Quick, think about a frisbee. Now think about American Football. Now combine the two. Lost you? That could be because you’ve either never played American Football, or the idea of frisbees usually accompanies the idea of beaches and bikinis. Either way, bringing the two together is a bit of a tough call for most South Africans.
Speaking of tough; you know what else is tougher than you think? Tzaneen Ultimate Frisbee, or “TUF” for short. It is the brain child of Wian Fourie, a local enthusiast who decided he would introduce this “new” sport to the locals, and has since gained a rather significant following.
But let’s get into more about how the sport is played and what it is all about. Ultimate frisbee is a non-contact, self-refereed team sport played with a flying disc or frisbee. The aim of the game is to have two teams of seven players compete on a playing field about the same length as a football field, but only narrower.
At each end of the playing field there is an end zone. Each team must defend their end zone and to score a goal, one of the team’s players must catch the disc in the opponent’s end zone. See where the football reference comes in? The player with the disc is called the thrower. The thrower may not run with the disc. Instead, the player moves the disc by passing it to team-mates in any direction.
The defensive team gets possession of the disc if an offensive team’s throw is not caught by a player of the same team. Then the defensive team becomes the offensive team and can try to score in the opposite end zone. Ultimate Frisbee relies upon the spirit of the game that places the responsibility for fair play on every player.
There are no referees. The players are solely responsible for following and enforcing the rules, even at World Championship level. Competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of respect between players, adherence to the rules, and the basic joy of play.
Now granted, most would think that the world of competitive frisbee is just another social gathering, and they would be mistaken. In fact, did you know that there was a regulatory body in South Africa for this sport? The South African Flying Disc Association (SAFDA) represents disc sports in South Africa.
According to the SAFDA representatives they are committed toward the developing of the sport in South Africa. The local club, TUF Guys, have selected a team of 15 participants who will compete in a national tournament set to take place in Soweto this weekend, the 22nd and 23rd of May.
They have an established social media following on Facebook which you can join and follow at TUF – Tzaneen Ultimate Frisbee.