The Ultimate Ethos: Challenges, Cooptation and Survival During Ultimate’s Adolescence

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Ultimate is the fastest growing field sport in America. Created in 1968, forty-five years later the sport was still on the periphery of the mainstream but reached new heights in 2013 – two professional leagues, over 800 college teams and a broadcasting deal with ESPN – and the discussions throughout the sports’ history have never been as relevant. Self-officiation and the Spirit of the Game are the main tenets that make up the ethos of the sport and its community. These unique aspects differentiate Ultimate’s predominate culture from that of mainstream sports culture. This study shows the countercultural ties and ... continued below

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Brooks, David August 2013.

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  • Brooks, David

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Ultimate is the fastest growing field sport in America. Created in 1968, forty-five years later the sport was still on the periphery of the mainstream but reached new heights in 2013 – two professional leagues, over 800 college teams and a broadcasting deal with ESPN – and the discussions throughout the sports’ history have never been as relevant. Self-officiation and the Spirit of the Game are the main tenets that make up the ethos of the sport and its community. These unique aspects differentiate Ultimate’s predominate culture from that of mainstream sports culture. This study shows the countercultural ties and survival of the ethos during the adolescent period of Ultimate’s evolution (1987-2010). It examines the progression of the community’s established grassroots culture and the governing body of the sport alongside the influx of young players with mainstream sports attitudes who bolstered certain organizers’ attempts to alter Ultimate in the hopes of gaining “legitimacy” through adding third-party officials, commercialization and corporate sponsorship.

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  • August 2013

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  • March 8, 2015, 5:44 p.m.

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  • Nov. 16, 2016, 2:20 p.m.

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Brooks, David. The Ultimate Ethos: Challenges, Cooptation and Survival During Ultimate’s Adolescence, thesis, August 2013; Denton, Texas. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc500209/: accessed May 24, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; .