Yes, professional ultimate exists. And yes, it's pretty fun to watch.
In the video above, a highlight reel of the American Ultimate Disc League's 2014 season, players are seen making acrobatic layouts, jumping catches, and 70-yard throws.
Ultimate frisbee is played on football-like field, but the end zones are 25 yards long instead of 10. You can't run with the Frisbee so you have to advance it by passing to your teammates in less than the seven seconds you are allowed to hold the frisbee.
That makes for a pretty high speed game, with a back-and-forth pace similar to basketball. Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of Ultimate is the Frisbee itself, which has a few amazing dynamics that ball sports don't have:
1) It floats, creating a lot of "jump balls" that make for exciting plays.
2) The wind is a huge factor. In the right wind, you can throw up to 100 yards. In the wrong wind, it's tough to throw over 40.
3) It can leave the field of play and then come back if a player throws it with the right curve and velocity.
Even though you may have not seen it, Ultimate is quite popular across the globe. As reported by the USAU, the governing body of the sport in the United States:
Ultimate is played in more than 80 countries by an estimated 7 million of men and women, girls and boys. The international governing body, WFDF, represents 59 member associations in 56 countries.
Currently, there two competing professional Ultimate leagues: the MLU (Major League Ultimate) and the AUDL. Both feature teams from all over the United States and the AUDL has four Canadian franchises.
Its widespread popularity makes a lot of sense: At the pace these players play at, and the intensity of their games, who wouldn't want check it out?
Take a look at the video above and let us know what you think.
The author of this piece has played in both the MLU and the AUDL.