If you’re looking for a way to get in shape and make some friends this summer, look no further than the discs whizzing through your own back yard.
The Vancouver Ultimate League (VUL) is the largest independent ultimate frisbee league on the planet, facilitating games across Vancouver with it’s top players competing at the national and international level.
Craig Kulyk came on board as the VUL Marketing Manager in 2011, after coming into the Vancouver ultimate scene in 2009. Originally taking up the game in Korea, where he taught English, Kulyk says his love of ultimate stemmed from it being a way to build new relationships.
“The first initial hook for me was it was a fun way to get exercise and to meet new people,” Kulyk told Vancity Buzz. “The people I met I really connected with, they became by social circle, and it sort of grew from there.”
According to Kulyk, the game itself it enough to get you on the field, but it’s the people you meet that make you stay.
“It’s really fun to run after a disc as it’s hovering in the air, and you’re trying to time it,” he says. “[I love] the sport itself of course, but the community surrounding it is what kept me in it for so long.”
Kulyk says the nature of the VUL as one of the largest ultimate leagues on Earth means that no matter who wants to get involved, they’ll find something to suit their speed.
“If you are just looking to play once a week, and run around and get some exercise, and play with people that are more to your level, there are lots of players looking for the same thing,” says Kulyk. “On the other hand, if you’re looking to improve and see how far you get in the sport, there’s really a lot of opportunities out there. It’s still a new sport… there are opportunities to play provincial, national, and even on the world level.”
Starting in April, the VUL is hosting two free “Intro to Ultimate” workshops for people unfamiliar with the sport. Various workshops throughout April and May offer tips and tricks on throwing, or team tactics, and other intermediate skills.
From June to August the VUL also runs a summer Beginner Camp for players with no experience up to two years of experience. The 11 week camp starts with six weeks of skill clinics followed by five weeks of games.
“You learn the game with other people that are learning it, [taught by] top level playing instructors,” he says. “Then you get to play.”
The number of services offered by the VUL, along with the variety of workshops, clinics, and beginners courses, meaning the barrier for entry is very low. It really just comes down to giving it a whirl.
“Give it a try,” says Kulyk. “Go to one of our intro sessions and give it a try… [most] people have tried throwing a disc before, and they say “I can’t throw,” but it just isn’t true. It’s a skill you can learn… try it out and go in with an open mind, and realize it’s something you can do better than you probably think you can.”