BY ROBERT TAGLIALEGNE
The uninitiated are getting a good dose of Ultimate this weekend as 16 teams vie for the Snowplate trophy at the the ninth annual Ultimate Tournament. The tournament starts Saturday, and the championship game is set to start Sunday at 1pm.
It's not quite soccer. Not quite football, either. In fact the game of Ultimate is a few games rolled into one, without the messiness of contact sports.
The sport combines elements of football, basketball and soccer. It's played by two seven-player teams with a plastic disc on a field similar to football. The object is to advance the disc upfield by throwing the disc to teammates. Points are scored when the disc is caught by a player in the opponent's end zone.
Players are not allowed to run with the disc and must not hold it for more than 10 seconds. No body contact is allowed. There are no referees to call fouls so the players regulate the game themselves.
Ultimate is fast-paced and is great exercise and can be played on grass or on snow - something Sudbury Ultimate players are used to.
Tournament coordinator Dean Aelick said the purpose of the competition is to raise awareness of the sport in the area. Because interest in Ultimate is growing, Aelick said he had to turn back teams wanting to compete.
Even though the sport is below the media's radar, Ultimate has grown over time to become popular with university students and organized into a legitimate sport with its set of rules, a head office, leagues around North America and Sudbury, and tournaments.
In Sudbury there are about 70 people who play the sport - most are Laurentian University students. According to the Ultimate Players Association web site about 100,000 people play the sport in the U.S.
More information on Ultimate can be found at Ultimate Players Association's official web site at www1.upa.org/ultimate. The site explains the rules, provides educational resources for teachers and links to other Ultimate sites.
The local league has a site as well: www.snowplate.com .