In 1968, Joel Silver introduced the idea of Ultimate Frisbee to the student council of Columbia High School of Maplewood, New Jersey.
The first games were played in a parking lot with no lines, and end zones were marked only by telephone poles or piles of the players’ coats. The first sets of rules were written two years later in 1970, with Rutgers and Princeton playing the first collegiate game on November 6, 1972. The team Frisbee game has concepts and rules adapted from football, basketball and soccer. This sport has come a long way since its inception, including being a part of the World Games and being recognized by the International Olympic Committee with hopes of it being an event in the future.
The Portland State Ultimate Frisbee Club has also come a long way. Backhand, forehand and hammer throws are some of the types of Frisbee-slinging the PSU Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Club does in their practices, tournaments and scrimmages with relative ease.
Under the guidance of Club President Becky Hamilton,they have continued to grow steadily each year.
“We have almost doubled membership from last year to this year,” Hamilton said. “We have done a lot better at tournaments. Our club has only been around for
She now has 20 members who practice, travel, and play with the team. When she arrived at PSU her freshman year, they started with a co-ed team, which is not how a lot of colleges and universities form their teams. The second year, they had men’s and women’s practices and competed in tournaments, including sectionals, which could lead to regionals and potentially nationals down the road. At the end of her sophomore to the beginning of her junior year, Ultimate Frisbee officially split into two different clubs.
In Ultimate Frisbee there are typically two positions: handler, who possesses the hammer, backhand and forehand throws that are necessary to find open teammates; and cutters, who try to get open for passes. Hamilton is a handler, cutter and the President of the Women’s Ultimate Club. Her start in Ultimate Frisbee started in high school as a sophomore, when a recently-formed team at the school gave her an opportunity. As a track and cross country athlete, she thought her skills would translate well. As a senior, she received a Most Valuable Player award in Ultimate.
“It takes so much athleticism, skill and discipline,” Hamilton said. “Like other sports, it takes a lot of strength and agility to play it.”
With a flip of the disc, the two teams are able to pick a side of the field and choose who has possession. Ultimate Frisbee is seven versus seven, which requires scoring points into the opposing end zone with passes and only movement of their non-pivot foot—meaning no running with the disc in hand at any time.
In the fall term they had two tournaments in Corvallis and Eugene. In the second week back to school, the Corvallis tournament saw them return four of their players from last year with a lot of new faces. Hamilton views it as a good learning experience in order to build camaraderie among the club. At the Oregon Fall Ultimate Disc Games in Eugene, they broke seed. They came into the pool as the fourth seed and came out as the third seed by beating Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran.
To keep match preparedness, they played scrimmages against local Portland schools such as University of Portland and Lewis and Clark College. This term they started off at a tournament in Corvallis where they went 4–2 with victories over University of Portland twice, Lewis and Clark and Pacific Lutheran. The record gave them fifth place in the tournament, narrowly missing out on third. The women’s ultimate club has one remaining tournament this term on March 14–15 in Tacoma. Spring term they are looking forward to playing
Hamilton has made the club a close-knit group.
“We hang out outside of ultimate a lot,” Hamilton said. “It is like a family.”
The best part of being President “is that it is a great group of girls. It is awesome watching these girls grow from the beginning of the year to improve so much throughout the year. To fulfill their potential is the best part of it.”
New members are welcome to join. They have two coaches who have competed in college and club nationals. The knowledge of the game they possess translates well into teaching new members. To join Hamilton and the PSU Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Club, come to practices on Mondays and Fridays from 5-6:30PM.