Dennis “Cribber” Warsen, who calls Berkeley home, and Molly Goodwin who attended UC Berkeley, are two of four Ultimate frisbee players who have been selected for induction into the sport’s 2012 Hall of Fame.
Asked what the honor meant for him, Warsen told Berkeleyside: “For 20 years, I trashed my body and postponed adulthood to play this game. So having this honor given to me must mean that someone noticed, and that feels good. In a way, the Ultimate Hall of Fame is not just a list of players, it is a history of the sport and I am honored to be a part of that history.”
Warsen grew up in New York and went to SUNY Purchase, which is where he started playing Ultimate. After winning five world championships with New York, he was recruited by a San Francisco team and decided to move out west in 1996. In 2006 he moved across the bay and has been living in Berkeley ever since.
In the USA Ultimate’s write-up about Warsen, he is described as possibly “the best player ever on the best team ever.”
Molly Goodwin attended UC Berkeley and was a scholarship Division 1 soccer player. She began to play ultimate for Berkeley in 1990 and won a College national title in 1992. Goodwin went on to win a total of 11 Ultimate Frisbee National and three World Championships, the only Ultimate player to achieve that many titles. Goodwin is considered “the most complete Ultimate player in the history of the women’s game.”
Warsen and Goodwin made it onto a shortlist of eight, and the final four include Keay Nakae of Mill Valley, and Nancy Leahy Glass of Chicago.
Ultimate is a team sport played with a flying disc. The object of the game is to score points by passing the disc to a player in the opposing end zone, similar to an end zone in American football. Originally called Ultimate Frisbee, the sport is now generally referred to as Ultimate because Frisbee is a registered trademark for the discs made by the Wham-O toy company, which is headquartered in Emeryville. In 2008, according to Wikipedia, there were 4.9 million Ultimate players in the U.S.
“Ultimate is an amazing game with two very unique attributes that separate it from every other sport,” Warsen told Berkeleyside. “First is the beautiful flight of the flying disc — there is nothing else in sports like it. Second is this thing we call the Spirit of the Game. Even at the highest levels, there are no refs. Sportsmanship still matters, and players have to work things out themselves. It is also an amazing spectator sport with more diving catches and exciting defensive blocks than any other sport.”
Since retiring from competitive ultimate, Warsen has spent the past eight years working in sports television and won a 2009 Emmy ward for 49ers Total Access. But he is now turning the camera back onto his first love and working on a documentary about Ultimate called Flatball.
“In today’s day and age of flopping in basketball and soccer, concussions in football and doping in everything, Ultimate gives the world a look at what sports used to be and what it can be,” he said. Flatball is due out in October this year.
The Ultimate Hall of Fame was established in 2004 and currently exists as a virtual hall, with a long-term goal to establish a permanent site by 2018 – the 50th anniversary of the sport’s founding. The four inductees will be honored with a plaque at USA Ultimate headquarters in Boulder, CO, and the organization’s website, USA Ultimate.
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