The Greatest Sport Ever Played (minus football, basketball, baseball, hockey, tennis, NASCAR, anything on ESPN Deportes, chess, and quidditch).
Beginnings: Ultimate was invented in a New Jersey parking lot in 1968 by then-hippie Joel Silver, who surprisingly went on to do something with his life and produce some of the sickest action movies in the American canon (Predator, Die Hard, The Matrix, Speed Racer... wait, fuck.) The sport has changed little since that first day, as it is often still enjoyed by hippies in parking lots and almost no one other than the people who play it know that it's a sport. Today, most people refer to it by the misnomer "Ultimate Frisbee", however just "Ultimate" is technically correct as Frisbee is a trademark name for discs produced by toy company Wham-O (not to be confused with 80's pop duo Wham!, who one should never buy a toy from).
"Don't leave me haaanging onn like a -- is that a yo-yo in your pants?"
Basics: The game is played by two teams, each with seven members. Each team's objective is to catch the disc in the other team's endzone and score. When a player catches the disc, he or she is not allowed to -- you know what, you probably know how to play. The important part here is that almost all games of Ultimate are played while high, drunk, or high-drunk (hrunk). The founders of Ultimate were smart (hrunk) enough to realize that all sports are made better by beer or marijuana, and that tradition has been part of the game's history ever since. Other forms of drug use are allowed, but generally not encouraged as heavy hallucinogens and narcotics can make you look like an asshole on the field.
"Dude I swear, a fucking crocodile jumped out and ate the disc. Right before Brett's nipples turned into light-sabers."
Jargon: The game of Ultimate has its own language of sorts, which to the newcomer can be quite confusing. Here are the explanations of a few commonly used words on the ultimate field:
"I, I'm doing it! I can fly! OW MY DICK!"
Video footage of a greatest (do not watch if pregnable).
Other potentially confusing words include: force, swing, break, mark, cup, stack, handle, callahan, pull, stall -- it goes on. If you find yourself in a game and you have no idea what anyone is saying, the best course of action is to remain still and strike the Fonze pose, and someone will throw you the disc. Or call you a douche-nugget.
Who plays it: Contrary to popular belief, Ultimate is not just played by left-wing hippies. A Republican once played in 1992 and said it was, quote, "pretty cool." Due to its carefree culture and close ties with alcoholic beverages, the sport garners its largest following from college students, or people who still think/wish they were in college. Other notable demographics that play Ultimate: people who are athletic but not enough to be good at mainstream sports, anyone who is over 6 feet tall and under 150 pounds, and various Bible Study groups looking for a sport that doesn't require "the devil's aggression."
Jesus would be so chill on the field.
What they wear: When selecting your attire for a game of Ultimate, you may choose either of these two options: cleats, running shorts, and a t-shirt; or anything out of Lady Gaga's performance closet. In fact, the more ridiculous your outfit the more respect you will have during the game, as everyone knows how hard it is to dive for a disc wearing this:
One article of clothing in particular makes a frequent appearance amongst ultimaters, and that is the skirt. "Why yes," you might think, "that is quite natural for a girl to want to wear a skirt. It is breezy, allows for flexible leg-pumps, and looks phenomenal when jumping." Unfortunately almost no girls wear skirts. The men do. In a throwback to better, hippier times, many don the skirt in celebration of their free-thinking ways, which is ironic because this robs anyone in the area of free-thinking about anything other than "I totally just saw that man's bagpipes."
The same standard of absurdity for clothing also applies to hairstyle. Mohawks, epic beards, fu-man-chus, etc. are staples to the sport and can even serve as tools of diplomacy. If ever a conflict arises on the field (e.g. a disputed out-of-bounds call), one must merely approach the scene and say, "Behold my mutton-chops. Your argument is false." The opponent should then graciously accept their defeat, unless of course their mutton-chops are bigger.
Perhaps the single biggest thing that separates Ultimate from other sports is its "Spirit of the Game". There are no referees in Ultimate due to the founding hippies' acid-inspired dream of egalitarian harmony, so all disputes must be settled by the players themselves. How they do this is up to them, but many common examples include hair-offs (refer to mutton-chops), rochambeaus, or if things get really heated a polite discussion that almost always ends in someone putting their hands on their hips. At the end of each game it is an often-followed tradition for the winning team -- in demonstration of good Spirit -- to sing a rousing cheer for the losing team, much like how hospital clowns make jokes for children dying of cancer.
"What did one terminal lymphoma patient say to the other?"
Almost all Ultimate tournaments also have a Best Spirit award, which in an odd twist of events is awarded to the tournament's team that showed the best spirit. Receiving the Best Spirit award when your team doesn't place in the Top 3 is equivalent to your date telling you what a great personality you have while he eye-bangs your waitress.
The Spirit of Ultimate can be fun to ridicule, but it is a vital component of the sport, just like Ma-Ti with his power of "Heart" was vital in summoning Captain Planet, even though he clearly got the Smirnoff Ice of Planeteer abilities.
How it should have been.
If not for Spirit, the game would be far more douchy and could possibly even attract real athletes. As far as Ultimate players are concerned, this would be tragic and should be avoided at all costs. The true beauty of the game lies in this Spirit and its accompanying culture, one that celebrates athletic sport, peace and harmony, and the showing of one's bagpipes.