A Brief History of Ultimate Frisbee

How a barefoot sport laced up its cleats

Jul 2, 2008
Outside Magazine

Pie tins from William Russell Frisbie's Connecticut bakery entertain Yale undergrads after they've quelled their munchies.

Wham-O produces the Pluto Platter, then renames it the Frisbee and goes on to sell more than 100 million of the flying discs.

Joel Silver, 18, codifies the rules and forms the first team, "split between the better students and the half who smoked dope."

Princeton and Rutgers play the first intercollegiate game in the same place as the first college football game, 103 years earlier.

Kenny Dobyns makes "the Catch" at the world champion­ships. Suddenly, people realize that serious athletes play.

Silver produces The Matrix, saves Keanu Reeves's career, and spawns his second quasi-religious cult following.

There are four million U.S. players. UPA president Mike Payne thinks Ultimate can be "a peer with other second-tier sports."

Ultimate is bigger than lacrosse and rugby. The college championships, in May, are broadcast by CBS Sports for the first time.

Filed To: Culture

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web

Not Now

Open a World of Adventure

Our Dispatch email delivers the stories you can’t afford to miss.

Thank you!