Sunday, April 13, 2008

A frisbee flop

One of my main motivations for coming to Korea was to try new things - I imagined these would include visiting splendid temples, trying strange cabbagey foods and singing in small rooms (all of which I have ticked off my imaginary Korean to-do list). One thing I didn't anticipate was taking part in an Ultimate Frisbee tournament, but I'd heard such positive things about the sport, it seemed something I shouldn't miss out on.

For those not in the know (which included me up until a few weeks ago), Ultimate Frisbee (also simply known as Ultimate) is a non-contact, team-based sport, which began life on US campus in the sixties. Apparently Joel Silver had a role in creating the rules, and setting up the tenets of the sport, which include a strong emphasis on sportsmanship and mutual respect. A game plays out as something like a cross between American football and netball, with two teams trying to pass the disc to their opponents' end-zone.

Despite the relative simplicity of the rules, as a almost complete newcomer to Ultimate, I was all at sea when it came to playing the actual games. My pathetic level of fitness didn't help matters either, as there is a ridiculous amount of running involved in a game. On sand. Quite frankly, I was appalling, and although I was starting to get a bit of a feel for the game by the end of the first day, by that point I was too exhausted to care very much.

Thankfully, this was a 'hat tournament', with a mix of beginners and more experienced players assigned to teams, not randomly as the name would suggest, but to create a balance of skill levels. Alongside a few Korean participants, most of the players were an interesting mix of foreigners, who had travelled from all over Korea to play on Haeundae, Busan's most popular beach. The beach gets horribly crowded in the summer months, but on this weekend in early April, it was relatively quiet, even though the weather was beautiful.

My team were knocked out early on day two, so I could spend most Sunday resting my aching limbs, enjoying the sun and watching the other games. A good game of Ultimate can be very impressive to watch, with a mixture of fluid teamwork, lightning fast changes of pace, and more than a little good, old fashioned showing off. I'm very much looking forward to seeing more of the same at the International Ultimate Frisbee Tournament on Jeju Island this week, but won't be competing again until I've had a complete body transplant, at the very least.

Photo album:
Ultimate Frisbee tournament in Busan

1 comment:

Andrew said...

I think I'd actually quite like that. I thought it was all about how far you can throw it rather than being a team game.