Imagine a game of Frisbee and thoughts of tossing a disc with your friends
on a carefree sunny day come to mind. For most, it's a casual game of
toss and catch. But for Frisbee experts, it can be an extreme sport, demanding
skill and agility.
Whether you're playing Frisbee competitively, with a group of friends
or just with your dog, the one thing that small plastic disc is sure to spin
your way is fun.
That miniature flying saucer that brings pleasure to many is known as a
disc or a flying disc. The term "Frisbee" is a trademark of Wham-O Inc., the
popular toy and sporting goods company.
The history of the flying disc takes as many spins as the disc itself.
Its origins range from Roman soldiers using their shields as Frisbees to Yale
students tossing pie tins around.
Walter "Fred" Morrison is praised as the inventor of the modern-day disc.
He was the first person to create the plastic disc as a substitute for a ball
in a game of catch. Wham-O introduced the Frisbee brand of flying discs in
According to Arthur Coddington, a Wham-O marketer in San Francisco, more
than 100 million Frisbee discs have been sold since the product was first
introduced. "I have read an estimate that more flying discs are sold each
year than baseballs, basketballs and footballs combined," he says.
Flying disc sports are definitely gaining in popularity. "There is something
for everyone," says Coddington, "from family activities like golf or canine
play to team sports like ultimate to more extreme activities like freestyle
Frisbee is a form of recreation that can be played anywhere with any number
of people of any age. Although scenes of playing at the beach or the park
are common, this portable sport can also be played indoors. High ceilings,
especially for beginners, are helpful.
There are many uses for the Frisbee or flying disc. In addition to the
regular toss and catch, games include ultimate, guts, double disc court, freestyle,
disc golf, discathon, Frisbee bowling, Frisbee basketball and field events.
You can even get man's best friend involved in canine competitions.
Gary Auerbach, who has won the Frisbee world freestyle championships, works
as a full-time Frisbee entertainer, performing at school assemblies, summer
camp clinics, picnics, parties, parades and more.
"It's a full-time job promoting...and educating possible clients,"
he says, "but what could be a better job than teaching people to laugh, learn
It's difficult to make a living at playing Frisbee. "There's
no sponsored players, no shoe contracts, no million-dollar purses," adds Auerbach.
Most organizations are run on a voluntary basis, although there are many
businesses that sell Frisbees and other supplies such as active wear and disc
Costs are minimal. At least one disc is required for any number of players.
The better discs can range from $10 to $25. As far as equipment goes, running
shoes will do but the more experienced players wear cleats to give them better
Experts suggest you invest in a good disc. "The most frustrating thing
for beginners is that many have never played with a good quality Frisbee,"
"This means they [see] their throws go astray because of poor design, and
don't want to try again."
It's a very accessible sport, says Julie Smith-Drury. An ultimate
player, she says the game of ultimate Frisbee was first played in a parking
"All you really need is a field or open space with fairly even ground that
is marked off with cones." Sandals, shoes and T-shirts have been known to
double as markers in a pinch.
Although being physically fit can help your game, "anyone can play as long
as they can move themselves about the field and throw a disc," says Dianna
Ducs. "The sport is [as] mental as it is physical."
Top levels of fitness, however, are required at the competitive levels.
If you're fit, you'll probably be less prone to injuries as well.
Ducs adds that many of the professional players are ex-rugby, soccer or hockey
Auerbach taught Frisbee to athletes from the Special Olympics in 1997.
He says the sport can be adapted to suit the physically challenged.
To find out more about this activity, contact your local Frisbee or disc
club or your school's physical education department. If your teacher
is not familiar with the activity, a member from one of the clubs may come
out to do a demonstration. Seminars and clinics are also offered.
Experts agree, however, that the best way to learn to play Frisbee is to
just get out and do it. Grab some friends, pick up a disc, start tossing it
around and, most importantly, have fun doing it.
World Flying Disc Federation
Online information and links for flying disc and Frisbee sports
Ultimate Players Association
Information about competitions in the United States
Guts Frisbee Home Page
The Freestyle Frisbee Page
Statistics and links
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