Joshua de Bell, 26, has recently relocated to Mildura from Melbourne and when he’s not busy working, he loves nothing more than to keep his skill levels up in the game that not everyone will have heard of − Ultimate Frisbee.
Ultimate Frisbee is a team sport which is played all around the world, particularly in the USA, where it had its origin in 1968, when a student named Joel Silver, introduced his idea of Ultimate Frisbee to the Columbia High School student council in Maplewood New Jersey, USA. The next year, the first game was played between two groups of students. They used a ‘Wham-O Master’ disc.
In 1969 a team had been formed at the school and they played in a parking lot.
The first organised tournament was played on April 25th in 1975. Eight teams took part in a tournament at Yale University. In the same year Ultimate Frisbee was introduced into the World Frisbee Championships.
The ‘Weekly caught up with Joshua when he was practicing his skills down at Sarah Oval.
“I like to keep my hand in and obviously the better you throw, the finer the target you can hit, the more you can creatively move the disc,” Joshua said.
“People often come over from Aussie Rules and netball and they have the good sporting skills and the fine motor technical skills.
“The sport is played seven on seven, on rectangular field, with ‘end zones’ at each end of the field. The aim of the game is to catch a disc in the end zone and that’s how you score a point. The game ends when the first team gets to 15 points.
“You usually have about 20 players in a team and you can rotate players on and off the field during the course of the game.” Joshua said he describes Ultimate Frisbee as a mixture between Australian Rules Football, netball and American football.
“It’s like American football because the way you score is by someone catching it in the end zone,” he said.
“It’s like AFL because there are positions, but you aren’t constrained in where you can go you can go anywhere on the field. It’s quite a flowing game, and you lead and kind of mark it I guess, but not in a contested situation. And it’s like netball, in that, everytime you catch the disc, you can’t move with it, but your team mate can move and so you have to move the disc up the field and have someone catch it in the end zone.”
Joshua said the game is quite fast moving and when a player has possession of the disc, they only have 10 seconds to release it.
“That’s determined by someone who is marking you and they count to 10,” he said.
“The sport is actually self-umpired. When disposing of the disc you have to do that without it touching the ground or getting intercepted by an opponent and so it’s quite a fast paced moving game.”
Joshua said that the sport is played in regional areas, but not in Mildura at the moment, although there was a club here a few years ago.
“There was a club in Mildura – Sunraysia Ultimate Frisbee Club – which was last active in 2018 and there are still a few people who throw the frisbee around and I have been throwing with a local,” he said.
“I’ve played tournaments in Horsham, there are teams in Warrnambol, Ballarat, Geelong, Shepparton and Wodonga and I play down in Traralgon and Morwell in Gippsland.”
Joshua is originally from the United Kingdom and had been living in Melbourne since 2005.
“I was born in England and my mother is from New Zealand and I lived in Singapore for a time before coming to Australia just over 15 years ago ,” he said.
“I moved to Mildura from Melbourne when my wife took on a role as an audiologist and I work for the State Government in Regional Development in the Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions and they allowed me to transfer my office up here and I work from home, online with my team and we were working in a remote environment during COVID.”
Joshua said that there is quite a bit of frisbee around and it’s catching on, but it’s pretty much based in Melbourne, where most people pick it up at university level.
“It’s a great mixed sport and you even have parents playing with their kids and so it’s a lot of fun,” he said.
“The great thing about the game, is that it can be played by everyone all ages and genders, and it’s played in men’s, women’s and mixed teams.
“It’s self-refereed and is virtually a non-contact sport − in the same way that basketball is – so there is a little bit of jossling, but no heavy contact – it’s good social fun for all people.
”If people in Mildura are keen to have a go, I’m keen to get a team together.”
Anyone interested in teaming up with Joshua can give him a call on 0416 639 079 or email: Joshua.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ultimate Frisbee rules
1. Each team has an end zone.
2. The goal of the game is to catch the disc (frisbee) in the other team’s end zone to score a point.
3. The game ends when the first team gets to 15 points.
4. Once a player catches the disc, they are not able to move with the disc.
5. They must keep one foot on the ground as a pivot point.