Long Island Ultimate Frisbee team gives back



By Courtney Bissonette


“Ultimate Frisbee helping out those in need”

Ultimate Frisbee is a term you may associate with a past time rather than a sport.  However, the five million participants in the United States alone might disagree. This year on November 23, a ultimate Frisbee charity event called “Pat Hat” will take place and the proceeds will be going towards helping local families in need.

The tradition of “hat tournaments,” began with Patrick McCourt, where players are divided by skill, and picked out of a hat. They play on temporary teams for charity. The tournament is played on the day after Thanksgiving, where the proceeds go to local Long Island families in need

A separate hat tournament set in Huntington will go to aiding local families in need. This Thanksgiving tournament is the largest tournament set up in Patrick’s honor, but it’s not the only one.  All over the east coast, colleges have what they deemed “Pat’s Hat”, where all of the proceeds go to the scholarship foundation.

Long Island is one of the most rapidly growing ultimate- Frisbee- playing communities in the United States. Stony Brook University, for example, has a regional level college team called “Long Island Disc.” The popular sport can mostly be seen in scrimmages across the country, like in the courtyard of the Ammerman campus. Be it a University, a court yard at a community college or a playful game among friends they have one thing in common, founding father, Patrick McCourt[LW1] .

A Huntington native, McCourt wasn’t exposed to the sport of Ultimate Frisbee until he attended George Washington University where he studied civil engineering. McCourt loved the sport, and he was good at it.  He became captain of his college team, and was determined to bring it home to Long Island.

“Ultimate”, as it’s commonly called, is a game played by two teams with seven players on each line.  The goal is to get the “disc” or Frisbee, into the opposing team’s end zone, much like American football.  One may not run with the disc, but throw it to any teammate moving down the field.

McCourt was a captain, a teammate, and above all a friend. He didn’t just bring the sport of ultimate Frisbee to Long Island; he is also responsible for the community aspect one experiences in being a part of it.

Suffolk student Joe Babbino first learned “Ultimate” with Patrick on a summer league.  “I had played a little before, but never competitively and I was awful,” Babbino recalls, “but Pat was my captain; that was the year he named the team “Lucky Punks.” He would show up early on game days just to throw with me.  He was there for every practice and not all the captains did that.  Everyone always asks how I got so good so fast, and I owe a lot of that to Pat.”

In late September of 2011, McCourt’s life was cut short when he was fatally struck by a car. Rather than fall apart at the untimely death of their fearless leader, the Long Island ultimate Frisbee community came together to keep the legacy Patrick created alive.


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