Growing Ultimate in Uruguay and Argentina. AFDC and SPIN are Helping Make a Difference

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Read below to see how AFDC’s donation of 80 discs and SPIN’s donation of jerseys and apparel are helping Ultimate frisbee grow in South America.

AFDC’ers introduction to Ultimate Frisbee in Uruguay

by Matt Kress

Fellow AFDC’ers, Asa & Randi Wilson and Matt Kress went down to Montevideo, Uruguay for 6 months to have a long vacation and change in location. They ended up meeting and playing with the local Ultimate frisbee group. They found the local team through a facebook group titled “Ultimate Uruguay”. The local team was started three years ago by two brothers, Carlos and Juan Martin.

When the group arrived in Uruguay, they met Carlos and his brother and learned the story of how they learned about and started playing Ultimate.

About three years ago, Carlos and his brother, Juan Martin, met someone from the United States on the beach who had a disc with him. They quickly gained interest in the flying disc and decided to throw with him. They would meet him on weekends to throw on the beach. When he left Uruguay, he left the disc with the two brothers. They really liked the sport and decided to keep playing so they slowly convinced their friends to join them on the beach and toss a disc around.

Eventually, the disc cracked. Generally, this is not a problem since most people that play in the states can borrow one from a friend or head over to the local sporting goods store and buy a new one. Not in Uruguay. There are no frisbees down there. This is the disc they continued to play with for months.

Carlos and Juan decided to attend a tournament in Buenos Aires with 5 of their friends and were able to get another disc there.

Carlos and JuanMa (Juan Martin) started getting in touch with Physical Education teachers, people at the government and other organizations to help spread the sport. They created hundreds of flyers about the 10 steps to Ultimate Frisbee and passed them out.

Today, in order to grow the sport, Carlos and the others commute to different schools and organizations in Uruguay to teach others and grow the sport. In three years, Ultimate Frisbee has grown in Uruguay from two brothers to about 25 people who actively play in Montevideo and it’s starting to gain traction in different parts of the country.

One of the biggest advantages ultimate has here is the spirit of the game. In South America, spirit of the game is extremely important. There are clinics and meetings about spirit of the game at all the tournaments. This helps separate the sport from soccer, which is close to the opposite of Ultimate when it comes to sportsmanship and comradere.

Here are two news clips of PR in Uruguay for Ultimate Frisbee. Both of them are in Spanish, but check them out to see what it’s like.

-A local youth TV show. The video is pretty funny.

-A quick news segment on the most popular news channel here.  AFDC’ers make an appearance

Another group that we were extremely impressed with is from Bahia Blanca, Argentina. They are promoting ultimate throughout all levels of schools and also at events on the beach. When I was at a beach tournament in Monte Hermoso, Argentina, there was a break in the middle of each day that was used to teach youth how to play. They had small promotional frisbees to give away from one of their tournament sponsors: DirecTV.

It was awesome to see everyone promoting the sport, teaching the youth, and even holding a game of Ultimate Frisbee with everyone they taught. Here are some pictures:

AFDC AND SPIN giving support in South America

To help support the growth of Ultimate, Spin gave us some apparel to give out since only a couple people actually had some type of jersey.  All of the items Spin donated were used as prizes to reward players with great spirit, great work ethic, and eagerness to promote the sport and teach others.

The AFDC donated 80 discs to give out to groups who help the sport grow and teach Ultimate at all levels of schooling. The donations are going to ensure that Ultimate frisbee can be taught and help grow the sport.

We even had support from a local customs brokerage company that helped import the discs. You can read about that here.

We gave 25 of the discs to the ultimate frisbee group in Uruguay so each person could have a disc and teach others wherever they were at (beach, school, hanging out with friends, etc).

We gave 25 discs to Carlos for growing the sport at different places he visits and giving a disc or two to different physical education and youth teachers.

We gave 15 discs to an ultimate frisbee group that I met in Bahia Blanca, Argentina. They have been getting PR and growing ultimate through different levels of schooling and at fun events at the beach.

We gave discs to individuals as we met them who regularly grow the sport and teach others.

The impact of these discs was immediately seen. Carlos and Juan Martin were able to donate discs to physical education teachers who started teaching the basics in their schools at the middle school and high school level. A group of ultimate players are getting together about eight hours away from Montevideo closer to Brasil.

Clinics are being held to teach teachers and individuals about the sport, how to play, and how to recruit players. They are seeing the most traction in schools just under the college level.

Carlos says, “The discs help us a lot. Before then, we have very few discs and they were very used, not in good condition because they are difficult to get discs here. Now, everybody of the team has his own disc, so if they want to practice in their own they could and that is very important because they can also show what is Ultimate to their friends because they have a disc to play! The discs help us in the practices for the tournament that we went too. And we also are spreading the discs in schools or other places where teachers told us that they are teaching Ultimate.”

Thank you Spin and AFDC

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