and Health: The Ultimate Connection”
Playing the Ultimate Game
Any regular reader of George's Fitness Journal knows that my primary source of cardio consists of my morning basketball games that take place early in the morning at the school where I am a Civics teacher. But during this past summer, the Ultimate Frisbee games have become a staple of my weekend physical activities. The transition into the game after 30-odd years since I played at college was a rigorous one because, in part, the game itself has experienced a regularization and formalization of rules and techniques that did not exist when we played on the quad at undergrad school back in the late '70s and early '80s. (Apparently neither my undergraduate school nor my graduate school have Ultimate teams as yet). These changes are for the better since they give the game a professional look and feel. Indeed, colleges have their own Ultimate Frisbee teams, and you can find Ultimate Frisbee highlight reels on Youtube. Watching these is highly instructive to anyone new to the game, and the highlights show the level of athleticism and physicality that these college players demonstrate as they play the game with as much enthusiasm as their basketball and football counterparts do.
Need to know how to play Ultimate? Here's a
Youtube tutorial that outlines the basics.
Wikipedia also has a very complete tutorial on many aspects of the game.
When I joined the Frederick Frisbee players earlier this summer, I experienced the same kind of insecurity and inferiority that I felt when starting with the basketball players. It did not take me long to learn the fundamentals of the game since I had previous experience many years ago. But my advanced age and weight were two apparent handicaps that put me at the bottom of the pick-up roster. When you are in your early fifties, you're just not going to run as fast as someone in their twenties, and I had to accept that fact. But as I realized in basketball: make up for your physical shortcomings with intelligence and hustle. Playing smart and playing hard will sometimes, though not all the time, pay off in a possession change or a score. That's what I keep in mind as I run the field. As time went on and I added more games to my record, I was able to achieve greater successes: scores in the end zone, assists to runners going into the end zone to score, increased defensive plays were the defender brings about a turnover by knowing down a pass or by intercepting a pass, and by experiencing fewer dropped passes.
The Fitness-Health Connection
There is clear evidence that people who are
physically fit are generally healthy people. Even though people who
are fit do experience health-related issues, staying fit contributes
to good heart health, keeps your brain from falling into dementia,
prevents weight-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, and
contributes to emotional and mental wellness. Being involved in the
basketball and Ultimate Frisbee games have considerably contributed
to my fitness level, and in turn, to the quality of life I
experience from day to day. Having a group of
people with whom you can exercise also enhances social skills and
provides for camaraderie and companionship that a person might
otherwise not experience. Playing games such as basketball and
Ultimate Frisbee provide practical life-lessons because the games
themselves are allegories for the challenges we face in life on a
microcosmic scale. Staying fit and working out staves off
depression, in part because these activities produce endorphins, the
body's natural-high chemical, but also because the activities
themselves provide pleasant social and personal experiences for the
participant. The net result in physical improvement leads to
heightened appreciation for life, something from which we can all
Until next time, stay healthy!