It's the Shady Ladies versus the Bloody Bees. The score is tied. The crowd stands in a hush. This is the championship game in the Big Gay Frisbee fall league. Suddenly one of the Shady Ladies hucks the disc down the field! At the other end, his teammate slips past a defender and snags the disc in the endzone and SCORES! The Shady Ladies are the champions. Thus ends a fall league of LGBT's newest rec sports trend: Ultimate (the sport dropped the "Frisbee" several years ago after an impending lawsuit).
Ultimate is fun and simple. All you need is a disc and a desire to run (like soccer, Ultimate is excellent cardio). Didn't grow up throwing the disc around with Dad? No problem - all you need is five minutes to grasp the basics and off you go. But what makes it special?
Woody Hartman, organizer of BGFSF (Big Gay Frisbee San Francisco) explains Ultimate's appeal: "In Ultimate, I've found something I've been looking for for years - a way to exercise outside the gym, a team sport with a strong sense of community and a chance to meet athletic guys without a drink in my hand."
As LGBT players everywhere experience a second coming-out (out of the bar and onto the field), it is this combination of fun exercise and excellent sportsmanship that makes Ultimate such a draw.
Mutual respect among players is as paramount as highly competitive play. In Ultimate the honor system works; It's why even at national championships, Ultimate is played without referees. Indeed both Big Gay Frisbee (in Los Angeles) and the CMSA (Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association) Ultimate League recognized sportsmanship with team and individual awards at their respective leagues this year.
This Spirit of the Game guarantees an easy sense of camaraderie. All are welcome! Players range from those in their early 20s to those in their 50s. As a sport designed to be co-ed, it is representative of the community.
"Every letter in the [LGBT] acronym was represented this summer," Felipe Rojas, commissioner of the CMSA Ultimate League in Chicago said. Many of the leagues welcome non-LGBT players also.
"Big Gay Frisbee lays it all out in the name," said Daniel Kang, BGF board member. "We're LGBT-proud, we play Ultimate and we don't take ourselves too seriously."
The response has been overwhelming. Los Angeles now has a roster of over 150 active players. In Chicago, CMSA saw 90 people participate in its summer league. BGFSF, the youngest of the LGBT Ultimate Leagues, began just two months ago and already has 60 players.
"Almost every day someone tells me ‘Thank you so much for doing this, our community needs this,'" Hartman said.
So where does all this enthusiasm for Ultimate lead? To Las Vegas, of course! On January 18, 2014, teams from across the country will compete in the very first National LGBT Ultimate Tournament. Part of the massive Sin City Shootout, the national tournament is a chance for ultimate players to meet, test each other's skills and check out each other's ... uniforms.
"It's great to be part of the tournament," said Rojas.
"BGFSF is ready to make an entrance," said Hartman.
But it's the veteran Los Angeles teams who remain the ones to beat.
Who is going to take home the gold this year? Will it be the Pitchy Strippers or one of the other teams representing Los Angeles? The Chicago Total Tops? Or the San Francisco 69ers? However it turns out, the National Tournament is just the beginning for LGBT Ultimate.
Interested in participating in the national tournament? Contact us here firstname.lastname@example.org.