The Righteous Gitis

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Outside magazine, July 1999

The Righteous Gitis

The Diving Dig | The Cartwheel | The Figure Four | Take the Stairs |
The Crossover Dribble | The Righteous Gitis | The Rock-a-Copter | Hang Ten | The Twisting Somersault | The Wheelie

Some might argue that tossing around the word “sport” in connection with Frisbee is being way too liberal. But few of these hard cases could eke out even one of the contortions at the disposal of Bill Wright, 41, seven-time freestyle world champ. His
favorite is the gitis (GUY-tis). The catch evolved from another move called “the flamingo,” which made the Frisbee snagger resemble one of those south-Florida lawn ornaments. Then, at a later stage in the development of the sport’s peculiar etymology (formed in a crucible of Aquarian grooviness), the term became “the flamingitis.” Then, of course, simply “the gitis.”
In any language, though, pulling it off requires you to be “about as twisted as most normal people can get without being double-jointed,” says Wright, who lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.

You’ll need maybe half a football field and a partner who can consistently place the disc in the zone between your knees and chest. Timing is everything. Running perpendicular to the thrower at a good clip, have the Frisbee flung at you, and then—jump! Essentially, you want to hurdle the disc: Leading with your far-side leg, leap and reach the opposite arm
around the outside of that leg to make the snag underneath it. As soon as you’ve made the catch you’ll tumble to the turf. Arrive too early or late, and you’ll tumble empty-handed. Form and sheer lift count for everything. “The higher you can get that leg,” says Wright, “the cooler it looks.”


For the uninitiated, the move is an invitation to any number of muscle pulls. To avoid them, thoroughly stretch your quadriceps and, even more important, your hamstrings. “Freestylers hear about ‘gitis butt’ all the time,” says Wright.

PHOTO: William Sallaz

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