“Ugh. Not cool, dude.”
That’s how I like to imagine every college frisbee kid scrolling through r/ultimate. The big news, if you haven’t heard by now, is that the AUDL has been canceled.
Devastating, I know.
What is the AUDL, you ask? The American Ultimate Disc League.
Is ultimate frisbee a sport? Well, we at Deadspin have spent the last two weeks writing about NASCAR. So, sure, ultimate is a sport.
The cancellation is a real blow to ultimate athletes, whose starting salaries are between $350 and $700 per season.
But it’s not just the cash. Like all athletes, frisbee players have ambitions outside their economic interests. They play for the love of the game, man.
AUDL players may have had summer dreams of skipping that Friday afternoon zoom call to hop in a carpool with “the boys” and drive 16 hours to play the Minnesota Wind Chill or the Indianapolis AlleyCats. Maybe they’ll stop at an Arby’s or a Wendy’s or any other chain with a “‘s” and fill up on grub only to run it off the next day.
This is not an attack on the sport, this is just how ultimate athletes operate. I’m friends with a few.
As a liberal arts college alumnus, I am almost required to know folks who are obsessed with ultimate. But there are frisbee kids at every school. Some throw discs around the quad or practice with a competitive club team. Others have higher standards, like playing in front of tens of people at AUDL games.
But this summer, the AUDL will have to wait. The league canceled its season over COVID-19 concerns.
In a statement, the AUDL wrote: “After announcing the postponement of the regular season in March due to growing concerns over the community spread of COVID19 and its potential impact on the health and safety of AUDL players, officials, staff and fans, league leadership began to explore a number of scenarios to hold a shortened season in 2020.” Eventually, “the AUDL executive council decided that holding a 2020 season was not the right decision.”
Yes, college frisbee players may miss streaming their favorite teams this year and Ultimate athletes miss the roadtrips.
But in a sports world with “bubbles” in COVID hot spots and baseball starting in places it shouldn’t, you gotta give credit to the AUDL. The decision to cancel play will prevent needless infections and needless sights of ultimate in your local park.