Guts Frisbee: Do you have it?

During Nickelodeon’s golden years – the fantastic ’90s – I became engrossed in their weird neon world of slime, obstacle courses, the Rugrats and Nick at Nite.

And of course, Guts – an “extreme sport” show where kids and adults, clad in awkward knee pads and helmets, did “extreme” things like go down slides and scramble up big foam blocks painted like rocks with the ultimate goal of earning…the Guts gold medal.

This 26-second Season 3 Remix sums it up nicely:

Despite the ridiculousness/awesomeness of it, the question the show poses is legitimate:

Do you have it?

Guts, that is.

During the summer of 1958 in Eagle Harbor Township, children of the Healy family proved that they indeed have it by inventing a truly gutsy game – Guts Frisbee.

Here’s the idea.

Two teams of one to five players stand about 15 yards apart. One person then hurls a frisbee as hard as humanly possible at the opposing players, who, if they haven’t run away screaming or broke down weeping, attempts to catch it with one hand. Yep, just one.

The throwing team racks up points by launching an unstoppable disc – the receiving team earns them if the disc is flung out of their reach. If you sacrifice your hand with a successful catch, no one scores. Especially your hand. Teams typically play to 21 points.

Two teams, Beer City and the Cupola Bandits, battle it out. Photo retrieved from: 2012 US National Guts Frisbee Tournament facebook page.

Yeah, yeah, you think you can do it too. But consider this – the 110-gram disc (about the weight of a quarter-pounder but made of hard plastic) can torpedo more than 80 miles per hour, possibly directly at your pretty face, conceivably landing you with a facial disgracial (see the “GUTSionary” for an explanation and, oh, so much more).

Plus the disc moves, “not only from the thrower’s arm speed but with wind speed and wind direction, angle of release and, more specifically, release point, plus forward or backward spin, depending upon each individual thrower’s style.” That’s according to the International Frisbee Tournament, a tournament founded by the Healy siblings.

Let’s take a peek at this action:

Guts Frisbee took off as the self-proclaimed first extreme sport after its invention and never looked back, producing national and international tournaments, leagues and clubs, media coverage, and a slew of strategies including different throws like the Steaker Throw, Thumber Throw, Flipper Throw and the slightly over named, Power California Grip Throw.

To showcase the sport’s now ubiquitous nature, May 26 to May 28 was Global Guts Weekend taking place, well, everywhere, according to United States Guts Player Association.

But even though the sport now sprawls well beyond its UP roots, it comes home every year for the National Championships held in Marquette.

This year 14 to 16 teams will face off on August 4 and 5.

“I strongly suggest anyone who is interested in disk sports, or any sport for that matter to come and join us for a guaranteed fantastic National Championship weekend,” wrote Kurt Lahtinen in an e-mail. Lahtinen is this year’s tournament director.

He’s also a 33-year game veteran.

“The first tournament I played in was the 1979 U.S. Nationals in Marquette,” he wrote, “and I have loved Guts ever since.”

For more information check out gutsfrisbee.com.

This is a guest post from our friend Alice Rossignol. She’s a big fan of the great outdoors and her love for the Upper Peninsula is blossoming. You can follow her on Twitter.

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