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ultimate lifestyle

D recently received an email reminding him that his tenth-year college reunion is around the corner next summer. In addition to making him scratch his head and wonder how the time flew by so quickly, it also prompted some reflection.

College. You attend classes, a few of which are truly memorable and most of which you forget by the end of summer vacation. And even the memorable ones fade from memory once you leave the confines of the ivory tower. You go to parties, and for the rest of your life wonder how it was you could ever consume such copious amounts of alcohol and still function the next day. You learn to socialize and try to convince yourself that the modicum of independence you enjoyed living in a dorm has prepared you for real adult living. You become you.

You make a lot of friends, some of whom become closer to you than you ever thought was possible. But after graduation you all scatter, and jobs, families, and distance wear the friendships down until you barely exchange monthly emails with the people you couldn’t go a day without seeing. This is nobody’s fault. You are just as busy as they are.


Turns out that one of the most massively useful things D learned in college was how to throw a frisbee. In Costa Rica, he was teaching his girlfriend how to throw at the beach when a plump little man ran up behind them, clapping his hands wildly and screaming, “ULTIMATE!!!” in a heavy Spanish accent. D had barely been in the country two weeks, but quickly found himself part of a diverse social group of Ticos and expats of various stripes who got together two nights a week to play ultimate. Backpacking through Latin America, D always had a disc on hand, and it proved to be a great ice-breaker, especially with local children.


S started playing ultimate in Rwanda right before we got married, so as soon as we had settled in here, we went to check out the local ultimate scene. Nairobi has a huge Embassy community and a large expat population so not all of our friends play disc, but some of the coolest people we’ve met here and many of the ones we feel closest to are people we met playing ultimate. And this fellowship extends beyond Kenya. We’ve played in several regional tournamentstwice in Kampala and once on the Kenyan coast — and are looking forward to seeing many of the people we met from around East Africa at this month’s hat tournament in Rwanda and again at FEAST at the end of March.


We have not done much research into what awaits us in Moldova, but we do know there is an ultimate frisbee team in Chisinau, so we’re looking forward to playing with the Flying Mamaligas and making new friends.


Thanks to Kat for sharing her photos from last year’s 7Hills Classic. 

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. I backpacked up the east coast of Australia and my friend participated in various ultimate tournaments. It’s big in Oz!

    February 6, 2013
    • It’s growing everywhere, which is awesome, especially when you find teams in places you least expect.

      February 6, 2013
  2. freedman121 #

    It’s incredible how sports like that can bring people together! I’ve always wanted to learn how to play Ultimate; but my love of soccer made a lot of friends when I was living in Argentina, that’s for sure. Thanks for sharing!

    February 15, 2013
    • I’ve played a lot of soccer all over the world too – and you’re right, it’s always a good way to make friends. Ultimate is actually a pretty good crossover sport – there are a lot of people who grew up playing other sports (soccer, basketball, running track) who start playing ultimate and love it. If you’ve played team sports before, you’ll pick up it up fast and you’d be surprised at the places all over the world you can find ultimate flourishing.

      – D

      February 15, 2013

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