Brent, Asanda, Phindile, and Max

Interviews 2 Comments

In this episode I talk to 4 members of the South African Ultimate community. We talk about the status of Ultimate in their country, their work to promote healthy lifestyles, and their vision for the future of the sport on the African continent.

Michael and Tiina

Interviews No Comments

In this episode I talk to Michael Baccarini and Tiina Booth about their just published book Essential Ultimate. We talk about how they first met, the genesis of their book, and how Ultimate has changed over the years.

If you’d like to pick up your own copy of the book, email either Michael (baccarini dot michael at paideiaschool dot org) or Tiina (tiinabooth at hotmail dot com)

Darden, George, and Casey

Interviews No Comments

In this episode I talk to George Stubbs, Casey Ikeda, and Darden Pitts. We talk about topics such as what it’s like to play on high level high school Ultimate teams, their opinions on what makes a team successful, and their most intense games.

Jim and Joe

Interviews No Comments

In this episode I talk to Joe Bisignano and Jim Pistrang about what it’s like to run large Middle School Ultimate programs. We talk about their history with the sport, what they’ve done to build their programs, and what kinds of obstacles they’ve overcome.

Five Ultimate

Interviews No Comments

In this episode I talk to the five that make up Five Ultimate. We talk about how they got started, where they’re headed, and what it’s like living life as a Titcomb.


Five Ultimate

Five siblings: we are Zahlen, Xtehn, Vehro, Rohre, and Qxhna. Though originally from Seattle, we’ve recently also been based in Chicago, Beijing, and New England. We’ve played Ultimate for over 35 years combined, and with ages of 25, 24, 22, 20, and 14, we’re not stopping anytime soon. —Look for us on and off the field at tournaments around the world… who knows where we’ll next pop up! 

Zahlen, age 25, is the head of production and R&D at Five Ultimate. He graduated from University of Chicago in International Studies, Economics, and Italian Literature. Before Five Ultimate, he worked in finance and healthcare consulting in Beijing. On the field, he plays mixed in Seattle, and captains the Beijing ultimate team, where he has been instrumental in growing ultimate as a common sport in China. 

Xtehn, 24, is in charge of marketing and accounting for Five. He worked for the Italian Trade Commission in Chicago before starting Five Ultimate. Though he’s on the road travelling to ten tournaments around the country this winter, his base is in Seattle where he co-captained the Seattle #2 club team, Voodoo, and coaches the Roosevelt High School Ultimate team. 

Vehro, 22, is in charge of sales and customer service for Five. He interned at the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network while attending the University of Chicago, but jumped head first into the company after moving to Seattle in April 2007. On the field, he was a co-captain of Seattle Voodoo in 2007. 

Rohre, 20, is a junior at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, where she’s majoring in Chinese and Arabic, minoring in environmental studies, and is finally playing Ultimate again after years healing and rebuilding an injured right shoulder. Though currently away from Dartmouth researching the environmental sustainability of bamboo textile manufacturing, Rohre is continuing to be an on-call consultant for Five and is integrally involved with many of Five’s projects.

Qxhna, 14, is a freshman at The Hotchkiss School, where Z, X, V, and R also went to high school. Following up on her 8 years of schooling in French, Italian, and Chinese public schools, she’s concentrating in language studies and is the clear master of languages amongst the five kids. Because of the less developed youth Ultimate scenes outside of the US, she’s played almost exclusively at the club level in Asia, Europe, and the US. Before attending Hotchkiss, she trained as an acrobatic freestyle skier and was the French national champion in 2007 in the under-15 girls division. 

Frank and Todd

Interviews 6 Comments

In this episode I talk to Frank Huguenard and Todd Leber (Ulticritic). We talk about who they are, why they do what they do, and their views on many different topics.

Todd Leber: I started playing in 79’ in high school in Fairfax va. Moved to wilm in 81’ as a freshman joined local team, cape fear gale force. After 5 years splintered off with a nc combo team called nobody and whored around for a few years then hooked up with the local college kids for a couple years on the college circuit (hosted 89’college nationals, founded college easterns tourney, td’ed dozens others along the way) coached uncweed, started wilm summer league, captained club team to its first nationals appearance in 92 and pretty much fizzled after that competitively. In 95 planed out formation of NUA. Hosted and reffed in 96 club allstar showcase (first official game of ultimate ever to be officiated by a 6 man crew) then hosted a 7 team elite nua tourney (dog won) then nua fizzles out…..only to be reborn and die in 2005 then morph into MLU in 06 which again dissolved. At that point I took off my promoter hat and put on my critic hat and became ulticritic.

Frank Huguenard began playing Frisbee in the late 1960′s and being from a large chaotic family in Indiana, grew up fiercely competitive. By the late seventies, Frank had become fairly proficient with a disc and being athletically inclined, when he heard that there was a Frisbee-centric team sport on the Purdue campus, he immediately took to it and became involved with the sport called Ultimate. Being a square peg stuffed into a round hole (a competitive jock amongst a culture designed specifically to  accommodate neither), Frank has spent decades ostensibly miserable in a environment (ironically created to emphasize fun and inclusion) that he consistently experienced as hostile and unaccepting towards him, his out of the box thinking and his unconventional throws & moves.

Late in 2003, after watching the movie Dog Town and Z-Boys (a documentary highlighting the birth of modern skateboarding), Frank set out to understand why Ultimate Frisbee never realized the same evolutionary growth and explosiveness that the Skateboard community experienced.

In this ground breaking interview, we’ll hear from Frank in his own words just how he’s come to the conclusion that Ultimate Frisbee was developed intentionally to thwart innovation and evolution and how, from a historical point of view, the game was simply never meant to be competitive. In response to his own conclusions regarding Ultimate Frisbee, Frank has developed an alternative new sport called Dischoops that he feels is everything Ultimate should have been but is not.

More information on Frank at

Meredith and Kyle

Interviews No Comments

While out in Boulder at my first UPA Board meeting I managed to snag Meredith Tosta and Kyle Weisbrod for a quick interview. Kyle was the UPA’s Director of Youth Development from ’02 to ’06, and Meredith took over his position in 2006. During the interview we cover what’s it’s like to head up US youth Ultimate as well as how they found themselves working at the UPA.

DeAnna and Chase

Interviews 3 Comments

In this episode I talk with DeAnna Ball and Chase Sparling-Beckley, this year’s UPA Spirit Award winners. We talk about what it’s like for them to have won the award as well as cover their thoughts on tough marks, the best tournaments they have ever been to, and how they got started in the world of Ultimate.

DeAnnaDeAnna: I was born in Gary, Indiana and grew up in Northwest Indiana (otherwise known as “The Region”). I did my undergrad at Purdue, where I first started playing Ultimate with a group of engineering grad students (1991). I attended Ohio State for my graduate work, and earned my PhD in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology in 2001. For the last five years, I have worked as an editor for science textbooks at Glencoe/McGraw-Hill. I also teach at Columbus State Community College.

In the time that I’ve lived in Columbus, Ohio, I have played Ultimate with the local men’s team, women’s teams from Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Ann Arbor, and Columbus, as well as a year of mixed with Cocoa (out of Columbus). I have played in the local summer league and have been minorly involved in the Columbus Ultimate Disc Association (CUDA). In 2006 I stepped in as the coach for the Ohio State Women’s Ultimate team–Fever.

I have volunteered for the UPA as a Women’s Regional Coordinator (Central Region. 1999-2002) and am the current National Women’s Director (2002-current). I have attended about 150 tournaments in the 16 years that I have been playing Ultimate, including participating in 5 UPA Championships (San Diego in 1999, and in Sarasota 2004-2007). Currently I am stepping out of competitive Ultimate but hope to play locally and continue attending tournaments.

I live with my partner Beth, 4 cats (Jake, Casey, Matilda, and Angus) and 3 dogs (Cody, Sidney, and Marty).


ChaseChase: You can learn all about Chase here, here, and here (PDF).

I started playing ultimate in high school in Seattle, Washington, with a team named MoHo. From Seattle I attended college in Northfield, Minnesota at Carleton and played with the Carleton Ultimate Team for four years. During school in Minnesota I also started playing Club ultimate with the Minneapolis Men’s team, Sub Zero. After graduation I moved back to Seattle and began playing with Seattle Sockeye, where I have been for the last four years. Since moving home I have also been coaching ultimate at local high schools, and at the youth club level.

What would you ask?

Questions No Comments

Early next week I’m talking to Chase Sparling-Beckley and DeAnna Ball about their recent Spirit Awards. After that I have MikeG, Frank, and Ulticritic scheduled to talk about the future of the game. My question to everyone out there is:

What would you like to ask them?

You can post your questions in the comments section of this post, email them directly to me, or better yet, post them in the voice comments section of this site. (Voice comments have the chance of being played during the podcast.)

Tiina and George

Interviews No Comments


In this episode I talk with Tiina Booth and George Cooke about their experiences running NUTC and the UCPC. We also cover some stories about their lives and their vision for the future of Ultimate.


Tiina Booth

Tiina Booth moved to Amherst in 1989 when she was hired as an English teacher at Amherst Regional High School. In 1992 she founded the Amherst Invitational, the oldest high school ultimate tournament in the U.S. She coaches the boys’ varsity team at ARHS and in 1997 was featured in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” for her coaching achievements.

In 1998 Booth co-founded the Junior National Ultimate Championship, which her team eventually won. For the next four years, her team finished in the top four, with runner-up finishes in 2001 and 2002. The following year, the Hurricanes won the national title again in Birmingham, Alabama; they repeated in 2004 in Corvallis, Oregon. In 2005 they won the Easterns Championships in Pittsburgh and finished second at YCC in Minneapolis.

Booth also coached the U.S. Juniors Boys Team at the World Ultimate Championships in 1998 and 2000, winning the gold and bronze medals respectively. In 2004, she coached this team again with Michael Baccarini and they took home the gold, with a victory over the Canadian juniors in the finals. She is currently working on a book about ultimate with Michael Baccarini, which is due out this month!

In 2001 Tiina founded the National Ultimate Training Camp, the first overnight Ultimate camp in the world. Since it’s first year with only one session of 28 campers, NUTC has expanded into 3 sessions of 100 campers each. Campers have come in from all over the US and several foreign countries.

In 2007 along with George Cooke, Booth founded the Ultimate Coaches and Players Conference. The conference brings together Ultimate personalities from all over the US for a full day of lectures, panel discussions, and the Ultimate Expo.

She has coached such players as Stephen Rouisse (Colorado University, Johnny Bravo), Josh Ziperstein (Chain, Brown, DoG, 2005 US World Games team), Darden Pitts (DoG), and Will Neff (Twisted Metal).


George Cooke

George Cooke: I was born in Philadelphia in 1964. I moved around a bit as kid, but grew up primarily in Ithaca, NY. I was introduced to the sport of Ultimate in 1976 at Hampshire College , where my father was teaching summer school mathematics. I also developed an interest in music while in high school, and the Cornell Ultimate furthered my interest in Ultimate. My friends and I formed the first Ithaca High School team in 1981. I attended UMASS/Amherst and played for ZooDisc in the fall of 1982. I dropped out of the sport in 1983 to pursue a career in music. It was at UMASS that I met my wife and we were married in 1992.

My wife and I moved to Boston in 1991, prior to getting married. I started working at Boston College, where I work now in the theater department. I pursued fame and fortune as a musician in the early 1990′s, but had more success as a sound engineer as I toured the country several times. Our daughter was born in 1997, and it was then that I was re-introduced to Ultimate. I made my debut at Nationals in the Mixed Div at the age of 35. I retired as a player in 2005, and I have been coaching the Wellesley College team since 2003. My family currently lives in Newton, Mass.

If you’d like to read more about George head on over to his website.


Lots of the information from Tiina’s bio was taken from and

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