Soldiers take Frisbee to 'Ultimate' level
September 14, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 15, 2011) -- The early morning air was pierced by calls like "Move Up!" and "Striker! Striker!" Friday as two, seven-man teams met on the field of battle behind the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Facility.
However, the "battle" was more like a friendly competition between friends, and the weapons used were limited to fast feet and a round, floating disc that both teams traded back and forth for an hour.
This scene was from a bi-weekly pick-up game of Ultimate Frisbee that takes place every Wednesday and Friday morning at 6 a.m.
Organizers CW4 Paul Sivacek and retired Maj. Travis Taylor said it's a great way to get in daily physical training and to have fun doing it.
"For those people who are into sprinting, it's a great workout," Taylor said. "We've modified the game here to work in 20-minute halves with a 5-10-minute halftime."
The game works as a combination of soccer and American football, Taylor said. It uses two endzones across a 100-yard field, but players can pass the Frisbee forward or backward. There are no referees, so the teams have to enforce their own rules.
"It's a gentleman's sport," Taylor said. "The player with the Frisbee can call the foul, but you should always call your own."
Defensive players have to give the player with the Frisbee at least an arm's length distance. The Frisbee can't be stolen from another player, unless it's still in the air. Once a player catches the Frisbee, he or she has 10 seconds to pass it, or it's a turnover. If a defensive player knocks the disc out of the air or intercepts it, it's also a turnover.
The game itself was a fast-paced, high-flying good time for those playing. Several players called out plays and worked patterns similar to what one might see in soccer.
While the action might have been fast and sometimes furious, it was never overly aggressive because it's supposed to be about having fun and getting good exercise, said Maj. Tim Harloff.
"The friendly competition and being able to talk about the game later when we get back to the office is always fun," he said. "Really, we're just out here to get a workout, but if we can do that through a team sport, that makes it all the better."
Harloff said the high speed of the sport can sometimes make it hazardous for the players.
"You have to be careful, especially in a sport when the object of the sport is always floating," he said. "You'll always be watching it and maybe not watching where you're running."
Harloff said one of his favorite things about the game is being able to time that perfect catch and do something that makes the others stop in their tracks.
"You just have to wait for that perfect moment," he said. "When you see that time to make a perfect diving catch, that's when it gets really exciting."
Sivacek said that the games are not just for Soldiers, but their Families and civilians working on post as well.
For more information on getting involved with the games, call 255-0870.