Remember the lazy, leisurely game of frisbee you played on a picnic as a child, all those years ago? Want to get back to it; wait for it, as a sport? Here’s your chance, Mumbai Ultimate is a community brewing a storm in the city with this sport.
“Most people were associated with a sport during their school or college days; and then as they say – work happened. Many now want to get back to being fit and are looking out for a new sport with a combination of athletics, fun and agility. That’s exactly what ultimate Frisbee is.” Says Samarth Shetty, entrepreneur and Andheri resident.
Sanil Nair while working on research projects about sports and fitness came across the sport. He discovered how popular it had become in Chennai. That’s when he got in touch with players there and gradually set it up in Bombay four years ago. It started picking up and the community has grown since then. So much so that now there are expats who used to play the sport in their country and eagerly join them after coming across the Mumbai Ultimate presence online through their social media channels. He has now shifted to Kerala but Craig Fonseca, Samarth Shetty among others are working towards making this community grow.
Subashini Vishveshwaran, travel consultant and volunteer with Mumbai Ultimate says, “It is a mix of three different sports, you play on a football field, like basket ball you don’t move if you have the disk in your hand; and like rugby it is a score only if you throw and your team mate catches it, so it is a fun mix of three different sports.”
Amit Sridharan, is a marathoner and has a new found interest in Ultimate. Amit says, “My wife and I started playing the sport together. We are a lot into active sports; we run marathons and go biking as well. But beyond a point doing the same thing again and again can get boring so we took to playing ultimate Frisbee because of its combination of intensity and fun. It is an equal opportunity team sport with seven players and is a non contact sport unlike football. So men and women can play together. But it also has elements of basketball, American football and there is a high amount of cardio that goes into the game. It is a great feeling to see the Frisbee fly!”
When asked about the kind of people taking to the sport Vishveshwaran says, “We have a mixed bunch of people from the business, service background but the only common thread between them is each one of them has pursued some kind of sport of the other. We are trying to get school and college students to be a part of this sport. We had a showcase game at Mithibhai college and Oberoi International School We also hosted a tournament last year called Gheun Taak, that was a huge success.”
And if you want to take up the sport at a competitive level, the Mumbai team Storm Chasers gearing up for that too. Maksood Choudhary, will be going for the under 23 selections taking place in Ahmadabad in March. He shares, “I used to train with my coach on the beach and watch Storm Chasers play every day. Then one day my coach did not come in and the guys from Storm Chasers invited me to come and play and I was hooked. I study at Bandra Chetna College, and play football for my college too but I love this sport and have been playing now since the past 2 and a half years.”
When asked why Frisbee and why not football or cricket, Choudhary said, “This sport is quite different from other sports and has a unique pleasure to it. You need to have more stamina than in football, I enjoy the layouts also known as dives we need t practice in order to get the Frisbee back from the opposing team while playing competitively. It is much more fun.”
Thursday and Sunday mornings in the suburbs are all about intense practice for the upcoming selections and a Mumbai specific tournament in April. Pickup games for beginners and people who want to try it out for fun takes place on Saturday mornings at Chowpatty. Everyone is invited and can participate for fun.
“We find it so difficult to find a single hard ground to practice. We only have the beach. Everywhere we look to find out they say the ground has a commitment for cricket. We are trying to get them to change the perspective, we started connecting with running groups and they caught on as they immediately saw the cardio connection. It is only when people come and play do they realise that it is not just a random act of throwing the Frisbee and running for it. It is a proper sport. Once you get hooked on to it then there is no looking back.” says Vineeta Shivramkrishnan, and team member of Storm Chasers.
Amit’s wife Shwetha shares, “This is the first time I have participated in a team sport and interacting with a new set of people each time while having a great workout; that’s what I enjoy the most. Besides we played Frisbee as children, so it is like bringing our childhood back.”
This just goes to show that there is so much to the sporting world in India than cricket alone and if more mediums propagate it; more people will know about the variety of options in active sports. Indians are keen to pick up a sport and be outdoorsy more than ever before. Cheers to a sporty, more outdoorsy India!