A league that most people never thought would exist, the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL), has made it through its first season with the Philadelphia Spinners defeating the Indianapolis Alleycats in the championship game 29 to 22. The league is gaining credibility and even expanding to bigger markets next year, such as New York, Boston, and Chicago. MensFitness.com gets the inside scoop on what it was like playing in the first season of a professional league, and how the nature of the game stacked up against other high-level Ultimate leagues.
The New League
The AUDL brought about several new changes to the game of Ultimate never before seen by players. Referees were an unfamiliar institution for most, as the game has generally been self-officiated on all levels of play until recently, which often leads to more and more discrepancies the higher you go. As a result, the refs sped up the games.
Playing in front of a crowd and in a timed format also provided new aspects to the games. “The biggest difference for me has been that you can just show up and play as hard as you possibly can for one game,” says Brodie Smith of the Indianapolis Alleycats, comparing AUDL games to the more common tournament weekends Ultimate players take part in. “[In a tournament], everyone knows that you’ve got three, four, five games left after your first one, so there is that mental battle of, ‘when do I save my legs?’”
Jake Rainwater, an all-league team player from the champion Spinners agreed, saying it was easier on the body to just play one long game per weekend instead of playing six or seven over the course of Saturday and Sunday.