Mason’s Ultimate Frisbee Team Attracts the Ultimate Students
Posted: April 15, 2014 at 5:02 am, Last Updated: April 16, 2014 at 7:06 am
By Bryan Dombrowski and Penny Gilchrist
When people think of college-age Frisbee players, they often visualize students hanging out on the quad, tossing a battered disk back and forth on a balmy spring day. But to George Mason University’s Ultimate Frisbee team members, Frisbee throwing is a serious sport.
George Mason’s ultimate team is the university’s largest club sport, with an active roster of 70 players. More than half of these students are affiliated with Mason’s challenging New Century College (NCC) and Honors College. Successful Ultimate Frisbee players bring creativity, concentration and hard work to the game.
Played with two teams on a large field, the game starts with a throw-off from one team’s end zone to the other. As in basketball, receiving team members must remain in place, pivoting to pass the disk down the field toward the enemy’s end zone. Interceptions, turnovers and upsets abound, with the occasional muddy field and other weather adversities adding to the challenge.
“Ultimate is a very competitive sport that commands respect from its players through self-officiating,” says junior Ryan Thornton, team captain and Honors College student.
The coed sport brings together players from all types of athletic backgrounds and varying degrees of skill. Experienced players go to great lengths to help new players understand the game.
“Mason Ultimate is an awesome, welcoming community,” says Cole Kawugule, an NCC Cornerstones student. “They really bring you in and make sure you know what’s going on.”
The nation’s ultimate community is growing, with teams at most major universities, two professional leagues and Sports Center Top 10 coverage. There is some talk of a future Olympic team. Perhaps interest in the game is exploding because its players are so devoted to sharing their love of the sport with whoever will listen.
“When you meet someone else who plays, you share a certain bond because it’s still a rare sport,” says Daniella Titone, an NCC junior. “This connection makes the experience so much better.”
Mason’s ultimate team is gaining recognition: Players have been invited onto professional Washington, D.C., ultimate teams, handed sports apparel sponsorships, featured in online articles and videos, and offered the opportunity to run a Nike ultimate summer camp.
Passion, creativity, sense of community, inclusiveness and the desire to achieve are all principles found on Mason’s ultimate field and in the Mason Idea. Most important, these ideals are a warm-up to success in the real ultimate game: life after college.
Bryan Dombrowski is a Mason senior majoring in computer game design.
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