If you’ve never watched a serious game of ultimate before, I’ve found a good first one for you to try.
I’ve become a sports fan in mid-life. I’ve watched a lot of professional ultimate in the last couple years, soaking up every featured game produced by both of the two new pro leagues, Major League Ultimate (MLU, rolls off the tongue) and the awkward-acronym league, the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL, ugh). After fifteen years of playing ultimate, all I needed to become a huge fan of the sport was something to watch. Until not very long ago, the best you could get was highlight reels from tournaments, or half-assed amateur video of games with one sideline camera and no commentary. Things are improving fast. After consuming all the MLU and AUDL I could,1 I discovered that there’s now also decent video of tournaments…
On the weekend, I watched this amazing game, the 2014 Canada and USA match up in the finals of World Junior Ultimate Championships, played up in the mountains in Lecco, Italy: the videography and the ultimate are as good or better than what the pro leagues are doing. These young players are freakishly good, a new breed, advancing the sport and playing it better than I’ve ever seen — in some wind that would wreck most teams, but just bumps their error rate up enough to make things a little more interesting.
This used to be me. (And it still is, if there’s not a disc involved.)
I like both leagues for different reasons, but I’m sad to say the MLU championship was a disappointment, particularly the video quality. The AUDL seemed much more polished, and both of the semi-finals games were terrific: this one and this one. (The actual final was something of a let down.) ↩