Archive 2008 - 2019

The Ultimate Choice

by Matt Varrell

We were the typical Holliston family whose kids had grown up on youth soccer with the occasional dalliance into football and baseball, with a sprinkling of scouting and drama productions thrown in for variety. Nick was a good athlete and we weren’t sure we could picture him in a group of kids standing around in the park throwing a frisbee to one another. What we very quickly found out was that Ultimate Frisbee or just “Ultimate” was much more, from both an athletic perspective and from a parental enjoyment perspective.

Fast forward to 2013 and our family is fully immersed in Ultimate. Nick had the best two years of his sports career at HHS playing Ultimate and his brother, Rusty, is following in his footsteps, now entering his third year of Ultimate, as a HHS junior and team co-captain. I have become the unofficial team photographer (and Holliston Reporter correspondent) and my wife is the official HABA liaison for the team. We try and make as many games as we can, not just because we enjoy watching our boys play (which we do), but because Ultimate is a very exciting sport to watch. Beyond that, we love the “Spirit of the Game.” Although many sports rely on team spirit to build team camaraderie and build fan support, it is not an intrinsic part of the game itself, as it is with Ultimate.

The concept of the Spirit of the Game is summarized in the following excerpt from the Introduction to the Official Rules of Ultimate, 11th Edition: Spirit of the Game: Ultimate relies upon a spirit of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules, or the basic joy of play. Protection of these vital elements serves to eliminate unsportsmanlike conduct from the Ultimate field. Such actions as taunting opposing players, dangerous aggression, belligerent intimidation, intentional infractions or other “win-at-all-costs” behavior are contrary to the spirit of the game and must be avoided by all players.

This concept is perhaps best exemplified by the fact that the games are completely self-refereed. All infractions on the field are governed by the players and all disagreements are settled cooperatively. This might lead one to think that Ultimate is a non-competitive sport with the players just enjoying the sunshine and tossing a disc around. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Play is fast-paced and very competitive, requiring players to be extremely physically fit with excellent hand-eye coordination. Additionally, players must understand the strategies of the game as well as the physics of the disc. One other unique characteristic of the sport is that it is co-ed. All league teams may have both male and female competitors.

The Holliston Ultimate team is the only team in Holliston High School that plays in Division 1. Coached by Chris Levasseur and Jefferson Wood, the team enjoys all the privileges of any other varsity sport and plays a full spring schedule. In 2012, the squad went 10-13 overall, with a 7-5 regular season, finishing a very respectable tenth place overall in the end-of-season state tournament. In the national rankings Holliston Ultimate finished 115th. The team graduated 10 seniors in 2012 and is actively recruiting players.

If you are a Holliston High student in search of a unique sport for the spring, I encourage you to check it out. If you are a parent of Holliston High student (boy or girl) and would like to see your student play an exciting sport that is unique in the world of high pressure youth athletics, I offer our experience as an example of an incredibly positive one. If you are just looking for an exciting sport to watch and cheer on a Holliston High School team, come out and cheer on the Panthers.

The Panthers will play a 13-game league schedule and two tournaments against a variety of teams, including Abington, Sharon, Newton-North, Weymouth, Lincoln-Sudbury, Milton Academy, and Wachusett Regional. The complete season schedule can be found on the HHS athletic webpage. The home opener is scheduled for April 9th at 4:00pm at the high school. Open team practices begin on March 18th. For more information on Holliston Ultimate, please contact: