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Sept. 14, 2004

The ultimate rush

by Grace Harter, Page Editor
The white disk slices through the air, soaring high over the outstretched hands of a crowd of Frisbee players. Junior Brandon Herbst launches himself off the ground and grabs the Frisbee out of midair. As he lands, he searches for an open team member. Herbst sends the Frisbee flying with a flick of his wrist, only to have senior Morgan Haynes knock the disk out of the air with a slap of his hand. Haynes picks up the Frisbee again, and the teams start over.
Junior Synthia Mariadhas tries to block junior Katy Lafen from making a catch during Frisbee Club's 5b practice on September 14. Christopher Consolino
Junior Synthia Mariadhas tries to block junior Katy Lafen from making a catch during Frisbee Club's 5b practice on September 14.

This is the game of Ultimate Frisbee, a fast-paced sport played by Blair students after school, on weekends and occasionally during lunch. The game was started in 1967 by two high school students who combined basketball, soccer and hockey with their love of Frisbee to create a new game. The sport spread mainly across college campuses in the 1970s until the Ultimate Players Association (UPA) founded an organization in 1979 to create national leagues and establish tournaments for countrywide teams.

Frisbee has become so popular in recent years that many people liken it to an epidemic. "It's like a virus that's spreading," says Emily May, the Frisbee Club's captain, of the sport's popularity. There are currently about 20 people in the club, but she hopes to expand. The UPA has
close to 15,600 members across the country
and the world.

The Frisbee Virus

Frisbee is so fashionable with some Blair students that Blazers have even disbanded the Blair Capture the Flag team. "Frisbee has taken away numerous Capture the Flag enthusiasts," says junior Leslie Hong, a former player of the once popular sport. "There are no hardcore CTF people left. They've all joined the Frisbee team."

A League of Their Own

The Frisbee Club’s ultimate goal is to develop into an official sport. “We wish to become an actual team," says May. She points out that high schools in Montgomery County have no Frisbee league of their own. Currently, the Blair club plays students from local schools or adults that have formed their own teams.

A Simple Game

“I had so much fun the first time I played Frisbee," says junior Josh Gist, another member of the Frisbee Club. All of the club's members agree that it's a fairly simple sport and can be picked up by anyone on their first try. Each team has seven players that try to score goals on opposite sides of the fields, and the Frisbee can only travel down the field by being thrown. The opposing team members try to intercept the disk to take it into their possession, and points are scored if a team member catches the Frisbee inside the goal area.

As players get more serious, the game becomes more complicated. There are a variety of ways to throw the Frisbee and numerous plays, formations and strategies that captains teach their teams.

Frisbee is often touted as a sport for the non-athletic, for those who enjoy playing games but rarely participate in any traditional sports. Most of the Blair Frisbee Club disagrees with this description; they believe athleticism and strength are vital to the game. “There's a lot of running involved," says Joe Yuhas, co-captain of the club. “You need to keep up with the man you're guarding." Sophomore Camden Lee stresses the importance of basic Frisbee skills like throwing and catching the disk.

The club is more divided, however, on how being co-ed affects the game. May believes that girls have a definite disadvantage in the game and that many cannot play on the same level as the male players. “Often times, girls are less talented," she says but is also quick to point out that this shouldn't discourage any females from playing on the team.

Even though college teams are generally all-male, most of the club believes that having both genders on the team helps alleviate an unhealthy competitive edge and makes the game more about having fun than winning.

The Frisbee Spirit

Many people on Blair's Frisbee Club joined because of its relaxed atmosphere. Herbst cites the friendly environment as a major factor of his involvement in Frisbee. Yuhas believes the people are laid-back about the game, making it more fun for everyone.

Frisbee sponsor Natalie Waltz agrees with the club’s assessment of the game and also thinks Ultimate Frisbee teaches players about having respect for one another because generally Frisbee games are self-refereed. There is a level of trust opposing teams must have for one another. “I'm a player myself," she states proudly. She has played in the Washington Area Frisbee League since 1993.

Continuing the Frisbee Tradition

Creating a high school league in Montgomery County is far in the future. For now, the club is focused on teaching skills to new members and passing on Frisbee traditions such as giving each player a designated nickname and making them team shirts.

But the Frisbee Club also has high ambitions. May still is not satisfied with the amount of new people. “More should be here," May says. “Frisbee is the best. It deserves to be mainstream."

The Frisbee Club meets every day 5A and 5B in the soccer field behind Blair. On Tuesdays, the club meets at 3:15 p.m. at Pine Crest Elementary.



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  • Rush fan on September 14, 2004
    I too love Rush.
  • guy on September 14, 2004
    Overall good article. One mistake though:
    ""I had so much fun the first time I played Frisbee," says Gist."

    Who's Gist? Im pretty sure that you didnt mention anyone with that name prior to that quote. Otherwise very good journalism
  • Emily on September 14, 2004
    The article is awesome and thank you for writing it, first off. Just a couple corrections: we meet every day at lunch, usually both lunches but most definitely 5B. Practices are not at 5:30 on Thursdays, instead they are at 3:15 on Tuesdays at Pine Crest Elementary, across University from Blair.

    Games (in the Washington Area Frisbee Club, C League) are Saturdays at various times throughout the day.

    Frisbee is the best sport in the entire world, especially after you learn how to play, and everyone therefore should learn how to play and join the team. It's a great experience, and I promise there will be lots of fun and lots of frisbee!!!! yay!

    Oh, and to counter any misconceptions that might be raised, Frisbee is a sport (it's not just throwing around discs randomly), although it was only recently developed, and there are rules, and it is not just for stoners, and you don't have to be good to play on the team. If you come out and throw around with us, we'll teach you how to play and how to become better. Take it from me-a year and a half ago I could barely throw a frisbee without hitting the receiver in the shins, and now I can throw it accurately nearly the length of the field....there is marked improvement EVERY TIME you play. it is awesome!!! also, college is all about the ultimate...
  • Collegian on September 14, 2004
    "Even though college teams are generally all-male"

    It seems to me that most colleges that have open teams also have women's teams. In fact, UPA ranks 143 college women's teams.
  • The O.G. on September 15, 2004
    Keep it up Blair Frisbee Club, you've come a long way. Listen to Emily, she knows what she's talking about. And from further, experience, I can tell you that playing ultimate in college is a great way to meet people instantly and have incredible amounts of fun. Go Blazers.

    Co-Founder,
    Tom Johnson, 03
  • Interested on September 15, 2004
    where can i join?
  • joe (View Email) on September 15, 2004
    GO BLAIR FRISBEE!
  • Elisabeth on September 15, 2004
    double triple word to your mother. even though i suck at the game.
  • rock slinga 87 (View Email) on September 16, 2004
    Speaking as a young man who was allowed to participate in the frisbee experience at blair even though my skills weren't quite up to par, I'm very excited that frisbee is finally given some long deserved publicity. This team was almost undefeated in last year's regular season and it was almost completely student run! Big props to these kids, many really good seniors left, mainly to St. Mary's, but they are still going to do great. Keep it up, good article as well
  • Joshua Gottlieb-Miller (View Email) on September 16, 2004
    Collegian is right. Though there are more male teams than female teams, female teams abound. And many schools have co-ed teams.

    Though Emily is right about most things, her assessment of girls being less talented is wrong. Everyone has weaknesses, and where some people are less athletic, others are much better at throwing and catching. (In the league Blair is in, gender guards gender anyway, so it is very unlikely a guy would have to guard a girl or vice-versa.)

    Plus, Ultimate is some of the most fun you can have with your clothes on. Spirit of the game!

    Captain,
    Joshua Gottlieb-Miller, 04



  • synthia on September 16, 2004
    yay homecooked!
  • tilee on September 16, 2004
    Hey! Look! It's Katy and Synthia =)
  • Emily on September 16, 2004
    You can join anywhere at any time, just by talking to someone on the team. Stop by at lunch or afterschool on Tuesdays (at Pine Crest). Or on Saturdays at games, but talk to someone about where/when, the schedule's kind of difficult.
  • el duderina on September 16, 2004
    sebi, your skills were far far far above par. we miss you very much and you should come home and play for the blair frisbee team. HOME COOKED *manly grunt*
  • Cathy Johnson (View Email) on September 17, 2004
    As the mother of two founding members of the Blair Frisbee Club, I was pleased to see that it is alive and well. Students should know that there is an active college ultimate frisbee scene--the club teams are highly competitive.
  • also interested on September 17, 2004
    Where do you meet at 5B? Just out on the field? And who should we talk to about where/when? I'm interested in joining.
  • Emily May on September 17, 2004
    If you want to join, just read down into the comments. Talk to me or someone else on the frisbee team. At lunch we are out on the field behind the school. After school we are at Pine Crest Elementary, but we meet in the SAC before heading over there.

    yay for blair frisbee!
  • also interested on September 19, 2004
    OK, I'll probably come out monday at 5B but I have 2 questions.

    1. You do eat lunch first before going outside, right?

    2. When do the meetings on Tuesday's end?

    Thanks.
  • Lily on September 20, 2004
    In response, yes, we do eat lunch before we play, although sometimes rather quickly. Meetings end... um... pretty much when we want them to end, although they usually last between 1-2 hours. Come join the team. Woot woot for home cooked. And Sebi, your frisbee skillz are awesome and we wish you were still on the team!
    HOME COOKED
  • you are my saviors (View Email) on September 26, 2004
    Help! Looking everywhere for u guys at lunch (5B), not seeing you! Which field? Big football field with bleachers, soccer-ish field, or track? And do you guys finish Tuesdays in time for Magnet Activity Buses? I've been looking for a regular frisbee club, particularly in school, for ages and ages...
    Might not be able to make Tuesday practices, my scheduling curse puts Computer Team on Tuesdays and I've already started that, but lunches, I can definitely do, and I might be able to rearrange computer team.
  • Luke on September 28, 2004
    FRISBEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! thank you emily and everyone else for keeping the club alive. and for anyone who doesn't have any idea about what colleges to look at, or even those of you with an idea, coming to the university of michigan is the best thing that ever happened to me.

    luke
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