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Throwback Thursday: ultimate’s origins

Forty years ago, in our February 1976 issue, John Tierney ’76 enlightened our readers on the rise of ultimate frisbee at Yale, reporting on players’ concerns about a “creeping professionalism that threatens to turn the sport into just another cutthroat ball game.”

Dave Leiwant ’77, who was one of the sport’s inventors as a teenager in New Jersey, told Tierney about how a hyper-disciplined Rutgers team had come to Yale and “bummed everybody out.”

“Those guys have dreams of turning frisbee into another football, with pro teams and big college games and all that.” Leiwant said. “I have nothing but contempt for that kind of thinking. I’d like to see ultimate remain an alternative sport.”

Happily, the influence of Big Frisbee was resisted, and while ultimate is still being played at Yale, it is decidedly alternative: the men’s team is called Süperfly, the women’s team Ramona.

Filed under ultimate frisbee, ultimate, Throwback Thursday
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