There’s so much to covering the sport of Ultimate, that there is no way I could choose one or even three of best photos of 2015. So, they will be presented in some categories. First, about getting horizontal.
While some prefer to get high, others opt to get wide, making use of getting horizontal a most valued skill in playing the sport of ultimate. That is not to say, however, that all horizontals are created equal. Any player with turf burns on their elbows or hips will likely testify to that. So for what was captured of the USA Ultimate Club and College national level championships of 2015, they’re classified as three types.
TYPE 1: CLASSIC LAYOUTS
My favorite classic layout of the year came at me like a dream. Laying in waiting in the end zone, it was a long huck delivered to perfection in a classic pairing of last year’s championship finalists of the USA Ultimate Nationals by Seattle Mix Tape v Minneapolis Drag ‘N Thrust. But this was 2015, first round play of the 2015 US Nationals and two teams that would again meet again in the championship final. While this play was featured on several video replays, it was nice to sit low in a sweet spot and await this classic horizontal layout for a score.
Day 3 in Frisco, Texas at the USA Ultimate US Open I witnessed a classic matchup between Seattle Riot and San Francisco Fury. That game provided this wonderful image of an under-control horizontal extension to advance the disc. Heck, she even smiled for the camera. Pretty brave given she knew she was about to land skidding on the artificial turf that had been warmed under a bright sun all day.
And there’s something to be said for those who get horizontal coming straight at the camera at eye level. This one was at an intense matchup of the San Fransisco Blackbird v Minneapolis Drag ‘N Thrust game on day 2 of the USA Ultimate US Nationals in October.
Almost immediately following the Riot catch above was this Boston Brute Squad catch as they faced Colorado Molly Brown in the semis of the US Open on an adjacent field. This one may not look as graceful, but it was at least as effective, helping the Brute Squad to advance to the US Open Championship finals.
And sometimes, the horizontals’ revolutions are televised, on ESPN, like San Francisco Revolver’s catch at the USA Ultimate US Open men’s championships in October.
And then again, sometimes the photographer (as in me) doesn’t adjust from framing a great layout because he (me, again) thinks it’s a vertical leap and fails to flipping the camera body to frame it as a horizontal shot. (That’s the hardest part of shooting layouts. You think they might be a vertical frame but can too quickly switch to horizontal.) But it’s still a great catch, like this one a University of Wisconsin Hodags player at the USA Ultimate D1 College Nationals played in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in May.
TYPE 2: TRIPODOLATED LAYOUTS
If you envision the classic layout as this beautifully straight extension that widens the birth of the player’s catching radius, then what I’ll classify as a “tripodolated”. (It’s my blog. I get to make up words.) One is where the move often begins as getting horizontal, but morphs by necessity into something else. Maybe the wind changes direction, the disc gets tipped, or the layoutee is saying to themselves, “Do I really need to burn my healing wound from yesterday right now, maybe I can offer an alternative landing from this position.” Or maybe it’s just wise to keep the disc inbounds so the risk of laying out results in a reward, like maintaining control of the disc, as it seem happened here when the Minnesota Grey Ducks v Central Florida Dogs of War at the USA Ultimate D1 College National Championships.
And this fine corner end zone catch in Stanford Superfly v Carleton Syzygy in the Women’s Semi-Finals at the USA Ultimate D1 College National Championships
And by Seattle Riot v Washington D.C. Scandal game at the 2015 USA Ultimate Nationals in October. A perfect demonstration of “tripodolation.”
TYPE 3: DHL – DEFENSIVE HORIZONTAL LAYOUTS
Lastly, but no less importantly, I dedicate respect for the value of going horizontal on the D line. As I’ve said before, if you don’t appreciate defense in the game of ultimate, then go watch Frisbee golf. There are countless times a defensive player uses the layout in their toolbox to create turnovers through blocked passes or get into the face and hands of the receiver. So I’ll call it call “DHL” for a Defensive Horizontal Layout. This first shot shows two players from the Boston Ironside v Colorado Johnny Bravo matchup at the 2015 USA Ultimate Nationals who both launched horizontal layouts on perpendicular collision course with the disc and ground became the eventual destination. Result: Turnover.
The disc remained alive as players from UCLA BLU and the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds sprawled out in post-layouts for possession at the USA Ultimate D1 College Championships. Result: I think it may have been a catch after all.
University of North Carolina Dark Side does a DHL to help taco the disc with University of Oregon Ego player in the championship game at the USA Ultimate D1 College Championships. Result: A catch with some guacamole on the side.
Though not intentionally, sometimes the DHL just simply takes the offensive player out of the play, leaving the disc to float away. San Fransisco Revolver’s defender sent this Seattle Sockeye adrift at the championships of the USA Ultimate Nationals. Result: They’re still looking for the disc.
And University of Floria State DUF blocked passage of the disk to University of Oregon Ego player in the semis of the USA Ultimate D1 College National Championships. Result: Turnover.
Hope you enjoyed this Part 3 of the year end series. More to come. Several more in Ultimate, and more for many other sports I covered over the past year. Links to the galleries where each image is published on f/go are included in green, so please take a visit to revisit some great times in 2015.