Friday, August 22, 2014

Ultimate Frisbee to be Recognized by State's H.S. Athletics

This goes beyond gym class offering Ultimate Frisbee. Text from the article "VPA to Add Ultimate Frisbee for 2015" by Greg Fennell.

Ultimate Frisbee in Vermont is getting the ultimate reception: official recognition from the state's governing body for high school athletics.

The field sport that uses the trademarked disc for a ball and employs elements of football, soccer and basketball in its play will be an exhibition sport for the next two years, starting next spring, Vermont Principals Association associate executive director Bob Johnson announced during Thursday's annual media day at the VPA's Montpelier office. At least 13 schools have said they'll take part in the endeavor, which could be elevated to full state sanctioning as early as 2017 if ultimate can meet a number of mandates.

"It's absolutely amazing how many kids are involved," Johnson told the gathering of about two dozen media members. "Down here in Montpelier, they’ll tell you they have somewhere between 50 and 60 kids that play ultimate. … Some of these nontraditional sports that we've seen in the past few years have just completely grown in popularity."

Vermont is the first state in the country to support ultimate in this manner, according to Montpelier High coach Anne Watson, one of the forces behind VPA sanctioning. Watson estimated the first spring league could encompass between 16 and 20 schools.

... Johnson said a group representing ultimate made its first serious pitch to the VPA's activities standards committee in February. He called it "probably the best presentation that I've ever seen on an exhibition sport."

"They brought in about 15 students from various schools in Vermont — Montpelier, Fairfax, CVU, schools down south; they brought them in from all over," Johnson said. "They also brought in seven or eight coaches and sat there and explained to us what ultimate was. It was just an excellent presentation."

Ultimate also has carved out a niche as an antiestablishment team game. Some contests are played to a certain score rather than with timed periods. Many levels of the game are played without referees, with the competitors policing themselves.

Johnson said an ultimate committee will begin meetings this fall to plan for the sport's future. The group, made up of coaches and athletic directors from ultimate-playing schools, will be in charge of writing the sport's rules if the game is to achieve full VPA sanctioning.

"They came to us and said, 'We need to have some sort of body under which we come under, an umbrella type of body,' " Johnson said. "'We need a body that will establish formal rules and regulations because we’re growing so much. Plus, we have all these high school kids that are participating.'"

"When they come under the VPA's umbrella, with any sport, what happens is you've agreed to abide by our rules. That means you're going to have rules, number one, which a lot of people look at ultimate and say, 'Really?' "

"People play ultimate because it's relaxed. That's sort of the appeal. I'm in favor of whatever the kids want to do." Ultimate’s biggest challenge will ultimately be getting out the word.

"One of the main things is Frisbee is viewed as a laid-back sport, and it definitely is," Ruddell said. "To get to that varsity level, there will need to be more separation between Frisbee for fun and Frisbee as a competitive sport. It's so early in its establishment right now that people don't know much about it. That is a huge obstacle.'


[SOURCE: Valley News]

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