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Posted by "Gash" on SMAK forum at

If you're anything like me, and I think you are, you probably get asked all the time about ultimate. Friends, relatives, co-workers, and strangers alike all act like they want to know, "What is ultimate frisbee"? And if you're like me you have answered this question many different ways. Certainly there is no way to accurately describe in words the level of sweating, bitching, running, theorizing, moaning, conversationalizing, and general effort-taking that goes into the game. However, lately I have taken a new approach to explaining to people just what ultimate is. I have decided that maybe if I tell them what goes into playing ultimate, maybe they will grasp the game just a little.

Aside from the few features of ultimate named above, and the other standard sideline inhalants and imbibings we all know about, I personally have tried a number of things specifically to improve ultimate execution that I have never tried for any other game. For example: I have tried multiple cleat patterns and configurations. I have worn baseball cleats, turf shoes, football cleats with both 1/2 and 3/4-inch crew-ins, running shoes, and I've even worn soccer cleats (despite my hatred of that game). When my feet hurt in whatever pair of cleats I happen to be trying at the time, I have been known to rub Vaseline on them (it reduces friction and lessens the chance of blisters). Sometimes I rub Ben-Gay right on my feet and other sore areas. I bought Cool-Blue stuff off the TV infomercial to ease foot and muscle discomfort. I've put padded heel cups in my cleats, I've cut out creative shapes of added moleskin and stuck them underneath the insoles, I've bought numerous sets of Spenco Polysorb replacement insoles (you know the ones Dan Patrick on ESPN pitches that come in the green and yellow box at Walgreen's and other footwear retail outlets? They're are guaranteed unconditionally for one year.). I've tried taping my ankles, worn lace up ankle braces (with and without the stiff plastic side support piece), elastic stretch ankle wraps, the ActiveAnkle, extra socks, no socks...

You think they're getting the picture yet?

Just in case they aren't, I tell them I've rubbed Arnica salve on my aching spots (an herbal remedy that actually works to some degree), I have a tube of extra strength Zostrix that I use (the tube warns that it might burn when wet or hot, and f.y.i.: you get both hot and wet when you play ultimate). I've rubbed Vicks Vap-O-Rub on my chest and nose for games, I've worn Breathe-Right strips on my nose. I've rubbed Vaseline under my arms and between my legs (it's a great de-creaser). I've eaten Arnica pills, Ginseng capsules, Multi-vitamins, the 12-a-day vitamin known as Vitamin I (ibuprofen, the active ingredient in Advil), Vicodin, Soma, T-III w/ codeine, and other prescription body aids. I like to have an assortment of beverages available to boost performance before, during, and after ultimate games: Gatorade (and all other Gatorade-like sports drinks), coffee, large amounts water (of course), a variety of flavors of Ensure, Slim-Fast shakes, and Bacchus-F (some of you might remember this drink as Bacchus-D, an energy drink with Nicotine). Natty Light anyone? I've eaten Power Bars, Gu, Power Gel, Slim-Fast meal replacement bars, Jenny Craig bars, Nature Valley Granola bars, and any other kind of food; you name it.

Is ultimate becoming clearer?

In addition, I like to keep a few Cling-Free dryer sheets on hand to rub down my inner thighs, chest, and back before games to make sure static cling doesn't distract or otherwise hinder. I've also worn sweat bands on my wrists and head (a la Derek Fisher of the World Champion L.A. Lakers), sunglasses, and receiver gloves like they wear in the scripted NFL. I've worn high-tech poly-blend shirts, shirts with the sleeves cut off, long-sleeve shirts with only the left arm sleeve cut off (gotta keep the gun warm yo), waterproof rain coats, dress shirts, sweater vests, I even wore a turtleneck with the sleeves cut off. I've tried wearing compression shorts, swim shorts with a mesh liner instead of underwear (one time I laid out wearing those and my junk dripped out and a local lady geeked me for an uncomfortable few seconds after. Sorry 'bout that), a jock-strap (or athletic supporter), tightie-whities, boxer shorts, boxer briefs, and I've also ridden bareback. I've tried some pretty random things too you know.

There was the time our whole team gathered around a CD player and listened to the Jesus Christ Superstar Broadway musical soundtrack before a critical game. Not to mention the number of times I have replayed "Rudy" or "Remember the Titans" as part of my pre-game psych-up. And I'm not even going to say what I tried after hearing that Michael Jordan abstains from sex the night before game days. I guess keeping your swimmers is supposed to enhance stamina or something. Works for Jordan if you know what I mean. Another thing that a lot of extreme athletes use to increase performance is #9 piano wire. They string it tightly around their testicle sack during races or games. I've heard that some tests have shown a dramatic increase in performance while having the circulation to your man-spheres cut off. I personally have not tried this one. But I do know one guy in SIDL who does this on a regular basis. He is Vern Guernsey (possibly not his real name). Judging from his speed and endurance, it seems to work for him, but I''m afraid to try it.

You see, it always reminds me of something that happened when I was growing up in Caldwell. My parents moved us from L.A. to Caldwell when I was little. My dad, being a lifelong city guy, decided he wanted to raise some beef and eat it. He bought a little calf and was told that it had to be made into a steer so we could enjoy its meat. So, one day my dad, my older brother, and I (with my sister watching), went out to our pasture to make the calf into a steer. This involved wrestling the calf down to the ground and holding it there. My brother and I sat on it while my dad worked its two balls down into the dangling ball sack. He then slipped a tight rubber band around the animal''s scrotum. (My sister later confessed that she used to chew on the Cheerio-sized green rubber castration bands. Yum.) The poor calf squealed and shot out a batch of mustard yellow, runny turd; it looked like Grey Poupon. From then on, our family likes to ask each other, ""Do you have any Grey Poupon your underwear""? Several days later, of course, the neighborhood kids and I scoured the pasture looking for the calf''s severed scrotum sack. It must have dropped off at some point. We never found it. Anyway, I don''t think I''ll ever try piano wire around my balls. Not for ultimate anyway. Ultimate Frisbee? That's that game played with dogs, right?