The most important thing - this is a pickup game. We play for fun. We enjoy learning some strategy and getting in a good workout - but we are mainly out here to play and have fun.
But are you a newbie? Here is a link to check out rules, how to play, and learn about the history of the game.
Although the official rules are rather lengthy (see the 11th edition here - http://www.usaultimat..., they can be boiled down to 10 rather simple rules.
1. The Field -- A rectangular shape with endzones at each end. A regulation field is 64m by 37m, with endzones 18m deep. (Our fields are usually measured in "Caz steps," with the field 50 Caz Steps wide by 70 Caz Steps long, with endzones 18 Caz Steps deep.)
2. Initiate Play -- Each point begins with both teams lining up on the front of their respective endzone line. The defense throws ("pulls") the disc to the offense. A regulation game has seven players per team. (We usually start playing when we have 10 people, so 5-on-5, and split into two games when we reach 20+ people, so two games of at least 5-on-5. We don't sub, so we WILL play 7-on-6, 9-on-8, and even 5-on-4 if necessary.)
3. Scoring -- Each time the offense completes a pass in the defense's endzone, the offense scores a point. Play is initiated after each score. (Again, we don't keep score.)
4. Movement of the Disc -- The disc may be advanced in any direction by completing a pass to a teammate. Players may not run with the disc. The person with the disc ("thrower") has ten seconds to throw the disc. The defender guarding the thrower ("marker") counts out the stall count.
5. Change of possession -- When a pass in not completed (e.g. out of bounds, drop, block, interception), the defense immediately takes possession of the disc and becomes the offense.
6. Substitutions -- Players not in the game may replace players in the game after a score and during an injury timeout. (We don't have subs...but, if you're just joining the game, or coming back from getting water, it's courteous to wait until the current point is ended.)
7. Non-contact -- No physical contact is allowed between players. Picks and screens are also prohibited. A foul occurs when contact is made. (This is a pickup game, safety first.)
8. Fouls -- When a player initiates contact on another player a foul occurs. When a foul disrupts possession, the play resumes as if the possession was retained. If the player committing the foul disagrees with the foul call, the play is redone.
9. Self-Refereeing -- Players are responsible for their own foul and line calls. Players resolve their own disputes.
10. Spirit of the Game -- Ultimate stresses sportsmanship and fair play. Competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of respect between players, adherence to the rules, and the basic joy of play.
There are a number of other places to play Ultimate in the Chicagoland area. Here are some links that might help:
Some other interesting notes & answers to frequently asked questions:
Q: Do you play in the rain?
A: Yes! Rain is the best! The ground is soft and like a slip 'n slide when you dive, and you can get as dirty as you want! However, for safety reasons, we will usually suspend/call off a game during a lightning storm.
Q: What if it's really windy?
A: Then your throws are going to suck. Just like mine will. And everyone else's. We often move the field down a bit toward the tree line to get a little bit of a break.
Q: Why does it feel like everyone knows everyone else?
A: Many of us hang out with each other outside of Ultimate (although many of us initially met through Ultimate).
Q: How can I throw better?
Q: How can I throw a forehand?
A: Have someone teach you (just ask anyone), and then practice. Then practice more.
Q: Why are there sometimes snacks and beverages?
A: Recently, a number of people have brought in snacks and beverages to celebrate their birthdays. It's not expected, but always appreciated.
Q: What if my birthday is during winter?
A: Half-birthday snacks taste just as good.
Q: How long do you guys usually play?
A: Depends. Weekday nights during spring/fall, we play until the forest preserve cops kick us out (sundown). Weekday nights during the summer, we play until the mosquitoes come out. On weekends, usually between 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 hours, depending on how long everyone wants to play.
Q: Can I bring a friend?
A: Yes, please! Bring all your friends and family! Yell at everyone you know on Facebook and tell them to play!
Q: Can I take pictures?
A: I think most of us are fine with pictures. Make sure to post them to the Meetup site so everyone can see how cool they look.
Q: What else can I do to get involved?
A: Buy and bring a disc (Discraft Ultrastar discs are the standard. NOT the Wham-o "Ultimate Frisbee" discs. Many "serious" Ultimate players look down on those. They're fine, they just feel a little different. Make sure they weigh 175g though.).
Buy and bring cones. 8 cones will make a field.
FIND US A RELATIVELY-NEARBY FIELD THAT IS AVAILABLE WITH LIGHTS SO WE CAN PLAY AT NIGHT WITH A LIGHT-UP DISC
There are a number of places to buy discs. I personally like - http://discshoppe.com... - but have known others who like - http://discace.com/... - Furthermore, a few of us buy discs in bulk and will sell them pretty cheaply ($5-$7 each, no tax/shipping). Just ask around.
Q: What can I do to get better?
A: Play more.
Buy and read "Ultimate Techniques and Tactics" by Parinella and Zaslow.
Read articles in the online publication "The Huddle."
Read through the "Zip's Tips" from a former Brown Ultimate player - http://www.brown.edu/...
Read through this brief list of general tips - http://www.meetup.com...
Pick a skill you want to improve. Find someone who is better at that skill than you are. Ask that person for help.