Saturday saw the return of a behemoth of the Birmingham sports world – Charity Mudbowl. Okay, so it’s the younger sister tournament of the biggest Ultimate (Frisbee) tournament in Alabama, Mudbowl. And you probably haven’t heard of Mudbowl either. In fact, there’s a good chance you don’t even know what Ultimate is. So you might be surprised to find that there is a substantial subculture that has a foothold in our city.
Ultimate – a sport played with a disc (a Frisbee to the layperson… isn’t being pretentious fun?) – combines elements of football, basketball, and soccer into a distinct and fun game of fast breaks and huge throws, called hucks. Zone defense, layouts, sky-high catches, and Callahans (kind of like a safety, it’s when a defender intercepts a pass in the opponents endzone for a score) are some highlights of an exciting, fast-paced game that athletes and fans from all walks of life can appreciate. Precision passing and methodical movement are essential for more competitive levels, levels of skill that all sports enthusiasts can a enjoy and respect.
Ultimate is played on a field laid out much like a football field, 70 yards long with two endzones 25 yards deep with a width of 40 yards. Each team puts seven “on the line” (you start at your endzone before the pull, which is like a kickoff). The disc is moved by throwing it from person to person, with the holder of the disc unable to move. You score by throwing it to a person into the endzone – kind of like football with no running game.
BUDA (Birmingham Ultimate Disc Association) is the governing body for Ultimate in Birmingham. BUDA sponsors annual summer and winter leagues as well as men’s and women’s traveling teams. Summer League 2010 is comprised of 16 teams with rosters of 20 players. Lawyers and writers, doctors and teachers, businesspersons, the unemployed, writers, bankers, pastors, and more. People with football backgrounds, basketball, baseball, soccer, and no athletic background at all.
Charity Mudbowl is indicative of this diverse population of Ultimate in Birmingham. 8 teams participated: BE & K, Jim ‘N’ Nicks, Alabama Power, Regions, Merrill Lynch/BBVA Compass, Redeemer/Mountain Brook Community Churches, UAB, and Southern Progress.
Held at George Ward Park, games were fun and competitive. Each team played 3 pool games with the top 2 from each advancing to the semifinals. BE&K played UAB while RCC/MBCC matched up against Merrill Lynch/BBVA Compass with BE&K and RCC/MBCC advancing to the finals.
RCC/MBCC emerged as the victors defeating defending-champion BE&K 13-11 in an exciting and competitive game throughout. RCC/MBCC led at the half 7-6. BE&K came roaring out of the gates, taking the first 3 points following halftime. RCC/MBCC tied the game at 10, then again at 11. Intense defense dominated the last two points, but it was the church-folk who came out on top.
All-in-all the day was great. Good spirit (that’s what we hippies like to call attitude and sportsmanship), good play, and good fun was displayed by most of the participants. But more important than the “Mudbowl” part of the tournament was the charity. All the money raised went to support Pathways.
2010 Pathways Mud Bowl Sponsors
Title Sponsor: Regions Bank
Platinum Sponsor: Southern Progress Corporation
BE&K / KBR
Mountain Brook Community Church and Redeemer Community Church
Robinson Fast Tax Service
Lunch Sponsor: Jim ‘N Nick’s
Total raised: $8,500
According to an employee, "Pathways will be able to provide 586 days of shelter and meals for the homeless women and children of Birmingham. That means 20 women and children in need will get the basics they need for a month, thanks to your support for Pathways. Our mission is to end homelessness for women and children through hospitality, housing, and hope. With your support, which represents the communities we live and work in, Pathways will continue to grow and serve those in need.”
Cheers to a great day full of sports, fun, and lending a hand! Thanks to all who participated and donated.
Oh, and come play Ultimate. It’s super fun.