Emma Wu Shortt ‘20
As an American child, one is often thrust into the world of organized sports from a very young age. Whether it be peewee football or teeball baseball, there’s always a place for youngsters to run amuck and get a taste of sportspersonship. My childhood was not dissimilar. I played on a softball team and then a volleyball team and a basketball. I later went through track and field, cross country and nordic skiing. But none of these sports truly felt like a good fit. Sure, I was a good athlete, sometimes even on the starting line. But I never had the passion or the drive to practice and turn luck into perfection. However, this was all before I had a taste of the wonderful sport and community of ultimate frisbee.
Ultimate is not so much a sport as a way of being. It’s a community of energetic, compassionate individuals with a love for throwing around a flat disc and chasing it down before it hits the ground. When I entered the ultimate world I was welcomed with open arms, and challenged with an extremely athletic sport that asks for your all and takes nothing less.
Within ultimate there is a concept called “spirit of the game”. Spirit is in essence, good sportspersonship and excitement to be playing the game. One has spirit if they lead cheers, congratulate the other team after a point, and generally let their goofy, free spirit shine through. After games end, teams will form a big spirit circle, alternating team players, and talk through the game that has just been played. If questionable calls were made, heated interactions happen, they will all be discussed and resolved. Ultimate frisbee has no referee so it is up to the players themselves to call defensive and offensive fouls or indicate if they have caught the disc in the end zone or are just outside of it. This element of the game requires quite a bit of trust between players as well as accommodation. Due to this need, I have found that ultimate players tend to be the most patient, caring, and understanding people I have had the honor to encounter.
One can clearly observe the physicality and athleticism of the sport. Players will sprint down the field, huck humongous throws, and literally run and dive into the endzone in order to catch the disc and score a goal. Frisbee is alike to soccer and football in the amount of conditioning and dedication it requires. However, you really do not notice the amount of cardio when you’re playing a game as dynamic and fun as frisbee is. Because of the extreme athleticism of frisbee, the sport is very exciting and entertaining to be a spectator for.
I now play for the wonderful, dynamic, dinosaur-sporting team, The Claremont Greenshirts, an awesome women’s team who sometimes joins up with The Braineaters for some friendly fun. We travel to tournaments all over california and beyond and are doing pretty well within our D3 bracket. Fingers crossed for what I am certain will be a great season.
So if you have not yet found the team sports of your dreams. If you like to play hard and party hard, often simultaneously. If you love the option of playing mixed or open. I cannot recommend this sport enough. No other team sport is as welcoming, open-minded, improvisatory, and trusting as ultimate frisbee. I wouldn’t change a single element of the beautiful game.