PRINCIPLES. New Frisbee is based on the principles of maximum performance, human potential and impeccable personal morality. There are in this game no officials and no lined areasó and there must be none. The two players involved enjoy numerous opportunities of defining the limits of their potential independently of artificial, objective standards, and of exercising their faculties of moral word and deed. These principles alone, as will be seen, mark It as radically different from sports as we know them. It is quite possible, in fact, that New Frisbee represents the first significant breakthrough in game theory since the time of the ancient Greeks.
CONDITIONS OF PLAY. New Frisbee is customarily played with the Master Tournament Model Frisbee manufactured by Wham-0 Mfg. Co. However, any sailing disk of good aerodynamic characteristics may be used, if both players agree. The game is played on a frisbee green. A "green" is defined as an open area of level or gently sloping land with a surface yielding enough so that both players agree they are willing to dive, fall or roll on it. Typical greens are beaches or grassy areas. Ideally, the green should measure 50 X 50 yards or more. Smaller areas may be used with the obstacle rule described below. For match play, the wind velocity should not exceed 10 mph. Players line up cross-wind, standing between 15 and 20 yards apart. Players should resist the temptation of drifting farther apart. Distances over 20 yards slow the game.
In most cases, physical handicaps need not restrict play. A person with one leg can play on an equal basis with a champion sprinter, since the rules require that a person run only as far as he or she can run. Flaws In character, however, can cause immediate disqualification. Players are required to make an all-out attempt to catch the frisbee on every interchange, and to report with fastidious accuracy on any failure to do so. Ranking players can simply refuse match play with those who tend to cheat. In actual practice, however, such people are not attracted to this game, and New Frisbee remains extremely inclusive, a sport for people of all ages, sexes and states of physical condition.
SCORING. Before beginning play, both players declare with which hand they will throw and catch. They may throw and catch with different hands or with the same hand; they must, however, throw and catch with the declared hand throughout the game. (A player may throw right and catch left if he or she wishes.) Players take turns throwing and catching. The lower-ranking player makes the first throw.
Thrower launches the frisbee in any direction. Catcher makes an all-out attempt to reach it and catch it.
If catcher cannot possibly reach and touch the frisbee at any time during its flight, catcher takes one point. To establish all-out effort or maximum performance, catcher must follow a direct course towards the best possible position to catch the frisbee and, if close enough to reach it by diving, must dive.
If the frisbee comes within catcher's potential limits and yet catcher fails to reach and touch itó that is, if catcher fails to make an all-out effort, or misjudges the frisbee's flightó catcher gives one point to thrower. If catcher touches the frisbee then drops it, catcher gives thrower two points. Catcher must give thrower two points if the frisbee touches any part of catcher's body then falls to the green, or if catcher catches the frisbee with the wrong hand, or if the frisbee is caught by cradling against the body or other arm. If the frisbee should tilt more than 45 degrees from the horizontal at any time during its flight, catcher may call aloud, "Forty-five!" In this case, catcher takes one point. The call must be made while the frisbee is still in flight. If the catcher makes a clean catch with the declared hand, no points are received by either player.
Perfection is expected and thus not extrinsically rewarded.
Catcher calls all points. Upon hearing the call, thrower must make no outcry or gesture of disapproval. A casual game consists of 11 points. Players change sides when one player reaches six points. The first player to reach 11 points wins. Results do not affect rankings.
A match game consists of 21 points. Players change sides when one player reaches 11 points. The first player to reach 21 points wins. Games of 21 points affect players' rankings. At least one knowledgeable observer must be present at match games. Observers are encouraged to applaud good plays and good calls. Though they cannot change catcher's calls, observers' signs of approval or disapproval may be helpful in catcher's efforts to evaluate his or her physical limits.
Obstacle rule. If catcher is in danger of running into a physical obstacle, catcher or thrower should call, "Obstacle!" loudly. The point is then replayed. If at this point there is another obstacle call, catcher takes one point.
Historical sketch. As pilots in World War II, Leonard and Knowlton developed the concept of maximum performance, which may be expressed in this way: Even if you have a 10,000-foot fun way, always land on the first 50 feet. Even if regulations allow you a leeway of 200 feet, plus or minus, fly the fix a fit altitude at all times. In other words, try for the best possible performance, not from necessity or coercion, but simply for the sake of doing it.
In the spring of 1959, Knowlton, then an investment banker in New York City, visited George and Lillie Leonard in San Francisco. He brought three large frisbees and told the Leonards that he had developed a way of playing with them that exemplified maximum performance. It involved batching with one hand only and making an all-out effort, including diving, for the frisbee on every catch. Knowlton, however, had not developed a system for scoring. After Knowlton's departure, the Leonards experimented with the frisbees and began working out a scoring system. Over the next two years, they visited Knowlton on the east coast and he visited them on the west. Through the Leonard-Knowlton collaboration, the rules evolved from early complexity to their final simplicity.
By 1962 a group of west coast players was meeting regularly at a green near the east end of Golden Gate Park every Sunday at 11 A.M., rain or shine. The rules and traditions of the game have been passed on orally to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people since 1962. The inventors have been reluctant, however, to present the rules in written form, fearing that the game might become rigidified or corrupted. The worst corruption they could imagine would be the imposition of officials.
The rules do appear, though in disguised and shortened form, in Leonard's Education and Ecstasy (pp. 169-170). But this is the first time they have been presented as such to a wider public. This presentation is made in the belief that the New Games movement provides an ideal ecology for preserving and strengthening the spirit and traditions developed in 14 years of New Frisbee play.