Ultimate Frisbee, once thought to be a breeding sport for hippies and stoners, has reemerged and found a new home within the nest of Temple.
“Ultimate” refers to a fast-paced non-contact sport focusing on speed and endurance over raw strength.
As of last spring, the Recreation Services Department officially recognized the Ultimate Frisbee Club at Temple. Participants meet on Sunday and Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. at Geasy Field to play pick-up games, where two randomly picked captains choose players for their teams.
Once the game begins, maintaining the rapid style of play is more important than score keeping. There are also no referees for the game, so it is up to players to call fouls and determine if a catch was made in-bounds or not.
Without the presence of a referee, one would assume fights might occur over things as casual as a wrist-slap. However, the energetic and fun atmosphere subconsciously forces players to solve any problem immediately so that the game can continue.
This is a very inviting feature allowing players to concentrate on the physical aspects of the game without worrying about the semantics of rules and procedure.
How It All Got Started
Early last year, two groups of students would play Ultimate Frisbee at Geasey field. Eventually they realized a good thing when they saw it, and merged into one group. With participation high and excitement brewing, Gabe Stuart, who transferred from Temple at the beginning of this semester, decided to look into making Ultimate Frisbee a club sport on campus.
Recreation Services was willing to help see the process through.
“The Rec. Services Department welcomes organizations like [the ultimate club],” Associate Director Linda Buonanno said.
“Our only concern was space, but they’ve been good taking space whenever it’s available.”
Now in its second year, the club is allowed $500 worth of University funding, which they can use to buy pinnies, flying discs, or pay an entrance fee to a tournament.
With Stuart gone, junior Nick Papacostas, one of four members to sign the club charter last year, has taken on the leadership role.
On a given night, 15-25 men and women will show up to play, and as long as one person has a disc, a game will occur.
Before the weather turned cold, it wouldn’t be surprising to see 60 people racing back and forth across the turf. In this case, four games were set up and played simultaneously.
Experience amongst members varies, which encourages more people to play. Senior Jennifer Olsen competes in a summer league when not at school. She said the club has helped her meet new people while getting in some exercise.
Games can last for over two hours, rivaling any collegiate sport in length. It is for this reason that endurance is crucial in any successful game.
A group consensus usually rules on when a game begins and ends, and who should be captains for the night. Captains usually volunteer for the position, and after teams are picked, they have no vital role to play on the field.
There are no monetary costs for the club and there are no uniforms to buy or membership fees to pay. However, playing on turf can take its toll, as turf burns are a mark among dedicated players who don’t mind the pain after laying out for a pass.
The most serious injury in the club’s history was a bloody nose.
Seeking new competition…maybe
Currently, the club has no affiliation to a league. Papacostas, however, would like to form a solid team and begin competing against local schools like Penn and Drexel as soon as spring of next year.
“This semester we’re just trying to get a feel for who’s into it,” Papacostas said. “There are a lot of dedicated people who just like to play.”
When it does eventually start to compete, the club could join the Ultimate Players Association, an organization run by the players themselves without the presence of meddling owners to interfere with team affairs.
The UPA was founded in 1979 and currently consists of more than 15,000 members – an average increase of 20 percent in the last five years.
There are mixed feelings, however, about becoming competitive and losing the leisurely environment that surrounds a club.
The UPA, a non-profit organization, is based in Boulder, CO., and is among the first flying disc sport establishments in the world.
“It would be cool to compete,” sophomore Lauren Perry said. “But it wouldn’t be as much fun with the different atmosphere.”
When it does hit the tourney scene, the club will schedule more practices for the hardcore members so it doesn’t extinguish the spark that got the club off the ground.
“Right now, everyone’s just really nice and wants to have fun,” sophomore Ellie Gottlieb said. “Competing isn’t a part of our game.”
For more information, visit https://www.upa.org.
Steve Papurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.