By Carleen Surrena @SURRENA_C
If you’re looking to play a sport that will get you in shape, or an extra class that satisfies a credit you need, Ultimate Frisbee may be the sport for you.
Monday evenings at 6 p.m. the class demonstrates the foundation of how Ultimate Frisbee is played. Longtime coach and advisor to the Ultimate Frisbee team at Las Positas, Kerry Karter, teaches the class. Wednesday evenings the team practices at 7 p.m.
“It’s a combination of basketball, football and soccer, “ Karter said. “It moves like soccer due to the disc allowed to go forward or backward, and like basketball where when you catch the Frisbee you can’t take more than two steps, you must use a pivot foot and have roughly ten seconds to pass the Frisbee to someone else.”
Karter also addresses the physicality of the sport and notes that one could easily run a half marathon in a day when it comes to Ultimate Frisbee tournament play. He has had several surgeries as a result of Ultimate Frisbee play but continues to compete at a high level in his age group.
Ultimate Frisbee has been around on the Las Positas campus since the spring of 1978. Pat Pohl former professor at Las Positas was the first coach to lead the first Ultimate Frisbee team. Since the sports department had no official budget at the time, they decided whatever cost the least and needed the least was what they decided to roll with.
What was known as Chabot Valley Campus at the time took on a little known sport in Ultimate Frisbee and used whatever props were available (shoes, sweat jackets) to mark where the goal lines would be for a team to make a score.
Whether Karter was a student, teaching, coaching or heading the intermural sports, he has been a part of Las Positas since 1981. He smiles as he reflects upon the time he first came upon Ultimate Frisbee and notes that when his PE teacher told him he was failing class, (which was not the case) the only way to pass was to come out and play Ultimate.
“ It’s a non-contact sport like basketball but when that Frisbee is floating in the air and you have eight people jumping up at the same time to grab that Frisbee it’s a constant running, cutting, moving, high endurance sport,” Karter said.
Karter coached from 2000-2010 before turning the reigns over to Matt West who played for Karter from 2001-2006.
West played in high school and chose to come to Las Positas College since it was the only community college in the area that offered Ultimate Frisbee.
“ We welcome anyone to come out on a Wednesday nights or students can sign up for Kerry’s Monday night class,” West said. “It’s not a sport you grow up playing usually and in college you’re going to do most of your learning for ultimate during that time. You practice regularly with a coach and work on individual skills. “
Marcelo Sanchez former LPC player and current LPC part time counselor can vouch for that as he was recruited by West to come play for the college in 2009.
Sanchez appreciates the spirit of the game the most.
“ Everyone knows the rules and makes their own calls but doesn’t take advantage of them.”
There are over 700 registered college teams in the country and different levels for players interested in playing Ultimate Frisbee. There are club teams, college level open play, co-ed leagues, masters, grandmasters and great grandmasters. At the open level, anyone can play, masters you must be 33, grandmasters 40, and great grandmasters’ is 50 years old.
Each level has tournaments all over the world at some level of play. Karter estimates six to ten previous players on the Las Positas Ultimate Frisbee team have gone on to play professional Ultimate Frisbee on either the San Jose Spiders or the San Francisco Flame Throwers.
The Las Positas College Ultimate Frisbee team was National Champions in 1987 and Karter jokingly points out saying,
“There is a trophy case that has a picture of my young face in it, way back when.”