Ultimate the ultimate for Mavericks

Known as a game played with honor and outstanding sportsmanship, ultimate continues to spread throughout the Northwest, including Queen Anne.

But apart from the unique rules of ultimate, the fun of the game is the highlight for McClure Middle School's ultimate team.

"It's fun and I enjoy it being a self-refereed sport," said Maverick eighth-grader Nick Hanway, who's in his third year on the team. "It's a good mix of most sports and it's as competitive. Everybody is out there to have fun, not just to win. And we have to pay attention because we are the refs."

In ultimate, the players on the field make all the calls - from fouls to travels, which calls for honesty and an ability to problem solve, according to coach Justin Sklar.

"I like that it's a game of honor," said Sklar, who played ultimate at the University of Oregon. "It teaches kids how to solve problems. They have to be leaders and they have to recover quicker from mistakes on the field."

The self-referee aspect of the game adds to what Sklar calls ultimate's "spirit."

"It's still competitive, but the spirit is the biggest part of the game," he said. "They learn the rules. They play by the rules and they adhere to the rules."

And ultimate, unlike any other competitive sport, is co-ed. The Maverickss current roster has room for 25 players, and Sklar said he hopes every week to get at least three to five girls. Though registration ended for sixth to eighth grade boys, Sklar said he'll accept girls at any time in the season simply because the team always seems to be short of them.

The boys on the team are "doing everything in their power to encourage girls to get out on the field," Sklar said. But he noted the difficulty is the crossover with the soccer season and the fact that parents haven't caught on to ultimate yet and students may never have heard of the game until becoming a Maverick either.

But ultimate is a sport for beginners, as sixth grader Collin Barrett attests. The Mavericks have gotten a slow start, too. They're 0-2.

"[I joined] because I knew it was a growing game and I wanted to learn," Barrett said.

After his first few weeks of playing ultimate, Barrett said he's learned a lot about the sport and he's convinced, "Everyone should play at least once in their life. We don't have enough girls and I think they would like it since they usually get to play a lot."

The on-field ratio Sklar hopes to maintain is four boys and three girls, though teams can play a 5:2 ratio. Sklar has three committed girls so far.

Aside from recruiting more girls, Sklar is focused on passing his passion for ultimate to his players.[[In-content Ad]]