WHAM-O: Hoboken Ultimate Frisbee Takes a Spin on the Waterfront

WHAM-O: Hoboken Ultimate Frisbee Takes a Spin on the Waterfront

Float like a butterfly, sting like a ‘bee…

Hoboken Ultimate Frisbee has Sinatra Park buzzing on Tuesday & Thursday mornings, with games starting at 7:15 a.m.

We had a chance to chat with Ultimate Frisbeekeeper Richard Kurland, who explained the sport, it’s draw, and the joy of playing in for Hoboken Ultimate Frisbee.

hMAG: Explain ultimate frisbee to the uninitiated.
Richard Kurland: In Ultimate Frisbee, the disc is passed between teammates until a goal is scored. Like soccer, play is continuous. The disc can only be moved by passing it. Yardage cannot be gained by running with the disc. If a pass is incomplete for any reason, the opposing team gets to pass. Simple. It’s a great workout. There are strict rules against any contact between players to keep us as safe as possible. And fouls, scores, out of bounds, etc. are self called and not contested, harking to the origins of the sport where positive spirit of the game is paramount.
h: Why is there such a passion for it?

RK: When was the last time you scored a touchdown, or a basket, or a home run? It might have been a number of years. Do you remember the joy you felt? Imagine running towards the end zone as the sun rises between the skyscrapers in NYC as the disc floats just ahead and you have your defender beat by two steps. Making that catch is joyful. You feel like every football player victory dancing after a touchdown or every soccer player running up to teammates after a gooooooaaaaaaal! We may be adults, but Ultimate brings out the kid in all of us. If you can run, you can play. Catching is easy and throwing is very learnable.

h: How big is your group, and are you looking for more players?

RK: We have about 50 people receiving live GroupMe texts which is our primary means of communicating. By Monday and Wednesday evening, players commit to the next morning’s games. As long as we have 6 people for 3 on 3, the game is a go. We often play with 5 on 5 and 6 on 6. The goal, of course, is to have a full team of 7 on 7 with subs. As we have exclusive use of a full sized soccer field, the more, the merrier. While I also have a Facebook page – Hoboken Ultimate Frisbee – live communication for setting up games and canceling due to rain is via GroupMe. New members can FB messenger me or show up one morning to play or just observe and exchange contact information then.

We are always looking for new members as people’s schedules change over time. As you can imagine, playing weekday early mornings attracts a small subset of the community.

I also set up a page on PickupUltimate.com. Enter your city and find games anywhere in the world. I’m hopeful more people will be able to find out about our games above and beyond flyers I post around town. I recently traveled to San Jose, California for a few days and was able to find a weekday lunchtime game in Cupertino. This group has been playing since 1984. We had 7×7 plus subs and played for two hours.

h: What do potential players need to kick off their ultimate frisbee career?

We are free, coed and inclusive of all ages and abilities. New players need only to show up with enthusiasm and willingness to learn a few basic rules and expect to have more fun than you thought you would exercising. Wear athletic tops and bottoms. Some wear cleats for artificial turf while many just wear sneakers. Only clothing requirement is bring one WHITE top and one BLACK top for teams. No gray moods and no gray colors.

h: Is there anything about playing in Hoboken that makes it special?
Location, location, location. As we play on Sinatra Field, the New York City skyline is always a fantastic backdrop. Depending on the time of year, we get to see the sunrise through the buildings. Games start at 7:15AM. The field is centrally located in town and playing so early means there is plenty of parking along Frank Sinatra Drive. Many people come from Jersey City, Weehawken and Union City. Playing early also means more Lime scooters may still be available in your neighborhood. The bathrooms next to the field are open.
Authored by: hMAG