By Henry Geraghty
Each year, the Lawrence Men’s and Women’s Ultimate Frisbee teams have proven themselves to be important facets of recreational sports culture on campus.
Ultimate appeals to a wide range of students that come together to participate in its fun and easy-going, yet competitive atmosphere.
The men’s and women’s teams advertise themselves to people of all skill levels. Fall Term is dedicated to teaching new players the game’s fundamentals and preparing them for competitions later on in the year.
“Our goal is to make sure everyone is on the same page in terms of Ultimate ability, and in terms of fluidity of practicing,” said sophomore men’s team captain Daniel Wear. “Our goal is to teach everyone what to do on the field and figure out what position everyone best fits in.”
Both ultimate teams practice three times a week – Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays – and have a scrimmage each Saturday. Additionally, Ultimate players often meet outside of regular practice times to play different types of recreational frisbee games.
One such game is called Urban, a disc golf game that winds throughout Lawrence campus. They play every Friday afternoon and invite any and all Lawrence students to participate.
Over these past ten years, collegiate level Ultimate has been steadily increasing in popularity across the United States, with over 14,000 competitors playing today.
Just five years ago, USA Ultimate, the governing body for the sport, instated a formal season for Division III competitors. This is one of several factors that has steadily changed Ultimate from a purely recreational sport to something more competitive.
A big result of this change is the emphasis on more tournaments between teams. Most tournaments are university-hosted competitions that draw in dozens of other teams to play.
The Lawrence Ultimate teams try to schedule three tournaments in each term. This term, they’ve participated in one tournament at Steven’s Point, with plans to participate in one in-door tournament this upcoming Winter Term.
Every Spring Term, the team travels to South Carolina to compete against over 48 different teams. This is easily the largest tournament they compete in all year.
Wear expressed his personal excitement for the South Carolina tournament. “It’s a great ultimate vibe in the area there,” Wear said. “A really wide scope of people show up to these kinds of tournaments, and not only does that introduce you to new people, it introduces you to other strategies that you weren’t aware of. Competitions like these really help you grow as a player.”