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Seventh Ultimate Disc Gold for Sas Peters

Tue, 11/21/2023 - 18:50
Sas Peters, back center, recently won an Ultimate Disc Great Grand Masters (over-50) world championship in Sarasota, Fla., with the Surly, a Minnesota team.
Courtesy of Sas Peters

Sas Peters came into The Star’s office the other day wearing a gold medal that he had won recently at the world Ultimate Disc championships in Sarasota, Fla. — the seventh such that the Amagansetter has won in the free-flowing, unrefereed sport whose players own up to their own fouls.

“If we used the methods and spirit of Ultimate Frisbee, we could solve a lot of the world’s problems,” said Peters, the championship Minnesota-based Surly team’s sole invitee, even though, at 67, he was about 20 years older than his teammates and their Great Grand Masters (over-50) division opponents.

“Macho behavior has no place in sports or in the world,” the gold medal winner continued. “It is the source of so much of the trouble we have in the world today. Resolving disputes in a friendly, supportive way, as we do in Ultimate, is an example of how we should act in the world. . . . It was such an honor to be included with these amazing athletes — they’re all highly accomplished on the field and off. Their mantra is respect the game, respect your opponent. Surly, which has the best Ultimate program in the country, wins the spirit awards at almost every tournament.”

Peters reminded this writer that the Grand Masters (over-40), Great Grand Masters, and Legends (over-60) divisions all had their beginnings here at East Hampton Village’s Herrick Park, where he oversees an annual Ultimate tournament the weekend before Memorial Day weekend. “At this year’s tournament,” he said, “we’re going to get everyone together, have a huge bonfire, and figure out the name for the next division, the over-70s.”

When asked if over-60 players other than he could still cut it, Peters, who sprints, lifts weights, and does plyometrics daily, and plays with 20-year-olds in a Westchester County summer league, smiled and said, “They’re still running like rabbits, diving, throwing . . . it’s amazing to see some of these incredibly great old players who I brought back to the game with the Legends division in action, guys like Steve Mooney and Finley Waugh, who were unstoppable when they played with Boston’s Rude Boys in the ‘80s. And ‘Ironman,’ David Barkan, and David Gessner too. They all played on the Dead Ringers, a team I’ve played with, which once again won the Legends division in Sarasota.”

Barkan, he said, “has started this amazing organization called Ultimate Peace. Every year, he runs camps in the Israeli-Palestine area, bringing together Jewish and Palestinian kids to promote peace, harmony, sportsmanship, and, most of all, spirit. The other David, a wonderful guy, has written a fabulous book, ‘Ultimate Glory,’ which has had incredible reviews. All these guys came back because I started the Legends division.”

It was Surly’s disc-control offense and tenacious defense that had won the world’s Great Grand Masters championship, said Peters, who has won six world championships with that team. Unaccountably, he said, the top three Great Grand Masters teams, including his, were put into the same pool, with four teams in each of the three other pools.

The eventual champions, “the best Surly team I’ve ever played on,” came out of pool play with a 2-0 record, having prevailed 12-8 in its first game, with Boston’s No Country, and 11-9 versus the Relics.

“Our short-pass offense — we’ll average 50 to 60 passes per point — exhausts the opposing defense. We really wear them out. And, on defense, we shut the other teams down. Our pulls, Ultimate’s kickoffs, are incredible — they usually get to the end of the opposing team’s end zone — and then we put the clamps on, making endless diving blocks and interceptions. Surly’s defense was led by Russ Adams, an unbelievable defender, and the captain of Surly, Mark Enright, whose nickname is Paco, is the greatest athlete I’ve ever seen at almost any age. On both offense and defense. He’s in his 50s and can jump literally three or four feet in the air.”

Once out of pool play, Surly put the hammer down, defeating Sick, a Texas team, 15-6, Atlanta’s Pain 14-5 in the semis, and, in the final, the Western Springs Ultimate Club (WeSuc) 15-3, with Peters scoring the winning goal.

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