Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tournament 9 - Observation 1 - Am I fine with "Flatball" stereotypes?

Last weekend I had the opportunity to participate in my second European tournament. This one was called Windmill Windup and was held in Amsterdam.

Sounds like an Ultimate stereotype to me. Marijuana, Ultimate, and Frisbee are common words that are associated with one another. Add dog to the mix and you pretty well can describe the sport to any person.

Pictured Above: A Local Dutch fan posing outside his shop during the Netherlands vs. France Euro 2008 game (photo courtesy of Richard Bartle-Tubbs).

I had a great time at the tournament, my team, Stack Magic a.k.a. Le Stack Magique, was a solid mix from various countries, and the Ultimate was good. This tournament was very well organized, and the parties were exceptional. All in all, for the price of the tournament, I would rate this tournament a 9 out of 10 (in the party tournament category), and I hope to return sometime in the future.

Back to the stereotype. Is it time to re brand Ultimate? We all try and call it Ultimate or Ultimate Disc, but the reality is unless the person you're talking to knows about the sport, they either ask if you're a fighter, or you need to mention the word Frisbee to them.

If we care about legitimizing the sport, then I think the name has got to go. Ever since watching "Above and Beyond", I've always favoured flatball. The name sounds peculiar, and I think that helps in making people associate the word with the sport.

Ultimate is like hockey. If hockey was an emerging sport, you would think to yourself, what the hell is hockey. At least hockey wasn't burdened with the Hockey Fighting Championships to confuse people even more. Nope, flatball could fit in well with baseball, volleyball, football, and basketball. People would know it's a sport because the word ball is in there. They could visualize a ball being flattened into something like a disc.

Over time, I've noticed that more people recognize Ultimate as the name of our sport, but we seem to be fighting an uphill battle. For the sake of marketing the sport we should probably have a global referendum for a new name. Why? Not only could we decide what's the best name for the sport, even if we stay with the name Ultimate, the publicity should at least save me from having to talk about dogs, frisbee, and marijuana every time I talk about Ultimate.



higy said...

I've always hated flatball. There's no ball. Why put one in?

Field disc. Now THAT could be a name.

But I agree, Ultimate has to go.

Brickers said...

I'm pleased you've raised this as I've always though Ulitmate was a pretty rubbish name for such a good sport. 'Ultimate' is almost as bad 'Frisbee' - both of which are probably holding the sport back through their conotations.
Not sure about flatball though. A referendum on the name would be a good way to solve the problem. How about 'Disc', nice and simple?

Ulti-lover said...

I never thought about it that way before... but you're right; so many people (non-players) I know instantly drop the ultimate and instead refer to it as 'extreme frisbee'.

How did you do at the tournie? did you beat Llleeds?

Jeters said...

Flatball is still my favourite.

At Windmill we finished 16th (top pickup squad), and Llleeds wasn't there.