We all know about pelota (not least of all because of Olatz González Abrisketa’s terrific book on the subject Basque Pelota: A Ritual, an Aesthetic), and we know about the other Basque sports such as the rural games or herri kirolak, and of course everyone knows about beloved soccer/football, but there is another sport that might soon be taking the Basque Country by storm! The first ultimate disc team on the Basque coast, Euskadisk, formed in 2014 and continues strong today. They have played in a variety of tournaments and are active online, including, in addition to the website linked before, have a Facebook page. They sometimes join forces with the team from Pau to field tournament teams. The team aspires to be a encompassing Basque team, and thus their name is a play on Euskadi and ultimate disc (spelled with the Basque K instead of the the Latin C). In February of this year they placed 4th in the Pau indoor championships. A great placing for their first national level tournament and in March they debuted their new logo (seen in the image above).
One note of disclaimer, your Basque Books Editor is an ultimate player and fanatic and so when I learned about this team I couldn’t help but share the news with you all! Ultimate is a field sport game that has been around since the late 1960s. It is played worldwide, and teams of 7 players (in the field edition, for a beach game teams are usually 5 players) are fielded for national and international tournaments, including a world finals that only invites each country’s best teams. The game is scored in an end zone like American football and the disc is advanced by team members throwing and catching it. Once it is caught the person with the disc must stop running and establish a pivot foot as in basketball and if he or she moves the pivot foot it is a violation. The person holding the disc then has 10 seconds to throw the disc to another team member, thus advancing the disc until it is caught in the end zone. If the player doesn’t throw the disc on within 10 seconds, or if it is intercepted or the pass is incomplete, then the team on defense takes over and tries to score in their own end zone. Play continues until a team scores. It is often called Ultimate Frisbee because Frisbee is the most well-known version of the flying disc, although the discs generally used in ultimate competitions are not made by the Frisbee company but by another company called Disccraft. There are also now 2 professional ultimate disc leagues in the United States.
Play on Basque Frisbee Players!!! Readers interested in sport, and Basque sports, should also check out Playing Fields: Power, Practice, and Passion in Sport, edited by Mariann Vaczi.