play for many more years." Unfortunately that night ended with me on the dance floor at Pentictons’ finest drinking establishment, the Barking Parrot pantless, boxerless and without any dignity left.

Another bonus is the drinking and eating involved. At a tournament in Canmore towards the summer’s end, your entry fee included all the food that could be stuffed in your athletic stomach as well as all the booze you needed at night. Eight kegs between about 150 people ain’t bad.

So next time that group of goofy fellahs or your pal down the hall ask you "Wanna toss?" just remember it isn’t prison slang for something you don’t want to do. Give it a try and soon enough a sufficient number of people will have gathered to get a fun game together. Only then will the world be your oyster.

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