Austin Sol Makes Its Home Debut in the American Ultimate Disc League

Photos by Wyatt Smith

The sport of ultimate (aka ultimate Frisbee) officially got its start during the counterculture movement of the Sixties at Columbia High School in Maplewood, N.J. It quickly spread throughout the country, and eventually the world. While retaining the ideals of its humble beginnings as a self-refereed game (known as the Spirit of the Game), it also now boasts a high level of skill and competition and is possibly best known for the spectacular highlights often featured on SportsCenter's Top Plays. This Saturday, Central Texas sports fans can see the game up close as our own Austin Sol makes its home debut in the 26-team American Ultimate Disc League

For the uninitiated, ultimate is a noncontact sport incorporating elements of football, soccer, and basketball. Players move the disc up the field with either several short passes or one long throw, and cannot "travel" or run with the disc in their possession. A point is scored by completing a pass to a teammate in the end zone. If a pass is intercepted, knocked down, out of bounds, or dropped, it is a turnover and the other team takes possession. Making a pass or scoring attempt while the other team resets is advantageous.

While the AUDL does utilize referees, they keep the Spirit of the Game intact with the Integrity Rule. If a call is made in your favor, or your team's favor, you can overturn the call to the benefit of your opponent, thus maintaining the true spirit of the origins of the game and promoting respect and honor among the teams and fans. The endless "flopping" of soccer and basketball is nowhere to be seen here.

Via email, team owner Patrick Christmas describes the games as "Athletic! We play on football fields and a good thrower can hit any point on that field. There is no running with the disc or contact, but the way a disc floats, compared to a football, allows for those SportsCenter plays where athletic guys dive around their opponent to make the catch on a regular basis."

As far as the squad goes, Christmas says that "Jeff Loskorn and Chase Cunningham are two big names, with Jeff on the USA national team and Chase winning gold with the U-23 national team last year. Brett Gramann is an Austin native who was named college rookie of the year in 2015. Then we have a host of college stars, like UT captains Logan Kinney and Joel Clutton."

Christmas' goals with the franchise are to "... introduce Austinites to our fast-paced game, fun game-day program, and a friendly atmosphere full of high fives. The team has set a goal of making the playoffs in their first year and are putting in the effort to make it happen. Long term we want to be part of the soul of Austin – a game that everyone in town is familiar with and introducing a greater number of kids to the teamwork, spirit, and athleticism that make ultimate a lifetime activity."

Austin dropped its franchise debut last Saturday in Dallas, 30-18 vs. the Roughnecks. Fans can look forward to lots of high fives and high-flying action this Saturday as the Sol hopes to get in the win column hosting those same Roughnecks. After the game, head over to the Tavern to meet the squad. The AUDL season consists of 14 regular-season games with Austin hosting seven home tilts at fields across town: two at House Park, one at Vandegrift High School, and four at Westwood High School.

Vs. Dallas: Sat., April 9, 6:30pm. House Park, 1301 Shoal Creek Blvd. $5-8.

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