Josh Crabtree makes the diving catch of the Frisbee and his hat during 52 Pick-up Ultimate Frisbee action on July 30 in Damariscotta.
Darin Carlucci (right) tries to intercept a pass, as Geno Wentworth makes the catch.
52 Pick-up, a Damariscotta-based Ultimate Frisbee team, loves to play in extreme weather.
“There seems to be a direct correlation between the worst weather and bigger numbers,” player Julie Lamy said of the number of people who show up to play at the Great Salt Bay Community School field in Damariscotta.
“We have played in snowshoes, rubber boots and hiking boots. The summer is the hardest time,” Lamy said of pulling people away from their busy schedules and getting them to come out and play. Players range in age from 14 to 55 and come from all walks of life, Lamy said.
“Our numbers fluctuate wildly,” said, Jason Anthony, who has played with the group for nine years. “Some of it has to do with the seasons. Summer play brings in vacationers and college students, but some regulars head off on vacation too. In the winter our numbers are steadier, there are less distractions and many of us love to play in the snow.”
This summer the group celebrate their 10th year of playing in Damariscotta.
The group plays at 3 p.m. on Sundays and 5 p.m. on Wednesdays year round. The turnout is better on Sundays, as Wednesday play is relatively new. Everyone is welcome to play the coed sport, which originated on college campuses in the 1960s and is now played world wide.
The non-contact sport uses a flying disc (Frisbee) and is self refereed with a code of conduct that exhibits the spirit of the game. The responsibility for fair play is placed on the players.
While the official game is played seven on a team on a rectangular pitch, the 52 Pick-up group plays anybody that shows up. A goal is scored when someone catches the disk while standing or running in the end zone, a line that stretches the width of the field. Or in the case of the local laid-back group, between two disks lying on the ground.
Possession of the disk changes hands when it hits the ground, is knocked to the ground by a defender, is caught out of bounds, or is intercepted by the defense.
“The self-refereeing is always an easy aspect of the game,” Anthony said. “It’s a non-contact sport, and in our group there are never arguments about fouls. In large part the self-refereering works well because of the players’ laid-back nature. We’re a group of people who want serious exercise, honest play, and stress-free competition. We spend much of the time laughing, and we make a point of including everyone who came to play.”
“For the core group of 52 Pick-up, winter play is the heart of what we do. The large Ultimate Frisbee communities in Belfast, Portland and elsewhere all move inside for the winter, preferring the gym floor and warm temperatures, but we’re a group of people who love being outdoors and aren’t afraid to play on frozen ground or deep snow,” Anthony said. “We certainly prefer the snow to rock-hard turf, especially when the snow is soft and deep enough for the older players to dive after the frisbee with abandon. We make the field smaller as the snow gets deeper, since it’s pretty hard to spring in knee-deep snow.”
Other than canceling in extreme slippery conditions, or for a few weeks during mud season, 52 Pick-up plays year round.
I’m always recommending the sport to people who I think will enjoy playing hard and spending time with intelligent, compassionate, funny people. Our players include barefoot lawyers, engineers, college athletes, children, teachers, and many more, but what they have in common is an interest in playing a game which satisfies both body and soul. It’s a gathering of great people who all walk away tired and happy and looking forward to the next game,” Anthony said.
For more information about 52 Pick-up, contact Anthony at firstname.lastname@example.org.