Ultimate Frisbee comes to town

Published 10:55 pm Friday, May 30, 2014

Ultimate Frisbee is regarded as one of the fastest growing sports in the country, and for those in the area seeking to become involved in it, Suffolk now has an option. Nansemond River Baptist Church will be hosting the Suffolk Ultimate League this summer.

It is co-ed and for players 16 and up. With the exception of the July 4 weekend, games will be played each Saturday starting on June 21 and ending with a double-elimination tournament on Aug. 16.

League coordinator and Nansemond River church member Nick Hamilton explained what led to his founding the “home-grown” league this past April.

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About seven years ago, “A group of people from Nansemond River (Baptist Church) started playing Ultimate Frisbee on Sunday afternoons,” he said. “Those kids were in high school at the time.”

When they went off to college, much of the group that consistently participated was lost, but now a fresh group has arisen, competing in sporadic pick-up games and building up a demand for more.

“There’s been enough demand from our group and friends of friends, that sort of thing, where people are looking to play Ultimate in a league,” Hamilton said.

Options exist in Virginia Beach and elsewhere, but with the Suffolk Ultimate League, Hamilton said, “We wanted to try to give something to the North Suffolk, Western Branch area where they can come out and play.”

The sport was first developed in 1968 by students at Columbia High School in Maplewood, N.J., and Hamilton described it as like a combination of football and soccer, with a little bit of basketball mixed in.

On a playing field 120 yards long and 40 yards wide, teams of seven face off, seeking to complete a pass into the opposing team’s end zone. When a player has possession of the disc, he or she cannot move, but is allowed a pivot foot.

Though defenses seek to block or intercept passes, no physical contact is allowed between players.

A hallmark of the game is self-officiating. Players resolve their own disputes and are expected to embody a concept heavily promoted in the sport called the Spirit of the Game. It stresses sportsmanship and fair play in accordance with the rules.

The fee for an individual player to join the Suffolk Ultimate League is $10. Hamilton said other leagues may charge up to $45 to cover the cost of insurance. The Suffolk league’s low price was made possible because all its games will be played on fields owned by Nansemond River Baptist Church, and thus participation in the league is covered under the church’s liability insurance.

Hamilton said the league has players signed up, but there is room for more.

“We could support about 300 in the league based on field size and how many fields we could get on there,” he said of the space at 2896 Bridge Road.

Go to www.SuffolkUltimate.com for online registration through June 9.

For more information, contact Nick Hamilton at 773-0168.