Up North: Duluth Ultimate Community’s championship full of frisbees and flakes

Ultimate frisbee can be intense.

“I want to win every match up,” said Duluth Ultimate Community participant Thomas Sullivan. “If somebody has the same last name as me, I’m guarding them every time. If someone’s got the same first name as me, I’m on them.”

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While Sullivan is quite competitive, he also appreciates the atmosphere that the league has created.

“These beautiful nights, people are gathered around the fire and are just enjoying talking, watching, cheering, heckling their friends. I love it.”

The Duluth Ultimate Community provides an experience for competitiveness, but also a less intense opportunity to be part of a community.

“This is a very welcoming community,” said Ben Nicklay, who serves as the league director. “We’re open to people of all skill levels, whether you’re just brand new to the sport, getting into shape, or if you’ve been playing frisbee with your college friends or whatever. We’re open to anybody.”

On a snowy Monday night in Duluth, Chester Bowl was filled with laughter and smiles, as the championship match was being played. In the end, it was the Turtles who beat the Mushrooms to claim the league title.

Pure love of the sport is what keeps familiar faces around, according to Nicklay and Sullivan.

“People come out, they really love the sport, so even this cold, snowy weather isn’t holding people back.”

“Honestly, I think I think of ultimate frisbee in these leagues with the community as kind of the prime of my life,” added Sullivan. “I love the sport and I have for years. I learned it in eighth grade, which was like 20 years ago and I’ve been playing ever since.”

The league runs a fall, spring and summer league and is always looking for new members. To learn more, click here.