Andy Patten, an EMI engineer at Milwaukee-based Astronautics Corp. of America, has been playing Ultimate (sometimes called Ultimate Frisbee) for almost 12 years. Despite a busy work and family life, he still makes time to play two to three times a week and to play in a few weekend tournaments, sometimes traveling across the country.
According to Patten, the sport of Ultimate is growing in popularity, especially in the Midwest, but also all over the world. Ultimate has been a full-medal sport at the World Games since 2001, and Patten hopes to see the sport in the Summer Olympics in the future.
"It can be difficult, but the best way to describe it, for someone who hasn't played is a high-intensity, fast-paced sport that uses rules similar to football and basketball," Patten said.
Teams of seven players work to get a flying disc into the end zone, similar to football, to score points. Players must establish a pivot foot, similar to basketball, and cannot simply run with the disc, Patten said. The first team to 13 points wins.
Patten formed his own club team, Danger Zone, in the Milwaukee area and has also run one of the leagues in the area. He plays competitively two to three times a week year-round and travels to play in tournaments during the summer and the fall.
Most games last approximately 90 minutes.
"It's something I definitely plan to keep doing as long as I'm able to do so," he said. "It's really the community of players for me. I really enjoy spending time with these people and organizing events that will help build the community up. It's exciting to see the enthusiasm build around the sport, especially in our area."