OC Beach Classic Expands, Organizer Looks to Include Youth
In the tournament’s third year, it has doubled in size.
The third annual OC Beach Classic will take place on Somerset Street in Ocean City, Md. on Oct. 15-16. The tournament is the most notable event from Ocean City Beach Ultimate, which is also in its third year.
AJ Jacoski, tournament and club director, started playing Ultimate Frisbee in high school. Now at age 29, Jacoski has more than 14 years of competitive club experience under his belt and plays professionally for the DC Breeze.
Jacoski’s desire to grow the league in Ocean City came from its absence on the shore.
“It has never really happened on the Eastern Shore so a few years ago I started to grow the sport,” Jacoski.
And Jacoski has done a good job.
Although it has been harder to grow the local league, the tournament has grown organically. Jacoski says a lot of teams are willing to travel especially for a beach tournament.
The tournament offers the scenery of Ocean City’s well maintained beaches, great weather conditions and various ways to socialize. In the past, the tournament has been held in August, competing with the competitive club season. Jacoski says the seasonal change of the tournament has been a great one, doubling the size of the event.
OC Beach Classic games will be played on Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., followed by games on Sunday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. There are nine fields just off the boardwalk, housing 30 co-ed teams. The teams will have a three guy, two girl ratio, ultimately containing five members.
According to Jacoski, it’s one of the only sports that can be played competitively co-ed. Another aspect that sets the sport apart is the fact there are no referees. Players call fouls and there is a mutual understanding known as ‘spirit of the game.’
“There’s a culture of fun and competition,” Jacoski says. “Everyone wants to play, it’s fun to win games but everyone ultimately wants to have fun.”
Jacoski says there are social events attached to the tournament including an event at Backshore Brewing Co. and Hammerheads on Friday night, as well as the official tournament party at Fish Tales on Saturday night.
“The teams are competing one minute and complimenting afterwards,” Jacoski says.
During the first year of the tournament, a team from the Philippines was hosted, allowing the tournament to receive international recognition. This year teams are traveling from New York, New Jersey, Virginia and beyond.
One of the sports many benefits is the no contact rule. Jacoski calls it a healthy sport that is safe to play especially since concussions are a big consideration for parents, which is why the club founder would like to include youths in the future.
“I really want to get the youth level involved which is why I have a group that plays at Stephen Decatur Middle School on Monday,” Jacoski says. “That would be my dream—to get it in high school.”
In high school, Jacoski would travel to Philadelphia to play. Ultimate Frisbee isn’t uncommon in high school, especially across the bridge in Maryland and Virginia. Although the tournament this weekend is an 18+ event, the organization would like to get youth involved in the future.
To learn more about the tournament, visit www.facebook.com/oceancityultimatefrisbee.