Wednesday, December 06, 2006

No Hitting, but Tough - Part I

Ok Folks,

Let's lay the hammer down. The nice thing with this hammer is we, ultimate folk, only have to argue with one another. What am I talking about? I want to question is Ultimate the toughest sport.

Pictured Above: A footblock attempt by one of the Capitals against ? Photo taken by Shawn Chua.

First off, we have to deal with the hitting sports. There's no point in arguing if Ultimate is tougher than taking actual physical hits like fighting (boxing, UFC, martial arts) or sports with hitting and tackling (hockey, football, and rugby). Obviously, hard physical contact is an element of toughness, and Ultimate loses in this type of comparison.

Instead, let's look at three other aspects of what I might call toughness:
  1. Physical Strain - Challenge for the body (my definition)
  2. Physical Exertion - Challenge during the exertion (my definition)
  3. Psychological strain - The mind challenge of the sport (my definition)
Also, I think we need to put each sport into the same type of tournament setting. I'm not too interested in looking at the recreational comparison between sports.

So, each sport needs to be played for four 1.5 hour games and three 1.5 hour games over a weekend. We will assume there is breaks during each day between games.

Pictured Above: An air battle that appears to be clearly won with some huge ups. Photo taken by Shawn Chua at UPA finals.

Now, let's choose the candidate sports. I'll pick a sample set of mainly North American sports to argue with.
  • Hockey
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Squash
  • Badminton
  • Soccer
  • Mixed Martial Arts
  • Marathon Runner
Ok, those are the sports. How tough is Ultimate relative to these sports. I'll discuss my views on Friday, but what are your rankings?



Anonymous said...

I think professional weight lifting has us beat... by your gold standard of focus, physical exertion, and continuous action throughout the day. I have never done it but on tv it seems to win!

Anonymous said...

That's against Showdown, the Texas Women's team.

Jeters said...

And don't forget body destruction. Weight lifters are notorious for competing with partial muscle tears and risky weight cutting.

It is, however, a solely judged sport. That's a can of worms for the classic "is it a sport" question. However, MMA can also be judged, so my standards are not black and white.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, but no way. Ultimate is not that difficult of a game (one reason it is a great game for mass participation).

Sure, tournaments can be grueling, but other sports would be more so if you played 4 games in a day for 2-3 days. Just because Ultimate is organized in tournaments does not make it a difficult sport.

Basketball is much more physically taxing. Maybe basketball back when it was a truly no-contact sport was more similar.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think you need to consider not only the physical exertion, but the technical aspects as well. Based on the duration, exertion, strain and mechanics, I would say there are much tougher sports. Especially sports like nordic skiing or wrestling. One problem ultimate faces is the lack of intensity compared to other sports. The highest levels of ultimate just does not have the same raw athletic ability or training as in other, more established sports.