Monday, July 23, 2012

Ultimate for Professionals

Ultimate for professionals is different than professional Ultimate.

A Love Story: Start-ups & Ultimate Frisbee [Inc. 7.20.12]
If sports could be ascribed to industries, bankers would probably own basketball or football. Publishers clearly relish softball. There's even a dedicated league--New York Media Softball League--where literary players compete. (High Times is currently in the lead.)

And if start-ups could ever own a sport, it would no doubt be Ultimate Frisbee.
Investors, too, are weirdly enmeshed in the start-up Ultimate scene; some even benefit from the connections made on the field....

There are other reasons, too, that make start-up folk attracted to Ultimate, and the analogies--though admittedly maudlin--are clear. Unlike most sports, Ultimate games eschew any positions. All players on the field are running, throwing, and catching equally. (Advanced Ultimate players assign players to limited roles, such as "handlers" and "deeps," but for the more casual Ultimate game, chaos rules.)

In other words, it's a fast game with a flat management structure where players must perform all tasks as necessary.

And compared to more sedate sports like baseball or golf, there's a high amount of tumult in an average game--the clock literally does not stop, and players are constantly in motion, dithering back and forth from offense to defense. Nimbless is a key attribute of both a good Ultimate player and a start-up founder.

"Without sounding melodramatic, this is a game that mirrors a lot of the values of the Valley," Peter Nieh, a venture capitalist, told Forbes. "It's fast-paced, intense, very dynamic. You never have time to set up. Unlike football, it just goes and goes and goes."

Some offer a more fanciful explanation of why those inclined towards math and sciences revere Ultimate, which is often played co-ed.

"I will say that both pursuits appeal to a sense of aesthetics and elegance, and that the self-officiated nature of Ultimate conforms to philosophies of truth and honesty which I hold as a mathematician," writes Peter Behr, a designer who studied math, on Quora. "But crucially, how else are us math guys supposed to meet girls?"


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