Phil McLean is helping start an ultimate frisbee pickup league at the field at Colwood elementary. He hopes informal games will help establish the sport on the West Shore.

Phil McLean is helping start an ultimate frisbee pickup league at the field at Colwood elementary. He hopes informal games will help establish the sport on the West Shore.

Ultimate flies into the West Shore

Competitive ultimate frisbee has had a long run in Victoria, but the West Shore hasn’t cottoned on to the fast-paced disc sport, until now.

Eyeing plenty of field space and a growing population of young families, long-time ultimate players Phil McLean and Leigh Garrod are organizing pickup games at the  Colwood elementary field for the summer.

McLean, who volunteers on the Victoria Ultimate Players Society, has played ultimate in Victoria since 1997. But the East Sooke resident wanted a league a bit closer to home.

“This is pickup play, with no set teams. Anyone can just show up and play,” McLean said. “It’s a great field out here too. It’s good soft grass.”

In ultimate, players pass the frisbee up the 40-yard wide, 120-yard long field into the opposing end zone to score. A player holding the frisbee can only pivot, and similar to basketball, opposing players can block, but it’s a non-contact sport. It has competitive leagues up to the international level.

“It’s fast paced, exciting and competitive and social,” McLean said. “It’s one of those things that when people get involved, they tend to get really involved. They end up playing all the time and going to tournaments.”

Unlike most field sports, ultimate has no referees — players are expected to mediate disputes or fouls. McLean said he hopes to help introduce high school aged kids to ultimate.

“Personally I would have liked to play the sport at that age,” he said. “It’s good sport and good exercise. There’s a spirit in the game of mutual respect and integrity.”

The West Shore pickup league runs every Friday night, 6 to 8 p.m. until the end of August, at the field at Colwood elementary, 2139 Sooke Rd.

It’s free and all ages are is welcome. Running shoes or soccer cleats are recommended.

For more on the Victoria Ultimate Players Society, see www.vups.bc.ca.

sports@goldsreamgazette.com