Normally, the only time people want to see dirt and chaos is when they are behind the wheel of a dune buggy in the desert, front row seat at a monster truck rally or gathered around a mud wrestling pit. Western Washington University’s Ultimate program wants to change that.
Western’s two Ultimate teams, Dirt and Chaos, are committed to spread muddy hell through the Northwest with nothing but flying discs, teamwork and a good attitude.
Ultimate is an emerging sport that may be new to fans of more conventional sports.
“It incorporates a lot of elements from sports that people probably wouldn’t imagine,” sophomore Chaos player Rosemary Widenor said.
This season has seen Dirt and Chaos wind up in fifth and sixth place in the region, respectively. Though the teams didn’t make it to nationals, they did succeed in a few key games throughout the season.
During regionals in early May, Chaos beat last year’s national champion, the University of Washington. The victory came after the Vikings scored a hard-earned point, nearly 25 minutes in the making, sophomore Anna Nakae said.
Dirt beat the University of British Columbia in regionals and was happy to rub it in, after suffering two losses from UBC earlier this season, sophomore player Matt Russell said.
“We came back in the second half and beat them in a really close game,” Russell said
Earlier in the season, Chaos swept through California and stole first place from the other 21 teams in the Stanford Open. The team hasn’t won many tournaments so this victory was a big deal, Widenor said.
Though Chaos couldn’t make it to nationals, Widenor has hope for the future.
“We’re a strong team, and I think next year we’ll be stronger,” Widenor said.
Created in 1968 by a group of high school students, Ultimate is a unique blend of fundamental sports, including basketball, soccer and football, Russell said. The sport is now played in 42 countries by an estimated 7 million people, according to the USA Ultimate website.
Ultimate is similar to soccer because all the players are always running and moving, junior Robinson Low said. The only break in the action is when a disc is caught because the player holding it can’t move much, Low said.
“Unlike football or basketball, one player can’t hog the [disc] and take it all the way, Russell said.
The “Spirit of the Game” is the most unique element of Ultimate. This idea of sportsmanship allows for the players to decide fair play and handle the game, rather than referees.