ULTIMATE FRISBEE: Belleville Club Celebrates Decade of Ultimate Competition

This story was published in the Spring 2023 issue of Total Sports Quinte magazine

The Belleville Ultimate Disc Association celebrated 10 years of offering frisbee competition in the Quinte region in 2022.

Now in its 11th year, BUDA has leagues year-round and is introducing the sport to younger athletes as well. 

Vice-president Jaye Dilts recalled learning of ultimate from a softball teammate before they began playing recreationally in Belleville. A small gathering tossed the disc around and played a modified game. 

After a couple of years the group decided to form a league and began with four teams.

“When I was playing softball I had never even heard of ultimate,” Dilts said. 

Now the participants range in age from 16 to 67, though Dilts said the average is players in their 30s. Spring and fall leagues are held at Mary Ann Sills Park while Albert College is the venue during the summer and the Loyalist Sports Dome for winter. Both competitive and non-competitive leagues are offered.

“It’s really great because the more experienced players can help the younger ones and explain the rules,” Dilts said. “We are getting more youth into it. We run youth clinics as well.”

Registration is open for the BUDA Spring Youth Clinic, which will run Thursday evenings 6 to 7 p.m. from May 18 to June 22 at East Hill Park in Belleville. 

The six-week program is for ages 8 to 15 and is intended to be a fun, co-ed, educational opportunity to offer youth the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of Ultimate with an emphasis on skills, drills and some gameplay. 

Cost is $30 and includes a disc and t-shirt for each participant.

BUDA’s summer league registration is open with the season, which begins May 30 on Tuesday evenings until Aug. 29. The cost for participants is $55 for the early-bird price and $70 after May 19. 

Dilts explains ultimate as a mix between a few different sports.

“You have an end zone like football, but you cover more like basketball and you count stalls when somebody is going to throw the disc – they have 10 seconds to throw it and they are not allowed to run with the disc,” he said. “When you go to catch it you can come to a running stop, but then your foot has to stay planted. You can pivot, but your one foot has to stay where it is or you can be called for travel.”

To score, a player must be in the end zone when they catch the disk or be jumping into the end zone at the time they catch it in order to score a point. Regular play is at 7-on-7.

Dilts noted the league is a registered not-for-profit association and is insured and governed by Ontario Ultimate.

Respect and sportsmanship enjoyed in the sport is why Dilts thinks the sport appeals to the participants.

“It’s really about the spirit of the game and respect because you call your own foul. Somebody else could call a foul as well, but really it’s all about respecting the other people,” he said. “There’s no refs, there are observers at the higher level for tournaments and things like that, but they’re really just there to go over a rule if there’s a disagreement. 

The sport is a lot of running and cutting, like soccer, and then it’s also hand-eye coordination, teaching young kids about sportsmanship and if you hit somebody by mistake, call a foul, it comes back, and play continues.”

Check out the Belleville Ultimate Disc Association at bellevilleultimate.com or join the club’s Facebook group.