While some get together to throw around the old pigskin, one group of locals brave the Wisconsin winter to share their love of the old plastic disc.
The members of the loosely organized Ultimate Frisbee group, or as many would likely describe them — adults who are crazy enough to play their beloved game of Frisbee year round, even in inclement weather like it's the ice bowl or something, subscribe to one phrase to describe what they do.
Playing in Shorewood and along Milwaukee's lakefront, a group of 13 hardcore participants and another half a dozen semi-hardcore members, their love of the game and camaraderie keep them looking forward to their Sunday meetings for ultimate Frisbee games.
“We are a pretty active group that loves the intensity of the game,” group member Tammy Bockhorst said. “We have banter and get along fantastically. Often, after summer games, we will have a post-game barbeque at one of the teammates homes. It is a great way to celebrate for the entire family.”
Their group started with impromptu birthday party two years ago for group member Lilith Fowler’s birthday, when the group was convened at River Park in Shorewood to play a game of Ultimate Frisbee.
It gained steam from there on, and the group hasn't missed a Sunday since, even when "in the winter months, when there isn’t an easy way to get outside and play,” said Fowler.
The sport turns extreme in winter months Fowler said, but they don’t break their Sunday Frisbee ritual, with a few exceptions.
“When there is really bad hail or the snow is over our knees too high to move,” Fowler said.
When the snow is very high, the group plays a game called “box” and then practices high-drama dive catches with landings in the soft snow.
But with spring comes a new focus to the game, change in location and an increase in players.
“The change of seasons allows us to really ramp up our numbers, from about 18 to 19 players,” teammate Tim Loduha said.
In the summertime, the group plays down at Milwaukee’s lakefront, on the west side of Lincoln Memorial just north of the Alterra. More players show up to those games because of the visibility and the location.
“It is just beautiful and has some shade; plus the kids really enjoy playing on the hill,” said Bockhorst. “It all goes towards the group's main goal, to get the whole family to go outside and play… it is a great way for the whole family to get fresh air and exercise.”
The sport is innocent enough, until you start sweating profusely and you develop a hiss in your throat from exhaustive breathing.
“We start out by warming up. We toss the disc, run around and chat. Then we usually start playing a game without keeping score,” said Bockhorst. “After an hour, someone shouts out, ‘how about a game to 5’ then we play that, and then usually another one or two. It is pretty loosely formed, teams switch all the time.”
If you have disc skills, stop by Shorewood High School on a Sunday 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Mid-April the group will move, likely to Atwater Elementary School and then the lakefront in the summer. The group hopes to start their website soon at Sundayultimate.com.
Stay tuned and start practicing.