Few activities, and fewer sports, carry the cultural baggage that Frisbee does.

But in spite of its image, or maybe because of it, the team sport of ultimate Frisbee has found its niche in the Washington area.

On Easter Sunday afternoon, McLean High School in Virginia was the site of the prestigious April Fools Fest tournament, won by the New York-based team, Kaboom. Static, a team composed of metropolitan-area residents which is ninth-ranked nationally, lost in the semifinals.

In the women's bracket of the same tournament, Andromeda, a Northern Virginia-based team, ranked third in the country, lost in the semifinals to Boneless Chicken from the University of Virginia, which then lost to the Fishheads from Michigan State in the finals.

This summer, Eric Simon of Arlington, who plays for Static, will coordinate a three-year-old summer league that may have as many as 18 or 20 teams from Maryland, Virginia and Washington. Each team will carry approximately 15 players and play three games a week on the Reflecting Pool fields on the mall.

This October, Washington will be the site of the men's and women's National Ultimate Championship. Labor Day weekend, Washington will host a Frisbee festival with workshops and exhibitions.

Why the interest in ultimate Frisbee -- a seven-per-side team version of the game?

"The attraction goes back to something in the 1960s, when it was looked at as an alternative sport," said Larry Schindel, a White Plains, Md., resident, who promotes the sport nationwide.

Said Simon: "The attractiveness is that it's sort of counter culture. The media tends to regard us as a bunch of hippies throwing Frisbees at the beach. It's counter culture in that the sport is 15 years old and we still don't have referees. It's self officiated!

"There are more arguments in a company softball game, than in a national (ultimate) championship." said Simon, 27, a computer programmer and a lawyer from Arlington.

"People talk about the spirit of ultimate," he said. "You start telling other people about it and they think you're some starry-eyed radical with Utopian dreams."

Schindel sees other reasons for its popularity.

"It's not a spheroid, as is a ball," he said. "It's a disc and it flies. It doesn't move in a parabolic curve; it flies. It has true aerodynamics.

"It has the stamina of lacrosse and soccer. Playing (Frisbee) on a tournament level, the stamina is even higher than soccer or lacrosse because in those sports you have players forward or backward who aren't always moving."

The frequent switching between man-to-man and two-three-two zone defenses is similar to college basketball; diving catches are akin to those made in football.

In ultimate, all players are eligible at all times. The Frisbee is advanced with forward and backward passes, by players who must maintain a pivot foot. A goal is scored when the Frisbee is caught in the 25-yard-deep end zone.

The simplicity of the rules was the invention of the sports' two founders, Buzzy Hellring and Joel Silver.

"Buzzy and Joel wanted a sport with a format similar to football, without the contact. So they invented a few simple rules," said Schindel, who attended Columbia High School in East Orange, New Jersey, where the sport was first played by Hellring and Silver.

"From there we took it and promoted it," said Schindel.

What about the stereotypes that persist?

"We've overcome it," Schindel said, "because a lot of players who might have played other sports like soccer, lacrosse and basketball like the stamina required and they like to throw the Frisbee."