A couple weeks ago, I had to write a sports paper. So I read a chapter of a book on sports writing, but then I also read the next chapter: humor writing. With both of those influences being tossed around my mind, this paper emerged. As soon as I told my sister Carrie about it, she brought up Paul. She was totally
write right; as soon as I realized I wanted it to be sarcastically funny, I subconsciously channeled my inner Paul.
So, this is for you, Paul.
Ultimate Frisbee, commonly shortened to the creative “Ultimate,” is an increasingly popular sport among both millennials and their parents. Scientists are investigating how this unique phenomenon exists, and advertising agencies are altruistically pouring millions of dollars into the research—for the good of the cause, of course.
I’ve only played Ultimate twice, and that was many months apart, so, in reality, I’ve simply played for the first time twice. For this reason, you can rest assured that I know everything that there is to know about the game and never get confused during changes of possession. Ever.
I played most recently with a group of people who ranged in age from twelve to mid-fifties, but the most influential players were
surprisingly the young men in their teens to mid-twenties. The rest of us merely blocked and distracted the other team to the best of our abilities, occasionally catching the frisbee in a complete and honest accident that had a good chance of helping the opposing team.
Understanding Ultimate is really quite simple: it is the monster that emerged when your buddy Jared rolled over the group’s only football in his Mack truck but then tried to pretend you could still play football with the flattened remains. Of course, with those guys in charge of coming up with the rules, nobody should be surprised that we’re left playing an anarchist football in which you can only run if you don’t have the ball, and where downs have been exiled to the frozen wasteland of the hearts of NFL coaches. Thus, you still want to get a touchdown, but you have to make approximately 17 ½ passes between the same 4 guys to get it downfield, which can take upwards of 10 minutes or less.
Of course, the defending team enjoys this new and improved football: to claim possession of the frisbee, they don’t need to intercept it with skill and dexterity and suspense, but instead merely need nimbly hit it out of the air with as much brute force as possible, accompanied with macho yells intended to terrify their victim.
According to the UORTDE (Unofficially Official Rulebook That Doesn’t Exist), from the moment the defending player (who now goes on the offensive in the name of disgracing consistency and order and all things holy) touches the frisbee again, it is in play and must be thrown frantically in five seconds by the other team’s count. For this reason, the possessing player often merely hovers over the downed disc, letting his teammates get in a better position as the opposing team circles him hungrily, waiting for its moment to strike and then probably howl at the moon.
As this explanation has probably inspired you to join your local Ultimate league as fast as humanly possible, I will leave you with the wisest, most universally applicable advice ever screamed at the top of a player’s lungs in pure terror during the game:
“Watch out for Eric!”