One of my sons, CJ, plays for the professional Ultimate Disc Team in Chicago. They’re part of the American Ultimate Disc League. The name of the team is the Chicago Wildfire.  For those of you who don’t know what ultimate disc is (and I suspect there are many), it’s Frisbee … but they can’t use the word Frisbee, because it’s trademarked. Hence, Ultimate Disc.

Last weekend my husband, daughter, and I traveled to Pittsburgh to see my son’s first game on this team. He started his journey in Disc by playing at the University of Illinois. Last year, he played for Cincinnati’s professional team. Representing Chicago was a dream come true for him. Traveling to the game in Pittsburgh meant not only that I could see CJ play, but that I’d be able to reconnect with some of my old friends. Pittsburgh is my hometown. It also enabled my daughter and husband to pay homage to my name in the dome on my college campus. #parentingperks

Ultimate Disc has not had a long tenor. It began in 1968, the brainchild of Joe Silver, who pitched the idea to a student council at Columbia High School in New Jersey. In 1972, the first collegiate match was played between Rutgers and Princeton. Rutgers was the victor. The sport continued to advance to the professional level and now, the American Ultimate Disc League is well entrenched. http://theaudl.com

You have to be in incredible physical shape to play this game. It requires non-stop running, and what I love about this sport are the lessons that it can teach us in our everyday lives as leaders. While the game is officiated by referees, each team member is required to self- officiate. Players are responsible for calling their own fouls, and they resolve their own disputes. NO contact is allowed between players or a foul is automatically called. Ultimate Disc stresses fairness and fair play. Competitive play is encouraged but NEVER at the expense of respect between players, adherence to rules, and the basic JOY OF PLAY! This language is taken directly from a document called “Ultimate in 10 Simple Rules,” by the USA Ultimate Resource Guide. http://www.usaultimate.org/assets/1/Page/USAU_Resource_Guide_P4-Ult_in_10_Simple_Rules_08-09-10.pdf

The best part…at the end of the game, all players come to each sideline and APPLAUD and say thank you to THE FANS! That’s right. These players actually acknowledge and show gratitude towards those who are paying their salaries. Incredible. Following that, both teams celebrate the game with libations at a sponsoring ale house.

The top 10 leadership lessons that I took away from this game:

  1. You’ve got to “show upfully – prepared, ready, and willing to play your best game.
  2. You cannot ever stop working on your own physical, mental, “best-abled” self.
  3. Each of us needs to self-officiate, continuously reflecting on enhancing our own leadership effectiveness.
  4. Fairness and fair play should be stressed at every level of leadership.
  5. Competitive play is critical but NEVER at the expense of respecting others in the game.
  6. Joy of play creates, empowers, and enables great teams.
  7. Gratitude for your team and for those who are cheering you on is mandatory.
  8. Celebrating your team encourages excellence.
  9. Acknowledging contributions in the game inspires greater effort the next time.
  10. Libations and the breaking of bread should be a requirement of every team.     

For more information on Ultimate Disc, see www.theaudl.com