By Diane Harrison
When you think of a Frisbee, you envision back yards, the beach, even dogs playing fetch. When you hear ultimate Frisbee, you take Frisbee and add a stadium, a cross between football, soccer, and basketball formats, and fast-moving excitement.
Ultimate, as it is officially known — Frisbee is a trademark of its inventor, Wham-O toy company — has grown over the years and is now recognized by the Olympic Committee for eligibility for the 2028 Olympics. The sport originated in 1968 by students at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey. It was only in the last 10 years or so that Ultimate has seen its largest growth. The sport has become popular on college campuses around the country. Over the last few years, you may have caught a demonstration of the game at half time shows of the professional football teams in Philadelphia and DC. Although Ultimate won’t see competition in the Olympics until 2028, it has been played in the World Games since 2001.
Clarke County resident AJ Merriman, who plays professionally for the DC Breeze, has been chosen to represent the United States on the U24 mixed team this summer in England. In November, he will represent the United States at the Beach World Championship in
After attending Clarke County schools, AJ attended high school outside the county. He played for a semester in college before being asked to try out for the Breeze. “Being at a new school after living in Clarke County my whole life was an adjustment. So starting this club and forming friendships that have lasted to this day ended up being one of the best things I did in high school.
AJ also played for several DC-area teams. One of those, The Foggy Bottom Boys, won U20 nationals in 2018. “That was a wonderful experience,” he said. “I now coach with the man who coached us to
“I have played three years with the DC Breeze, and am currently working with team ownership and management to plan my future with the team,”
AJ also spends his time coaching and supporting youth locally and worldwide. “I have been coaching a lot the past few years. I was on the coaching staff for the GMU men’s team. I coach several individuals around the nation, even some coaching with international ultimate athletes, and I have coached several youth teams,” he said. He is the head JV boys coach at W&L High School in Arlington, and has coached a couple of DC-area all-star teams. “Passing on my knowledge of the game to the area youth is important to me personally, but also to the youth community in general. It is exciting now that I have current and former athletes showing up to DC Breeze tryouts!”
In the World Games, athletes and teams must raise funds to compete. AJ hopes to get donations/sponsorships to help pay his way to these two events.
If you would like to help AJ get to the U24 World Championships in London this summer — or to the World Beach Ultimate Championship in Huntington Beach later this year — you can donate in three ways:
Via PayPal at ajthatfrisbeeguy
GO FUND ME at
By check to Alexander Merriman, 352 Hermitage Blvd., Berryville VA 22611.
You can follow AJ on Instagram @ajthatfrisbeeguy and the DC Breeze on Facebook @dc.breeze or their website at https://thedcbreeze.com, where you can catch the action on video or get tickets to attend a game.