Ultimate frisbee is an unknown sport to many, but it’s one of the fastest growing and most popular sports in the country, especially amongst high school and college students.
Ultimate is a fast paced game that combines various sports, most notably football and basketball. The objective of the game is to get the disc into the opponent’s end zone (game’s are usually played on a football field). Everytime you reach the opposing team’s endzone you receive a point. Once you catch the disc you can no longer move, much like in basketball, and must pivot and throw the disc up field to your teammates. If the disc is dropped then it’s a turnover and the other team picks it up from there. Games usually go to about 13 or 14 points and last anywhere from 45 to 75 minutes.
The Sonoma State University men’s ultimate team has been steadily growing over the years to become what it is today. It’s currently a USAU Division 1 club sport that plays against various D-1 teams from all over the west coast, most notably schools such as Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Chico State, and Sacramento State.
Matt Gibbons is a fourth year student at Sonoma State, he is also the student club president and captain of the men’s ultimate team. His job is making sure everyone on the team stays informed, that they get invited to all the games and tournaments, and that they’re able to get appropriate field space.
Gibbons talks about how he got into ultimate, his experience with the sport, and why he loves it.
“I got into ultimate because one of my friends who went away to college came back for the summer, played it at his school, and really enjoyed it. He told me to check it out at the school I was going to. After talking to the coaches I was on the team, and from there I fell in love with the game.” said Gibbons.
Gibbons also talked about the beauty of the game and what the commitment looks like.
“The sport is for everyone, regardless of skill level or athletic ability. There are leagues for everyone all around the nation. It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the world right now. Most people come out with no experience whatsoever. Some don’t even know how to throw a frisbee, that’s why we spend so much time at the beginning of practice working on the fundamentals: throwing and catching. Practice officially starts at 3 but you’re going to see people trickle in early just to start throwing because that's such an important part of the game,” said Gibbons.
The first tournament the men’s team will compete in is at Humboldt State. Schools such as University of Oregon, San Jose State, and Chico State, amongst others, will make the trip to play at that tournament for a weekend.
They’ll all head to Chico State in the middle of October for some matches, and everyone comes to Sonoma State in the first week of November for another action-packed tournament. USAU sanctioned tournaments are next, they count towards the team’s overall record. The teams overall record determines their placement at a sectional tournament. If they do well enough at sectionals they go on to regionals,.Then if they do well enough at regionals they go on to nationals.
Gibbons also comments on how they did last season.
“Last year we did really well. We were in a nail biter game against Chico State, I think we lost 13-12 or 12-11 so it was really close. We were playing for the last spot to go to regionals. It was the last game of the whole season, all the other teams had already left the tournament so it was just us, Chico and the groundskeepers who set up field. It was the best game we’ve ever played because it was just so intense. Especially because we see the Chico State team all the time over the course of the year so we get to know them really well and it’s just so much fun when you know your opponent that well and you're both competing that hard,” said Gibbons.
This year the Men’s team has a brand new coach named Matt Kisman. He has taken the Women's team to regionals a few times and then to Nationals in 2007-2008. He’s also taken Humboldt state to regionals before too. Now he’s in the Sebastopol area and is looking to continue coaching teams. “He’s a great coach and we’re really looking forward to working with him,” Gibbons said.
“If you’re interested in checking the sport out just come out to a practice, try it out, and we’re happy to teach you. We're just a bunch of guys who love to have fun and compete” says Gibbons. For more info contact firstname.lastname@example.org.