Last spring, Bellingham Ultimate saw a crowd of 120 people register to compete in the spring league, forming eight teams to participate in a 10-week long season. The first eight-team league the group has seen.
This upcoming season members of the organization hope to see that number increase.
“We would love to have more. We want to grow the community and would love to get as many people as possible,” Bellingham Ultimate organizer Jesse Sturgis said.
Bellingham Ultimate is a nonprofit organization formed in 2009 which welcomes new or experienced players to join for weekly pick-up games hosted by the organization. The organization also hosts a fall, winter and spring league throughout the year.
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“Bellingham has had ultimate going since the mid 80s because of the type of town it is — a college town,” Bellingham Ultimate member Mike Sherman said. “Five years ago we decided to get more organized, run leagues and got a youth program doing.”
Ultimate is a sport that combines aspects of football and soccer. Teams of seven move around a 70-yard by 40-yard field to try and get the frisbee into the endzone to score a point. Games are played to 15 points. Players who have possession of the disc are not allowed to move, instead looking for a teammate to pass the disc to.
One aspect that separates ultimate from other sports is the absence of referees during games. All rules and violations are enforced by the players on the field.
“All confrontations are resolved on the field by the players and not third parties,” Bellingham Ultimate member Dylan Albrecht said.
This aspect is what members of the Ultimate community refer to as the “spirit of the game.”
“The spirit of the game makes ultimate an empowering sport because you are in control of how the flow of the game goes,” Sherman said.
Bellingham Ultimate’s spring league, which runs from April to June, is right around the corner. The organization encourages people to come out and give the game a try, Sturgis said.
The spring league is when the organization sees the most increase in new members. The first two weeks of the league are dedicated to clinics and the next four weeks have practices prior to the weekly games for new members looking for more practice, Sherman said.
Teams within a league are co-ed, an aspect Sturgis said shows the welcoming community of the sport.
“It’s one of the few sports that can be played well co-ed, we really try to encourage women to play,” he said.
Anyone interested in joining Bellingham Ultimate is welcome, there is no age restriction set by the organization. The community as a whole is welcoming to new people because it is a new sport and everyone has to start somewhere, Albrecht said.
For those who are more experienced and looking to get into tournaments throughout the region. Bellingham Ultimate is looking to rebuild a club team consisting of members of the Bellingham community who are dedicated to attending tournaments and participating consistently.
The Bellingham Ultimate organization hosts weekly pick-up games, posted on their website bellinghamultimate.org as well as sign-ups for league play. The organization also has a Facebook page which constantly posts updates regarding the organization and events happening within the ultimate community.
With spring league dates soon to be announced and sign-up dates approaching, new members are strongly encouraged by the organization to join.
“I always tell people when they’re new, everyone remembers their first time playing, how difficult it is and how intimidating it is to throw a Frisbee,” Sherman said. “We’ve all been there and understand the difficulties with it and are all eager to help out.”