Ultimate Frisbee teams vie for Show-Me State Games championship

Saturday, July 20, 2013 | 4:20 p.m. CDT; updated 8:41 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 20, 2013
Eight teams from across the state gathered to share their passion for Ultimate Frisbee at the Show-Me State Games on Saturday.

COLUMBIA — In most sports, it's common to see teams huddle up and do a chant after the game. But after a game of Ultimate Frisbee, teams finish the match with a chant based on their opponent's name. 

"We got stung!" was the cry from CoMokaze following their opening Show-Me State Games loss to the Killer Frisbees.

Teams set up their sidelines right next to each other and occasionally chatted during the game. Both sides applauded each time a player dove to catch a pass.

"There's a lot of camaraderie," said Justen Hauser of the Killer Frisbees team. "During the game, it's pretty competitive."

The fields sprawled across the Rock Bridge athletics area — four orange cones marking the end zones. One game utilized the football field, while three competitions took place in the fields behind the stadium.

Players jogged off the field and slapped hands with their teammates as they headed towards the bench. Teams substituted a few players after each point in order to stay fresh and hydrated. Some teams wore matching uniforms, featuring numbers and nicknames. Other teams wore a mismatch of similarly-colored shirts.

All of the eight teams in this year's Ultimate Frisbee competition are playing in the "open" division, which has no age or gender restrictions. Ultimate is one of the few sports that requires both men and women play at the same time.

Ultimate Frisbee is also one of the few sports that is completely self-officiated. Players are obligated to call fouls on themselves if they feel they have committed one.

Teams score a point by making a catch in their opponent's end zone. The disc is advanced down the field by passing it between the seven team members. Once the disc is caught, the player with the disc has to stop running, but they can pivot in order to pass to a teammate. If the disc is dropped, intercepted, goes out of bounds, or the person with the disc holds onto it for more than 10 seconds, the disc is turned over to the other team. In the Show-Me State Games, the first team to 11 points wins.

Fresa Jacobs, the commissioner for Ultimate Frisbee at this year's games, has been playing since 1998, when she saw her brother playing.

She felt it was a little overwhelming trying to play with men at first, but she eventually found a comfort level thanks to her teammates.

"It's a little intimidating when you're new," Jacobs said. "The key is finding people that keep you coming back"

Ultimate isn't nearly as popular as football or basketball, but the people who play regularly are committed. Hundreds of club teams across the country travel to tournaments with varying levels of competition. The Show-Me State Games Ultimate tournament is much smaller and less competitive than most other large tournaments for just Ultimate.

"We just wanted to come down, have some fun, and maybe win some games," said Ben Sass, a member of the Brick City team from St. Louis.

All eight teams were to play four games each Saturday and reconvene Sunday for the playoffs, where a champion will be crowned.

Supervising editor is Greg Bowers.

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