Ultimate frisbee: Creating future leaders

The ultimate frisbee club, the LU Frisbee Association, requires its members to combine the skills of precision and athleticism in order to be successful. Every member of the team has joined for their own personal reasons. Junior team caption Hannah Goodrich said, “I started playing ultimate my sophomore year of high school, and I instantly fell in love with it. I knew wherever I went to college, I wanted to continue to play ultimate there. When I heard Lawrence had a team, I was very excited. Ultimately, it was Rachel Cole that got me to join the team. It was the very beginning of my freshman year, and Rachel was eagerly sitting on a bench outside of Warch [Campus Center] asking any freshmen that walked by if they played ultimate. Her love and enthusiasm for the team made me even more excited to join.” 

Fellow junior Cas Burr also chimed in, saying, “I became a part of the frisbee club when a senior named Daniel Wear asked if I wanted to join. I played catch on the Main Hall Green with the team during welcome week and the rest is history. I played a little bit my junior and senior year of high school, but not much.” Each member’s story is different, but the passion that drives them is the same. 

Ultimate frisbee is fairly uncommon in comparison to regularly covered sports like football, soccer or baseball, which makes it a little hidden within the athletic community. As Goodrich said, “There are a lot of things that makes this sport challenging. One of which is the amount of running. It is very much an endurance sport and new players are often amazed by how much you have to run in a short playing time. Another personal challenge for me is being able to throw the disc well in the wind. The frisbee is just a thin piece of plastic, so when the wind is pretty strong you have to adjust things like your grip, the angle of release and amount of rotation. There’s a lot to think about in the few seconds you have to throw the disc and that is something I would love to improve upon.” The technicalities of the sport are very specific, which makes it extremely intriguing to many. Unfortunately, that interest doesn’t always carry over to commitment to the team.

Burr said, “It can be hard to gain interest in the club at times, so I would say attendance is the biggest challenge. We have a pretty solid team at the moment, but it’s always great to have new people. I want to get better at recruiting.” 

Like many other extra-curricular activities, there are many layers associated with the motivation behind participation. Being a part of the ultimate frisbee team isn’t all about playing ultimate frisbee. Goodrich commented, “Ultimate has taught me patience as well as how to work as a team. As a club team, we don’t necessarily have a coach, so we rely on the knowledge of our players to teach each other. Sometimes that can be difficult, but it allows us to grow together as a team and build trust.” Burr shared the same sentiment: “The biggest lesson that frisbee has taught me is that being a team is crucial. The games where we have played the best are the ones where everyone touches the disc and gets involved.” 

Like many other college experiences, ultimate frisbee gives people awesome memories to hold onto. When asked about her favorite memory, Goodrich replied, “For Spring Break, the team typically goes to South Carolina for a tournament. My freshman year, we left campus on a Friday evening, and drove straight through to South Carolina on a 20-hour car ride. I remember early Saturday morning we were somewhere in West Virginia, everyone in my van woke up at the same time to sing John Denver’s ‘Country Roads, Take me Home,’ and then I promptly fell back asleep.” When Burr was asked the same question, he said, “I loved the Knox tournament this year. It was our first tournament as a mixed team, and we got better and better every game. We really started to bond during that tournament.”

Besides having a fun time playing the game, there are also other reasons to play. Goodrich commented, “I have gained a lot of leadership experience from this club. This is my second year now as one of the captains and in these past two years, I have grown so much as a leader. I feel so much more confident with my ability to teach newer players and help run a club. And with one more year left to go, I hope to grow even more.” Burr also commented, saying, “I want this club to become more and more inclusive as the years go by, and I want people to know that this sport is a ton of fun to play! Something I’ve already gained is a love for the sport and being the leader of a team.” 

The love for the game carries over to the respect of the game. “I love the level of sportsmanship that comes with playing ultimate,” expressed Goodrich. “Ultimate is a self-officiated sport (meaning there are no referees), so there is a lot of self-accountability and teamwork that happens. Players can call fouls on themselves and other players which creates a very open and honest environment on the playing field. This is what I feel makes ultimate so unique from other sports, and it is definitely one of the reasons I fell in love with it.” A self-officiated sport requires a lot of respect for the game and each other. What’s not to love about that?

Ultimate frisbee is always looking to have new members join in on the fun. Reach out if you want to try and participate in this opportunity to be a part of a great team with wonderful leaders.