Ultimate Frisbee proves major draw
Published 9:07 pm Wednesday, September 3, 2014
The first season of the Suffolk Ultimate League hosted by Nansemond River Baptist Church this past summer was a significant success, demonstrating the zeal of athletes in the area for Ultimate Frisbee.
“We’re really impressed by the way things turned out,” said league coordinator Nick Hamilton.
The 16-and-up co-ed league ended up having 55 players signed up from all over the area, with a wide array of ages represented.
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Most players were from either Suffolk or Chesapeake, but others came from Portsmouth, Norfolk, Carrollton, Newport News, Virginia Beach and Hampton.
The largest concentration of competitors were in their 20s, though there were also 18 teenagers and seven players in either their 40s or 50s. Most players were men, but at least six women participated, too.
Hamilton said there was a good mix of experience levels represented, ranging from veterans who travel up and down the East Coast to play in Ultimate Frisbee tournaments to those who had never played the game before.
And this mix did not seem to compromise the possibility for good competition.
“The veteran players said that they still had a really good time,” Hamilton said.
Robbie Gardner of Chesapeake said, “Nick did an excellent job of organizing. It’s the most well-organized Ultimate league I’ve played in, and I’ve been playing for 20 years.”
Veterans like Gardner took opportunities to be teachers of the game.
The 55 players were broken up into four teams — Blue, Grey, Red and White — which each played once on Saturday mornings during the regular season.
Some players and spectators would stick around after the games were over and participate in a pick-up game.
“It was really those pick-up games that afforded the better teaching moments,” Hamilton said.
The blue team, possessing several experienced travel players, went 6-0 during the regular season and won the single-elimination tournament that followed in mid-August.
“We had a great season,” said Gardner, the blue team coordinator. “It was fun, pretty good competition.”
Not only did Hamilton receive a lot of positive feedback from everybody about the league, he said there were also “a lot of people indicating their willingness to continue playing.”
He said it would not be unrealistic for the tally of 55 players to double next summer.
In the meantime, 35 people have verbally committed to participating in a fall season of the Suffolk Ultimate League.
Hamilton said he has not yet put up a sign-up link at SuffolkUltimate.com, but other tentative plans for the fall have begun to form. He anticipates the season beginning near the end of September, with likely a six-week schedule.
“Those games will be on Saturday afternoons,” Hamilton said. “That seemed to be the timeframe that won out.”
He plans to lower the minimum age requirement.
“I think we can knock that down to 15 and still be competitive and not have to worry about any gross mismatches in ability,” he said.
To better avoid creating a super-team, he also said no team sign-ups will be allowed, but individual or partner sign-ups will be.
Hamilton said there was one clear complaint from players about this past season.
“There wasn’t enough playing time,” he said. “Everybody wanted to play more than just the one game.”
Expecting three teams in the fall, Hamilton said there will likely be a round-robin format on Saturdays in which each team plays twice.
For more information on the Suffolk Ultimate League, contact Nick Hamilton at 773-0168.