Maine Ultimate – “ultimate” meaning “ultimate Frisbee” – is gearing up to host its first Vacationland Tournament and Ultimate Food Truck Event, slated for the weekend of July 23-24. Spectators are invited to attend the gala, which will be held at Wainwright Sports Complex in South Portland.
Maine Ultimate and its various offerings are the brainchildren of Rich Young, also the head coach for Maine Coast Waldorf School, which has its elementary/middle school in Freeport and its high school in New Gloucester.
“This is the first year we’ve done this July tournament,” says Young. “We usually do a couple tournaments in the spring and one big tournament in the fall. But we’ve never done one in the middle of the summer and people have been asking for it.”
“My furthest team will be from Philadelphia this year,” says Young. “There are a bunch of teams from Boston, Rhode Island, Vermont; we might actually have a team from Quebec come down. And I think there will be six Maine teams.”
One of those Maine Teams hails from the Farmington area, while the others – including the Rising Tide (which Young Coaches) the Red Tide, Swagger, Sunken Circus and Dead Reckoning – hail from Portland.
The tournament features three divisions: Mixed, Men’s and Women’s. For the most part, the athletes range in age from 21 to 40, but the Rising Tide is comprised of the cream of the Maine high school crop.
All told, more than two dozen teams and approximately 450 athletes are scheduled to take part, though slots are still available for teams out there who might wish to join the fray. The cost is $400 per team. Participants have access to trainers throughout the weekend – not to mention discounted area lodging.
“I think I have 26 teams signed up right now and there’s a couple on the fence I should know about next week,” says Young. “These are teams that are getting ready for their fall series,” says Young. “They’re the best teams in their respective areas.”
Young describes the tournament’s two days: “Saturday is what’s considered ‘pool play’ – so they all play each other,” he says of the teams. “Then Sunday, the better teams start playing each other in the Semis and the Finals.”
“And on Sunday,” Young says, “we’re doing what’s called the Ultimate Food Truck Event. We’re having eight food trucks come out from 11 to 3. So, spectators who’ve never seen the sport before can come and check out ultimate, and also try some really good food.”
Locally Sauced Burritos, PB & ME, Mainely Meatballs, Mainely Burgers, Tacos Del Seoul, The Gorham Grind, Cannoli Joe’s and Mami Japanese Street Food will all have trucks parked at Tournament Central, eager to please hungry visitors.
Ultimate frisbee is rapidly on the rise. It’s a somewhat non-traditional sport – for instance, there are no officials; the action is refereed by the players – but that’s part of its unique appeal. “You get a 25- or 26-year-old athlete,” Young says, “so the level of play is really high, but to watch, after the point, [opponents] high-fiving each other – there’s something to be said about that.”
“There is no trash talk,” Young says. “Sometimes it’s funny or ridiculous, but there is no trash talking, no taunting, and that’s nice. So more and more people, we want them to take a look at it, to experience it.”
Maine Ultimate is online at www.maineultimate.org and www.facebook.com/MaineUltimate.. Young can be emailed with inquiries at [email protected]
Maine Ultimate will host its first Vacationland and Ultimate Food Truck Event later this month.
The Portland Red Tide will participate in the Vacationland tournament, alongside dozens of other teams from around Maine and the Northeast. Here, the Red Tide’s Jon Gilbert, dives past an opponent to grab a pass.