Ultimate the Greatest Sport Ever Invented by Man
Leonardo, Pasquale Anthony. Ultimate the Greatest Sport Ever Invented by Man, Halcottsville, NY: Breakaway Books, 2008. 148 pp. 978-1891369759. paperback. $14.00.
DESCRIPTION: What’s Under the Cover?
Ultimate the Greatest Sport Ever Invented by Man written by Pasquale Anthony Leonardo with art by Cade Beaulieu presents the many aspects of our sport — its athleticism, inclusiveness, sense of community, base silliness, notorious soirees and, most importantly, its spirit. The book progresses over a series of short chapters, covering topics like “What is Ultimate?”, “Cheers: How to Tell the World Your Weird”, “Training: Can it Happen to You”, and is interspersed with profiles of “Player Types”, “Tips from the Experts” and Ultimate related quizzes. Fact and fiction blend together to offer innumerable inside jokes.
Leonardo has been playing Ultimate since 1988 and is one of the co-authors of Ultimate: the First Four Decades. He also keeps a blog that discusses all things Ultimate.
You can find some additional information on the official promotional website advertising the book.
DISCUSSION: Is it Only Satire and No Facts?
There is actually a lot of “useful” and noteworthy information in this book. The sections on travel arrangements (p. 36), tournaments (p. 45), Beach Ultimate (p. 97), Ultimate overseas (p. 100) all offer some helpful information. But mostly there is just a lot of fun. Topics about Player Types, Divisions of Play, the History of Ultimate, Academics and Ultimate, the Hookup Scene or Ultimate in Popular Culture described in the various sections are done mainly with pure humor. The main goal is to offer you an opportunity to reflect on the sport you love and the player you are, that simple. One of my favorite quotes comes early on when Leonardo is describing player types. He writes, “Like Dungeons & Dragons characters, most Ultimate players regard themselves as a mixture of types such as Athlete-Engineer, Oddball-Rec Leaguer or Drunken Half-Elf Fighter” (p. 11). It is that last bit of satire that makes it funny while delivering something Ultimate players will love to talk about.
CRITICAL EVALUATION: What could be done in a third edition?
Well, my bias is probably out of the bag. If you haven’t guessed by the language I’ve used above, I really enjoyed this book. I laughed a lot, shared quotes with my teammates, tried to decide what player type I am and promised myself to get out to as many of the “Ten Tournaments Not to Miss in Your Lifetime” (listed on p. 49). I do not own a copy of the first edition to this book; I’ll have to track one down someday. So, I based this review on the second edition, but I don’t think there were too many changes done beyond having an excuse to do a second printing.
I think if there is ever a new printing and a third edition that maybe beyond “irreverent changes”, Leonardo could throw in some interviews with players, or a section on how the different generations of Ultimate players (and coaches) coexist. I think there could be some hilarious commentary about how Local Oldsters view Preppie High schoolers. Maybe it will be in his next Ultimate (colon) book.
In the end if you are looking for a book covering the subject of Ultimate mimetically written with the spirit of the game in mind, this is the right choice for you.
READERS ADVISORY: More Words on Ultimate…
As for additional reads, it is hard to say exactly. Because of the humor, there really isn’t another work out there that views Ultimate through such a satirical lens. So, for the history side of things you can always check out Leonardo’s first book Ultimate the First Four Decades; Frisbee: A Practitioner’s Manual and Definitive Treatise; or the Complete Book of Frisbee.
Thanks for reading!