Fourteen people. Two teams. Two scoring zones. One flying disc. No referee. Plenty of fun. That's Ultimate Frisbee -- the new sport that's got adrenaline junkies addicted.
Ultimate Frisbee incorporates aspects of basketball, soccer and rugby to form a no-contact sport where seven players in two opposing teams score points by passing the frisbee to a teammate in the opponents' end zone. Though only 50 years old, Ultimate has rapidly acquired new fans and the fast growing sport is now played in over 50 countries and registered 4.9 million players in 2008.
While frisbee fever may not have quite caught on in the land of the IPL, there is a growing interest in the game, with cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Pune having dedicated Ultimate teams which participate in interstate tournaments.
The Storm Chasers of Mumbai is one such team and 25-year-old Sanal Nair is an Ultimate addict. Nair, who works with a sports concept firm, came across Ultimate Frisbee while researching for exciting new sports to promote.
"Of course, I had to start playing it to understand it," says Nair, who within seven months mastered the game and now represents Mumbai in interstate tournaments. "We began playing as a bunch of six friends. Now, we have a core team of 20 players," he says.
Mahesh Vee, a 28-year-old independent consultant in Delhi, got hooked on to Ultimate during his college years in the US. Two years ago, he returned to India to find a bunch of expatriates playing the sport in Delhi's parks. For him, Ultimate is the best way to meet people and chill out for a drink after a few turbo-charged hours of Frisbee. "The great thing about Ultimate is that being a no-contact sport it makes for a great co-ed game," he says.
Which is why 22-year-old Krupali Raiyani, who claims to have never played a sport in her life, is one of the eight women in Mumbai who get up at an unearthly hour thrice a week to fling a frisbee. "I didn't think you get to have so much fun as an adult!" she exclaims "Plus, it's really good exercise," adds Raiyani, who is usually confined to her desk at an advertising agency.
Most Ultimate players agree that the sport requires more fitness, skill and stamina than soccer and cricket. Says Nair: "We do warm up exercises for 30 minutes. Once the disc is in play, teams can't stop the game. You have to keep sprinting over the field to catch the disc in motion." Which is why this no-age bar, no-gender bar sport attracts a variety of people who love the combination of energy, excitement and exercise.
The Bangalore team, Disco Deewane, was formed by a group of rock climbers who wanted to keep fit whereas the Delhi team has an assortment of school kids, social workers, teachers, and expats from Britain and Ireland. The Chennai club has Ultimate players between the ages of 16 to 45 years while the Mumbai team comprises a majority of young professionals. Nair also commends the spirit of the game. "Despite being a competitive sport, it is self-refereed. The players themselves have to call their fouls," he explains.
If you want to join in a game, just go to Nehru Park in Delhi at 5 pm on any Saturday, or to Manish Nagar Grounds at Four Bungalows in Mumbai at 7 am on a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. Your best bet, of course, is to just get together with some friends.
In the summer of 1968, Joel Silver, a student at Columbia High school, along with members of the Student Council and staff, adapted the rules of Frisbee football, to invent the fast-paced game that Silver described as "the ultimate game experience." He formed the first Ultimate collegiate club in 1970.
In Ten Simple Rules
A rectangular shape with two endzones. A regulation field is 70 yards by 40 yards, with endzones 25 yards deep.
Each point begins with both teams lining up on the front of their respective endzone line. The defence throws ('pulls') the disc to the offence.
Each time the offence completes a pass in the defence's endzone, they score a point. Play is initiated after each score.
Movement of the Disc
The disc may be advanced in any direction by completing a pass to a teammate. Players may not run with the disc. The person with the disc ('thrower') has 10 seconds to throw the disc.
Change of possession
When a pass is not completed (eg out of bounds, drop, block, interception), the defense takes possession of the disc and becomes the offence.
Players not in the game may replace players in the game after a score and during an injury timeout.
No physical contact is allowed between players; contact amounts to a foul. Picks and screens are prohibited.
When a foul disrupts possession, play resumes as if possession was retained. If the player committing the foul disagrees with the call, play is redone.
Players are responsible for their own foul and line calls.
Spirit of the Game
Ultimate stresses sportsmanship and fair play. Competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of respect between players, adherence to the rules, and the basic joy of play.
Ultimate Players Association
It's a co-ed sport, everybody can play
Wondering what's in it for you?
Ultimate Frisbee demands aerobic fitness along with explosive strength to leap up and trap that hurtling disc. It's a great workout and it's fun. Further, it's a sport that can be played by people of varying skill levels and across ages, making it a good family outing.
How do you start?
Collect a bunch of friends and head to a park. Do carry a copy of the rules on the top right corner of this page.
Nail that Sprain
Everybody's had an ankle sprain, but few of us know the right way to treat it. Do you give it a hot compress or ice it? Should you rest it, or stop being a namby-pamby and walk?
If not treated right, the weakened ligaments can lead to chronic instability and a litany of sprained ankles.
So here's what you need to know.
The most common sort of ankle sprain is caused by an inversion injury, when the foot rolls in and strains the ligaments on the outside of the ankle, causing tears in the lateral ligament complex.
Because ligaments have blood supply running through them, if they're torn, they release blood into surrounding tissues causing swelling and bruising. The degree of swelling is indicative of the degree of injury.
Upto 48 hours
The aim of the treatment is to decrease the swelling. For this, use the R.I.C.E formula of Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
The proper way to ice:
Don't apply ice directly to the injury; keep a thin layer, like a handkerchief. Move the ice, not letting it sit in one spot.
Keep the foot elevated while icing -- this will help reduce swelling.
John Gloster, former physio for the Indian cricket team, recommends 15-20 minutes of icing every 1-2 hours.
Ways to ice:
Use a bag full of ice cubes or crushed ice. A packet of frozen peas or corn is reusable and works well. Gloster recommends immersing the foot in a tub of ice and water, so the entire affected area is encompassed. When you're not icing the area, keep it compressed. Use a tubigrip stocking or compression bandage.
After 72 hours
To promote healing and repair of the area, you can introduce a combination of hot and