Oscar Cunningham presents Ultimate Frisbee
Those who attended our meeting on Waitangi Day were lucky enough to hear Oscar Cunningham’s presentation on his sporting career to data as an Ultimate Frisbee player representing New Zealand.
The sport is not very well known in New Zealand but is growing in popularity.  At the recent national championships there were 8 teams competing from around the country. A few years ago there were only 3 teams.
Oscar is 18 and started playing Frisbee, almost by mistake, at Christchurch Boys High School. He was soon in the Canterbury team participating in the national championships.
In 2019, Oscar was selected to play for the New Zealand Under 20 Team and went to the Asia-Oceanic Junior Ultimate Championships in the Philippines.
A video of the U20 teams training can be seen here.
There are 7 players on the field for each team but there is a squad of 18 for a game. Due to the amount of running involved most players can only stay on the field for 3-4 minutes.  Especially if it is really hot (as it was in the Philippines). Substitutions can be made at the end of each point.
They have an “Offensive 7” and “Defensive 7” in the squad but, in general, all players need to be able to perform offensively and defensively.
They play on a field about the size of a rugby field. There is no tackling but you can obstruct the player with the Frisbee (similar to basketball).
There is a goal line at each end of the field. To score a point, the Frisbee has to be caught by a team member who is over the goal line (similar to American Football).
The first team to 15 points wins with a maximum game time of 90 minutes. Half-time is at 8 points.  There are some rules to handle situations where no one has scored 15 points within 90 minutes.
When each point is scored the teams swap ends so that advantages or challenges with sun and wind are shared throughout the game.
The game promotes a “spirit” different to other sports. One point of interest is that the game is “self-refereeing”. The players work out issues between them that would require a referee or umpire in other sports.
Oscar created so much interest about the sport and his involvement that there was a flood of questions afterward that doubled the length of his presentation.
Our Club had helped Oscar with some of the funding for his trip and, in hindsight, this was an excellent investment in a young person with lots of potential and the support of a unique but fascinating modern sport.