The Radicals' Dave Wiseman.
We went to the Madison Radicals' home opener last Saturday, and to quote the old Jim's Journal comic, it was okay.
That's not quite fair, actually. It's tempting for a meat-and-potatoes sports fan to smirk at the prospect of professional Frisbee, but Madison has treated Ultimate seriously for decades, an attitude that was evident last weekend among the crowd of 900 at Breese Stevens Field. The Radicals, now five games into their second year in the American Ultimate Disc League, were championship contenders from the moment they donned their blue-and-green jerseys last April, thanks to a local roster full of twentysomethings who grew up playing the sport. The Radicals advanced to the AUDL title game in their first season before falling to an undefeated team from Toronto.
If Saturday's game was any indication, the Radicals are contenders again. The Indianapolis Alleycats were one of the better teams in the league last year, yet Madison took control from the opening pull (yup, that's what it's called) and consistently expanded its lead through all four quarters before winning, 27-18.
As a spectator sport, the AUDL is easy to enjoy. Ultimate is fluid and fast-moving; a game doesn't take much longer than two hours, and you can wander into a match and understand the rules in a couple of minutes. Most of the players are locals, although a few Radicals live as far away as Stevens Point, Dubuque and Racine.
And the guys are athletes. Sure, lots of people can huck a conventional backhand to a streaking golden retriever, but executing an accurate side-hand flick pass from a closely guarded position is no simple matter. The Radicals run a compelling fast break and like to throw deep.
If you're interested in catching the team, the next game is Friday, May 9, at Breese Stevens. Game time is 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 in advance and $6 at the gate.