Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Professional Ultimate?

Because my region (California) has almost nothing to update you on, I would like to instead pose a philosophical question:

Ultimate continues to push itself into the mainstream sports world. Would people prefer that it to followed this trend, becoming another commercialized, professional, and truly organized sport, or would you have it remain the mostly unknown and unloved sport that it is and keep our community intact.

Throw out your opinion.

PlayUltimate Contributors - Thomas Sanchez

Name: Thomas Michael Sanchez
High School Team: Dark Meat *CHP* (Alameda, CA)
College: I am currently a UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, or University of Oregon hopeful
Currently Living in: Alameda/Oakland/San Francisco, California
Years Playing: 3
First Heard of Ultimate: 8th Grade, but back then “Frisbee was for losers”
Ultimate Accomplishments: Went to National’s my first year on the team, Won the California State Championships in 2005, Made Semi’s at Westerns in 2005, and perfected the full-field chicken wing.
Favorite Tournament: Savage seven tournaments and the National/Western Championships
Mentors/Role Models: Michael DeSousa is my Buddha, Jeff Cruickshank is my hero.
Why you have expertise on the region you are reporting on: I am a Co-Region Coordinator for Northern California, Captain of the California State Champions, and I play a lot of Ultimate all over the place.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas.... (a present from the PlayUltimate staff)

Happy holidays from the PlayUltimate staff, though hopefully not too many of you will be checking in today, and instead feasting on Christmas candies and turkey and whatever else, we'd just like to announce that we have a bit of a present for all of you this holiday season.

Announcing our newest contributor....

Thomas Sanchez from Alameda, California

Thomas will start checking in soon with a contributor bio, and you can expect high school updates from the northern california area to start rolling in soon after. With this addition we have expanded our coverage from coast to coast (again), bringing us to 6 contributors from three time zones, four states, and more than five high school communities from around the country. We are continuing to expand and hope to eventually canvass the entire ultimate playing United States, that of course will take time, so for now, thank you for reading and we promise big improvements over the next few months, and perhaps a few very exciting announcements regarding high school ultimate coverage......

but you'll just have to keep checking back for that.

Merry Christmas world, and in case we dont see you, have a sweet new year.

Friday, December 23, 2005

A few maps - on the growth of High School ultimate in the US

above are the states with upa sanctioned state championship tournaments for 2005

and then for 2005

and then above are the states who have had active programs this fall (any team which reported scores to the upa score reporter)

quite interesting to see how the sport is growing. i plan on doing a few more of these maps after the spring season gets started/finishes. because as far as i know the spring season is the main one for most high school teams.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

PlayUltimate Contributors - Matt McCabe

Name: Matt McCabe
High School Team: St. Joe's Prep (Philadelphia)
College: University of Pittsburgh
Currently Living in: Pitt / Philly
Years Playing: 5
First Heard of Ultimate: 9th Grade
Ultimate Accomplishments: Started high school team at SJP, selected as PHUEL All-Star twice, received PHUEL Spirit of the Game award 2005, Prep reached the PA State quarterfinals and PHUEL semifinals in 2005
Favorite Tournament: playing in PA State champs was pretty awesome, and watching Mid-Atlantic Club Regionals was also pretty cool.
Accomplishments in Regards to Journalism: I currently work as an editor for the Pitt News (daily collegiate newspaper), received a Catholic Standard&Times award for an article i wrote in high school, yada yada
Mentors/Role Models: Mike Panna, Rosser, all the OLD SAG guys, and the current Pitt team

I was first introduced to ultimate on my first day of school freshman year. We had orientation activities to get to know fellow students and one of the activities happened to be playing ultimate on the front lawn of the school (a patch of grass maybe 15 by 25 yards - surrounded by concrete and the rest of North Philadelphia). I had never experienced anything quite like it, but i picked it up easily enough, and occasionally from that point on would play in the front yard with friends. One of whom was Mike Panna, a freshman like me who loved the game. However, he was unlike me in the fact that he had a flick, hammer, scoober, knew how to cut, knew what a force was, knew what zone was, etc. His older brother, Chris had played for Scranton and went on to play for Philly's open club team, which was then Rage.

So over the years Mike and I continued to play, or rather he played and taught me a hell of alot of what i know, and we decided to start a formal team at the beginning of our junior year. In the fall of 2003, we played in our first tournament, and i played in my first game of organized high school ultimate. It was sweet. We got creamed for the most part, but our team was athletic and by the time our class graduated we had a team of 30+ athletes and the Prep had become a perennial contender within PHUEL.

After I graduated i attended the Philadelphia Ultimate Camp, where i was taught that what i thought i knew, was in reality virtually nothing about the game. After that week though i left with some significantly more solid fundamentals. In August i began school at the University of Pittsburgh, where i tried out for and made the A team. Since then i have participated in 5 tournaments in 4 different states, including the Classic City Classic in Georgia. Recently I was elected President of the team, so yay for beaurocracy.

Hopefully that provides you with a significant enough background into my ultimate career. I hope you enjoy the site, and come back often, we are always looking to add contributors (if you are interested email us at, and eventually hope to have extensive coverage of high school ultimate from all over the country.

To view information about the professional Matthew McCabe, feel free to check out this site.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

PlayUltimate Contributors - Joel Houmes

Name: Joel Houmes
High school team: I'm an old guy and they didn't have them back then (teams...not high schools, smart a....)
College team: Northwestern University
Current residence: Cincinnati, OH
Where you first heard of ultimate: From the youth leader at my church
Years playing game: 22....yikes. Does that make me Old School? Please don't tell me if you have my replica jersey.
Notable accomplishments while playing: Back in the day, Northwestern was a top 20 team.
why you have expertise on the region you are reporting on: I am going into my fourth season coaching in Cincinnati. One year as an assistant at Lebanon High School and three as head coach at Lakota High School. I also coach the select team that participates at Youth Club Nationals.
Any high school or college accomplishments in regards to writing/journalism: doctoral thesis is 238 pages guaranteed to put you to sleep. Who needs drugs?

While I have played for years and years and years and years, the last few years coaching have been by far the most rewarding. Now that I am in the Masters division (read old and slow and tired), it is a good way to get my competitive juices flowing. Besides, how great is it to have a group of players that have to come and play whenever I want? Bonus.

Like a lot of players, high school ultimate was a disorganized rabble for me. My friends and I rarely even played with boundaries. As you might imagine, games quickly turned into regular huck fests. I suppose those days planted the seed that would later develop into a player that considers every huck a good huck. College offered structure for my game as well as the finer points of good team offense and defense. Perhaps my greatest college accomplishment was actually getting knocked out in a game at college sectionals. You have to appreciate the little things.

Since college, most of my playing has been in summer leagues with the occasional venture into club tournaments and punctuated by the occasional odd injury (cracked an arm laying out onto a sidewalk). Now I mostly play vicariously through the players I coach.

Youth Ultimate Cincinnati I have been a bit tardy in getting my first post in on the Ultimate scene in the SW Ohio/Indiana/Kentucky area. I've been out tossing the disc in the snow. Is there a better excuse? I coach the Lakota High School team in Cincinnati and will post here as I see interesting things. Today I will talk about our league and other area teams. Future posts will talk about the teams in our league and notable players both past and present.

Here in Cincinnati we are going into our 7th season. I don't know all the details, but our league has the rather unfortunate name of "Youth Ultimate Cincinnati" or YUC. We started with 4 teams in 1999 and have steadily grown to where we had 14 teams last year. We play as a mixed league (usually 5/2) and our season runs from mid-March to mid-May.

The 500-pound gorilla in our league is the Home School team. I'm sure that many of you are now chuckling at the concept of a Home School team, but remember that they only play one sport. They start their kids playing in second grade, so by the time they get to high school every one of them can throw well and knows all about their offensive and defensive schemes. While they are not the most athletically gifted team, they play a decent zone and really make you pay for your mistakes. They have not lost a game in three years including last years' first Ohio state championship.

I am sure that many of you who follow ultimate closely don't know a whole heck of a lot about ultimate in Cincinnati. Historically, we don't travel much. Those of you familiar with the midwest will know that it can be quite a drive to get, well, just about anywhere. Until recently, to find other team to play, we would have to drive to Pittsburgh (4-5 hours), Nashville (4-5 hours) or Atlanta (6-7 hours). So...we chose to spend most of our time beating up on each other rather than travelling around and playing other cities.

All of that is starting to change though. With teams now in Cleveland, Columbus, Indy, Lexington and Bloomington, I am looking forward to taking my team on the road more. Plus, last summer we put a team into the Youth Club Championships. We finished 5th but played pretty well for a team overloaded with freshmen. Look out for us next year.

See you on the field.

PlayUltimate Contributors - Nick Kaczmarek

Name: Nick Kaczmarek
High School: Bethel Park
College: University of Pittsburgh
Other teams: Coach of Pittsburgh Impulse (youth club team)
Lives in: Pittsburgh
Years playing: 3

First heard of Ultimate in: 11th grade
Accomplishments: 2004 PHUL Championship w/ Bethel Park
Involvement in Community: I help with High School Gym demos, write weekly reports for the Spring High School League, coach the youth club team, give clinics for high school teams, etc.
Favorite Tournament: Nationals at any level
Mentors/Role Models: Henry Thorne

I was introduced to Ultimate in 11th grade by Steve Grassel and we quickly joined PHUL and finished second that first season to Mt. Lebo. We got serious in 2004 (well as serious as a group of 7 close friends can get about Ultimate in high school) and attended a bunch of tournaments including Juniors Terminus (3rd place finish was a highlight at the time). We also won the league that year. I was one of those confused throwers with a righty flick and a lefty backhand until Dave Lionetti told me about all the wonders of being a lefty (like being incapable of travels and impossible to mark). Playing on PITT finally woke me up during my freshman year and got me to finally improve as a player. My most meaningful experience in Ultimate so far has been spending a summer coaching a great group of youth players from Pittsburgh, but that'll be topped eventually.

PlayUltimate Contributors

So you read the content, perhaps you subscribe to the rss feed, perhaps you stumbled upon us following a link from somewhere in the vast reaches of this internet. No matter how you read the site and no matter how you found us, undoubtedly you are currently wondering who the hell we are, why we have any expertise on the subject of high school ultimate, and where the hell we come from.

Well fear not, because for the next week each of the contributors to the blog will be posting a brief bio, with hopefully everything you could ever want to know about them.

So check back in often, cause you will not want to miss these.

Hey, we promise once the seasons start up again, we will have a slew of timely and interesting content.

Further - if you are a budding journalist, or have an inspiring amount of insight on the high school ultimate scene, or you hail from a region we do not yet cover, drop us a comment with an email - we WANT more contributors, ESPECIALLY from the following regions - north west (washington, california, oregon), south east (georgia, north carolina), north east (new england, massachussettes, etc), great lakes area (minnesota, wisconsin, michigan) - so if you fit in to any of those categories, or perhaps you are just naturally sweet. leave a comment with an email address and we will contact you.

Monday, December 19, 2005

YCC in 2006

The youth club championships were a big success last year, but there just weren't as many teams as everyone was hoping for. I kind of believe this was because of short notice for a lot of youth areas and they couldn't get teams/money together in time. So, this year I'm kinda expecting a boom... who's planning on sending a team this year - and in what division. Also, if you don't really know where to start, Pittsburgh was in the same situation last year, so if you have questions, I might be able to help out. But seriously, who is going because this is eventually going to be THE showcase of Youth Ultimate and it would be sweet if it was sooner than later.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Role Models for "Young" Players

So this issue has bugged me for a little bit, and since it is the "off-season" for most high school ultimate players, i figured i would bring it up.

first off a little exercise...

1. name five nba players
2. name five nfl players
3. name your top 5 sports role models from any sport

not too hard eh? ok now try this -

name five upa club players
name your top five ultimate role models

for most high school players, this is where the difficulty comes in. as a sport, we dont have, at least as far as i can see, those players that are universal. everyone that plays basketball has heard of michael jordan. everyone that plays soccer has heard of pele, for cycling - lance, etc.

as a sport i think this is something perhaps we are lacking. we have the local role models, the coaches, the alumni of your teams, perhaps local college players you've seen play, etc. but what we lack is the nearly idolized distant role model. the one you watch from afar, perhaps send for an autograph.

so - to the point of this long rambling post. if you disagree with me, who are the universal role models for ultimate? (name names) and if not, have you seen any players (lets keep it in club, which is undeniably the closest thing to pro for ultimate right now) who are worthy of such acolades?

i wanna hear names here. and if you cant answer either of the above questions, how about this one - do you think ultimate needs or wants a michael jordan?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

open thread

in the absence of any new content (which i promise is coming...), an open thread to discuss whatever you want in the world of high school ultimate. i see that the junior worlds team post a few back has been getting a bunch of comments, so feel free to post your thoughts here.

who are the best players in high school now? who were the best? what makes the best player? who are the best teams? why are they the best teams?

start the spewing, the only opinion that sucks here is the one you think and then decide not to post.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Resources for High School Players

So many in the ultimate world have commented on what could be described as the "knowledge gap" with other sports. When you play basketball, you know all the rules, and to feel like you can play at a high level you know all the fundamentals, perhaps you watch the pros, you know what types of drills to do etc. However in ultimate it seems as if on every team there are only a few if any of those types of players, and usually those are the ones who have assumed the burden of teaching everyone else around them how to play.

The long and short of it is, following that model, ultimate can only progress so far. Individual players need to make strides to learn about the games themselves. They need to first off know all the rules, otherwise you are just shooting yourself in the foot. And further, the ones who wish to become good, need to go further and learn the strategy of the game etc.

So without further ado, i post for you, a list that i have compiled off the top of my head of sources for high school players in particular to better their game...

Ultimate Websites and Media - Jim Parinella's blog - one of the
foremost experts on ultimate, has played for Boston's Death or Glory
for more than ten years now - DOG is a team which won something like 5
back to back national championships in the early 90s, this year they
went to natties and reached the semifinals
- video from Colorado University's recruitment camp. These are the
types of players you need to be able to beat one on one, point after
point, to compete at the national level - ultimate frisbee strategy and
coaching information, very useful if you want to learn more - frisbee spew, commentary and thought
provoking thingers from the ultimate community - a bunch of the ultimate blogs compiled
into one site. it takes posts from jim parinella, and other top club
players from around the country and puts them all on one page - if you dont already go here
daily, you are missing out. almost every single day there is a new clip
of the day. the company produces dvds featuring the top ultimate action
in the country. right now they offer something like 3 or 4 dvds, with a
new one coming out every few months. definitely some awesome stuff.
they also have a compilation of user submitted links on there which
could probably help you. dvds are reasonably priced and well worth the
money. michael jordan didnt learn to play bball without watching wilt
chamberlain and bill russel on tv. you have to learn from someone.
- gaia offers a few ultimate DVDs which are all very worthwhile. but
above all, i strongly STRONGLY recommend buying I Bleed Black. if you
want anything for christmas, ask for this. holy lord is it worth it.
and its only selling for $20. that is an absolute steal. the dvd is a
documentary of the UC Santa Barbara team of 2002 i believe and their
run at a national championship. it goes through their practices, team
meetings, everything. its amazingly valuable. the trailer can be seen
here -

Ultimate Books

there are also a bunch of books availiable (hello christmas presents!)
written by the legends of the game...

Ultimate Techniques and Tactics - written by Jim Parinella and Eric
Zaslow, awesome diagrams, graphics, tips for training, drills, diet,
everything you need to know, and right now on amazon its around $13,
not too bad at all

The Fundamentals of Ultimate, written by James Studarus, i own it, not
as good as t&t, but not bad, only $8 as well

Ultimate: The First Four Decades - written in part by Adam Zagoria,
with tons of contributors - if you want to know why you play the way
you do. why you have the championships you have etc. where the upa came
from. who won championships of the past. who started the sport. who if
the jerry west of ultimate. the babe ruths, etc. if you want to know
where the sport is going, where you have the potential to go, you have
to know where it came from. this book has just been released. it comes
with a dvd. its apparently amazing. i havent gotten mine yet but holy
hell will i. it will sell out, i can promise you that. because they are
running from such a small printing firm they only have a limited number
of copies, and it will sell out.

Ultimate Camps

Ok, so you want to do more than just read things online, and watch some
videos about ultimate. During the summer there are tons of camps around
the country for high school ultimate players - - the Philadelphia ultimate camp, if you are interested in ultimate and want to get better this is the camp you want to go to. you will be taught by mostly
OLD SAG players (Philadelphia's Masters team) many of whom were on the
national championship team a few years back, and most of whom played at
nationals this year. - the undeniably most prestigious ultimate camp in
the country. if you want to be one of the best high school players in
the nation, this is something to think about. top college and club
players from around the country travel to the boston area every year to
help coach and run the camp. if you go there, you learn from the best. - i dont know too
many things about this camp, except that it is basically a recruitment
tool for Colorado who is one of the most dominant teams in college
ultimate. they were in the finals last year, they won the year before
that. they are a perennial favorite. definitely worth looking at if you
want to get yourself recognized - the upa has a
few other camps listed

Do you have something we left out? Feel free to post a link as a comment