Sports

Ultimate Frisbee league reaches out this fall

Surrey Ultimate League member Ed Ryan, right, passes the disc past a blocker during a game. - Paulina Schaefer photo
Surrey Ultimate League member Ed Ryan, right, passes the disc past a blocker during a game.
— image credit: Paulina Schaefer photo

If you're looking for a way to keep fit this fall in a spirit of friendly competition, why not give Ultimate Frisbee a whirl?

The Surrey Ultimate League has just started up its fall season.

Newbies and long-time enthusiasts are welcome to drop in for just a game or two, says league coordinator and busy Cloverdale mom Stacey Wilson.

Unlike the more structured summer session, the SUL's fall league is a little more relaxed in terms of individual commitment, but definitely competitive.

Sunday afternoons to Nov. 11, players aged 15 and up, from beginner to expert, get together for drop-in games at Semiahmoo Trail Elementary School.

The league, founded in 2009, is reaching out to new players who would like to try the sport.

Players range from high schoolers to parents of high schoolers and everyone in between, including young couples starting families.

Wilson admits she loves stealing away from parenting duties once a week to tear down the field.

"I get two hours on Sunday to get out and just run around," she says, adding Ultimate is a great sport for couples to do because games are co-ed.

"Generally, it's kid-friendly as well – there's usually somebody on the sidelines watching the kids."

It's a fairly easy game to pick up for newbies, says Wilson, who describes Ultimate Frisbee as a cross between football and basketball, and involves opposing teams fighting for control of the disc.

The field has two end zones, like football, and the idea is to catch the disc in the end zone to score.

It's similar to baseball in that a player cannot take steps after catching the disc – they can only pivot, trying to elude the guard in order to throw to someone else.

"If somebody played basketball, it would probably be a really easy transition," says Wilson, who explains that the "throwing and the catching and the running" is the tricky part.

It's also a demanding workout, especially the first few times out. "Eventually it gets easier. The first couple of weeks might be a little tiring."

In the fall league, there are a lot of veterans who will show new players the ropes.

"It's a sport where we really encourage people to come out. It's all about the spirit of the game It's very much about teaching and encouraging people who want to play with us to join the league."

The Sunday games are fairly loose in terms of team makeup. Men and women play together, and organizers try to assemble teams into a mix of experienced and green players.

The league's summer season is much more structured, with more teams and more competition.

"In summertime, you get together as a team, we add you to an existing team, or we build a new team." There are standings and playoffs, requiring more of a firm commitment from players.

Along with the workout and fun of the game, she also likes the people. Ultimate players "are just really friendly and outgoing – not pretentious," she says. "It's just a really inviting group of people, no matter where you play."

She fell in love with Ultimate when she lived in Toronto. A soccer player at the time, she took up a friend's suggestion to come out for Ultimate.

She was hooked. Ever since, no matter where she's lived, she's always sure to track down the nearest Ultimate league. "You just feel like you've been part of the group forever. You don't feel like you're an outsider. And, it's a great workout."

While the Surrey Ultimate League plays in South Surrey, a lot of players come from Cloverdale, Clayton, and Willoughby area of Langley – which doesn't have a league of its own.

"We actually have two guys who come from Chilliwack. It's pretty intense. They love it."

Currently, there are Ultimate leagues in Vancouver, Surrey and Maple Ridge. Surrey players have opportunities to attend tournaments in Vancouver and beyond.

Surrey's Ultimate League hopes to grow to the point where it can one day split off into different divisions.

There were six teams the summer the Surrey league began in 2009. Four years later, there are 19 teams and growing.

"With a very positive future," Wilson says.

The Surrey Ultimate League's fall season began Sept. 16 and runs to Nov. 11. Games are Sundays from 2-4 p.m. at Semiahmoo Trail Elementary at 3040 145A Street, Surrey.

The cost is just $25 for two months per person, or $40 for two to join for two months.

Bring a dark and light-coloured t-shirt, and cleats if you have them.

It's just $25 per person or $40 for two to join for two months.

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