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Over-70s Virtuosos Added to Ultimate’s List

Tue, 05/21/2024 - 12:31
They shall not pass: Though the East Hampton Ultimate tournament’s players were over 40, they clearly weren’t over the hill.
Jack Graves

Four teams of over-40 Ultimate disc players, most of them from Brooklyn, vied at the John M. Marshall Elementary School’s fields on Saturday and Sunday in an annual Grand Masters tournament (the oldest such in the country) that Sas Peters of Amagansett has held here for years.

After Sunday’s final, which Brooklyn 1 won, defeating Brooklyn 2 by a score of 13-10, the 40 or so participants, a number of whom camped out at Peters’s house over the weekend, agreed to start a new over-70 division, to be known as the Virtuosos, that Peters expects to get up and going soon.

The Virtuosos, said Peters, will be the fourth age-group Ultimate division that has had its beginnings here, the others being the over-40 Grand Masters, the over-50 Great Grand Masters, and the over-60 Legends, “which we started three years ago, and which has tournaments now all over the country.”

The Brooklyn teams, he said, were made up of players largely in their 40s, while the Pelham team on which he played and the Jersey Geezers were older.

That being said, the quality of play, no matter the players’ ages, was, this writer can testify, intense — the turnovers being few, the pulls [Ultimate’s “kick-offs”] long, and the passing crisp.

Despite the age difference, and the fact that he and his teammates had been more or less thrown together, Pelham “held our own against Brooklyn 1, which had some very good athletes,” Peters said.

“Ultimate is great for the body and the spirit,” said Peters, who continues to play with 20-year-olds at the State University at Purchase in the summer, though he’ll soon turn 68.

Last fall, in Sarasota, Fla., Peters won his seventh Ultimate disc world championship as a member of Surly, a Minnesota-based team that was the Great Grand Masters division titlist there.

The over-50 players, not to mention the over-60s, were, he said at the time, “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 in action. . . . Our short-pass offense exhausted the opposing defenses, and our pulls often ended in the opposing team’s end zone, after which we’d put the clamps on, making diving blocks and interceptions.”

The unrefereed sport, whose players are expected to acknowledge their fouls, could well serve as an international preceptor, Peters has said. “We could solve a lot of the world’s problems if we used the methods and spirit of Ultimate Frisbee. Resolving disputes in a friendly, supportive way, as we do in Ultimate, is an example of how we should act in the world.”

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