Must See Ultimate Archival Footage

Here we have some incredible archival footage of Ultimate from the 1980s. 

The video is about 30 minutes long and includes some awesome film of some fabled teams (New York New York, Tsunami, UCSB’s Black Tide and Burning Skirts, SF Flying Circus, Lady Condors, Windy City, Boston’s Rude Boys and Aerodisc, Glassboro State’s Gang) and legendary players (Ken Dobyns, Pat King, Danny Weiss, Tony Z, Kelly Green, Liz Marino, Joanie Merrill, Mike O’Dowd, Steve Mooney and many, many more).

The whole thing is pretty amazing, but I want to point out a couple of remarkable plays to jump to…

At 2:20 of the video, in the 1989 National Championship game between New York New York and South Bay Tsunami, Hall of Famer Kenny Dobyns hucks a long cross-field backhand to Hall of Famer Pat King.  The disc sails out of bounds but Pat leaps up and tosses the disc backwards over his shoulder into the end zone for a goal.  Yes, today we would call that play a “Greatest,” but if you listen to the audio, announcer Andy Bornstein (who played for New York’s Graffitti), is dumbfounded by what he’s just seen. He can barely describe it, let alone give it a name, and his bewilderment makes the play all the more astonishing.  Certainly it had been done before somewhere, but this has to be the first documented instance of a “Greatest Play” in Ultimate history.

At 4:38 of the video, in the 1988 Collegiate Women’s Championship between UCSB’s Burning Skirts and UC Davis, Andrea Kelly picks up the disc for Santa Barbara. AK tosses a risky, bladey, wobbly breakmark backhand around the zone cup to Jackie Pierce (Watson), who makes an incredible diving catch, then steps to her feet and tosses and even riskier upwind hammer that is caught on a miracle layout by Cindy "Stan" Alaimo.  This was an upwind/downwind game all the way.  In fact, neither team had scored upwind until that moment, and the goal was so all-important that people forget it wasn’t the game-winner.  That came a short time later, at 5:17, when my good friend Tricia Guilfoyle (Meyer) catches the game-winning goal to seal UCSB’s first (of three straight) national championships.

At 8:02 of the video is coverage of the 1985 Open National Championship between New York’s Kaboom! and the Bay Area Flying Circus.  This was the first Nationals I attended as a player, and getting down on the sideline to watch this final was awe-inspiring.  That’s the legendary Condor Kaey Nakae on the mic calling the game.  Kaboom! was Kenny Dobyns' team prior to New York New York, and he makes his presence known in this game with a full tilt layout diving block at 8:25. Alas, the deflected pass is caught by another Circus receiver and the San Francisco team goes on to win its first championship. 

One thing about Dobyns performance in this game worth noting: Legend has it he tore his ACL in the semi-finals against Windy City.  There’s other video elsewhere of that game, and Dobyns' crushing disappointment at getting injured is on full display. The fact that he found the will to get back on the field – and make a difference -- in the finals is something I’ve never forgotten.

At 29:37 of the video comes a personal message from Dan “Stork” Roddick, one of the men responsible for helping Ultimate grow into the sport it is today.  He has some great things to say about the special nature of the sport and how it makes him feel to think it’s now played all over the world.

[Pat King's "Greatest Play"]

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