Hat tournaments are common in the Ultimate circuit. They are tournaments that bring players together of varied skill levels to form a team.
Balanced – After a player’s self-assessment of ability (experience, skill, athleticism, stamina) the organizers try to form teams that are fairly balanced on all levels.
Randomly – if everyone is equal in ability, names are randomly drawn from a hat.
Some tournaments offer this feature so players with spouses, GF, BF or UF-BFF, can play together on the same team.
A Hat tournament can have a “Hat” rule component, requiring all players to wear a hat at all times while playing. If a player’s hat comes off during the player’s disc possession, it is considered a turnover and the disc reverts to the other team. ”(Example 1: player A is on offense and lays-out for a disc and makes a successful catch, but the offensive player’s hat comes off in the process, it is considered a turnover. Example 2, player B is on defense and makes a great interception of the disc, but the defensive player’s hat comes off in the process, the play is disallowed and the disc remains with the offensive team.)” A hat can not be removed by the opposing team in any way, and may result in a foul.
Another fun feature that is sometimes implemented during a hat tournament is the “Spirit Point”. The Spirit Point is usually initiated for the first point of each game, and adds a fun nuance to the game. e.g. all participants must “skip” throughout the first point, or use a giant Frisbee, or throw only with a player’s opposite hand, or must spin 3 times after catching the disc,etc. After the Spirit Point is scored, the game reverts back to the basic rules of Ultimate.
Making New Connections
Hat tournaments place a strong emphasis on fun, socializing, partying, and meeting other players. They are a great way to strengthen the Ultimate community. Players of all levels take part in these events, from world-class players to nubes. To ratchet up the fun and absurdity level, the tournament organizers will establish a theme, eg wild west, aliens, pirates, Superheroes, Enemies of Godzilla, Dr Suess stories, etc. And in keeping with the theme will encourage players to play in appropriately decorated hats and costumes and award prizes for the best themed hats.