These guys are a couple of relics still in remarkably good condition.
Palo Alto residents Ken Joye and Warren Packard recently returned from Aurora, Colo., where the team they played on -- the Relics -- took first place in the Great Grand Masters Division (50-older) at the USA Ultimate Masters championships.
The sport is ultimate frisbee, seven players on a team. It’s a passing game, no running with the frisbee after it’s caught. The objective is to catch a frisbee thrown by a teammate past the goal line in the end zone. An incomplete pass results in a change of possession.
The game, with the running involved, produces an intense aerobic activity with the result that those who take part get in great shape.
“I’m really amazed at the fitness of ultimate frisbee players,’’ Packard said. “It’s really extraordinary.’’
The Relics were comprised of 28 players, four squads of seven rotated in and out. They won seven games without a loss over three days in a tournament that included 11 teams from around the country. They won the championship game 13-10 over a team from Colorado.
The Palo Alto area is a hotbed for ultimate frisbee. The weather is a big plus. So is field availability as well as the general ethos of the area.
“We play pickup games year round,’’ Joye said. “It’s a great activity, both physically and spiritually.’’
Stanford, Mitchell Park, Jordan Middle School, Cubberly and Mayfield Park are locations in Palo Alto where ultimate frisbee games take place.
And despite the fun-loving nature of the game with its roots in the 1960s counter culture, the Relics went into the national tournament really wanting to win.
“One of the great principles of ultimate frisbee is the spirit of the game, not wanting to win at all costs,’’ Packard said. “But we had tryouts and cuts. We wanted the best team we could put together.’’
While the team was primarily from Northern California, there were also members from other parts of the country including Philadelphia and Washington D.C.
Calvin Lin, formerly of Palo Alto and now a professor of computer science at the University of Texas, was also on the team.
”I’ve played frisbee 34 years and this was my first visit to the national championships, first opportunity to win a national title,’’ Packard said.