This weekend the Nelson Ultimate Frisbee Association will be hosting their first tournament in eight years.
Disc Break 2012 will have ten teams competing from as far away as Victoria, and will bring more than 150 people to Nelson.
Ultimate frisbee was invented by a group of high school students back in 1968.
Once they went off to universities and started spreading it there, ultimate really took off, and now it’s mostly played at universities.
Ultimate frisbee is played in more than 40 countries, and is currently one of the fastest growing sports in the world.
“What sets ultimate apart from other sports is the spirit of the game, which is the commitment that players play to the best of their ability with respect to their opponents,” said Amy Rees, a player and organizer in the Nelson Ultimate Frisbee Association. “It’s also self-refereed, so there are no officials on the field looking for fouls. It’s up to the players themselves.”
Ultimate in Nelson has been around for about 15 years, and has been constantly changing.
“It kind of ebbs and flows depending on who’s in town,” she said.
“There has been a league in the past with about four teams, but in the past few years it’s just been pick up players. The same core people — about 20 — coming out to play.”
Rees said a lot of new recruits have been new members of the community who are passionate about the game, have good organization skills and time to commit to the sport.
“That’s how we got the tournament going, and we are starting a league, and touring to other places,” she said.
The tournament highlights the recent rise in popularity of ultimate, especially in the local area.
Nelson’s local teams consist of two age groups: The Killbillies are the older players, and Homegrown are the new generation of ultimate players.
“Nelson is a pretty good team,” said Rees.
“We have been practicing together, but with all the weather events that happened we weren’t able to practice at Lakeside fields for a couple of weeks.”
Because of cancellations it’s been tough to get players together, which could give the competition an advantage.
“Some of the Vancouver and Calgary teams are pretty darn good, so I think we would be lucky if we got into the finals,” she said.
Rees hopes they will be able to expand the tournament in coming years, potentially hosting 15 teams instead of 10.
She would also like to have more availability for youth to get involved, maybe even starting a regional team for Grades 10 to 12.
“We love for new people to come out,” said Rees.
“We are always looking for new people, and we have lots of people who would be happy to teach the rules of the game.”
Anyone can come out and play at Sunday pick-up games from 4 to 6 p.m. or from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays.
Rees said for players who already know a bit about the sport but would like to learn more, practices on Thursdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. are great to do “some skills and drills.”
The tournament starts tomorrow morning at 9. Everyone is welcome to watch.