#TuksUltimate: Ultimate Frisbee challenges Tuks players integrity

Posted on August 13, 2019

Refereeing has become an integral part of modern sports; however, it does not mean that everyone is always appreciative about the decisions the "whistleblowers" are making. 

Ever so often there appears a heading on the sports pages of a newspaper in which someone criticises some referee for unfairly influencing the outcome of a game. 

The one sport where this has never happened is Ultimate Frisbee and with good reason. There are no referees in the game. It is all about player integrity. 

Edna Stander, who is one of the captains of Tuks's Disks of Hazards team, explains that players are expected to do an online "exam" before they compete in major tournaments. In doing so, they are acknowledging that they understand the rules and the responsibility of fair play. It boils down to players having to admit when they are making mistakes. 

Ultimate Frisbee is now known in many countries only as "Ultimate" because Frisbee is a registered trademark. It is a fast-paced sport with similarities to netball, soccer and American Football. Played by around five million people in the US and with leagues in the UK and other European countries. 

Ultimate was created in 1967 by students at Columbia High School and in 1979 the Ultimate Players Association, now USA Ultimate was formed. 

Points are scored by getting the disc to one of your players in the end zone by passing it through the air. A player cannot run with the disk and must stop as soon as they receive it, although they may pivot on one leg as netball players do. The player in possession has 10 seconds in which to pass the disk if they don't they cede possession to the opposition. It is a non-contact sport. 

Stander said one of the beauties of the sport is that very little equipment is needed. All that is required is an inexpensive disk and an open space sufficient for a friendly game. Ultimate is contested between two sides of seven players with substitutions permitted. So with a frisbee, seven bibs and a field the game is on its way.

According to Stander in South Africa, games are often won by the team who is the first to score 21 goals. At times it can be decided to play a 100-minute game.

Stander, who is an industrial engineering and systems student at Tuks, admits that endurance, tactical savviness and speed do come into play during serious games. 

"But at Tuks, it is essential to also have fun while playing. Playing Ultimate is an excellent way to clear one's mind while exercising. At the moment, Tuks is not one of the most competitive sides in South Africa. It is mainly because we are in a rebuilding phase. Hopefully, in two years from now, the Disks of Hazzard's name will start appearing at the top end of competition logs."

Teams competing in South Africa can boast with some of the most unique names. The Disks of Hazard is an adaption of the name of an American Television series called Dukes of Hazard. 

Also playing in South Africa are the Night Mares, Wicked, Hell Hammer, Tyranny and the Prickley Pears.


- Author Wilhelm de Swardt

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