One of the most competitive teams on campus can be found practicing not at Aggie Stadium or the Pavillion, but tossing a disc on the northwest corner of the Quad.
Ultimate Frisbee is a social sport and one of the few games that would be difficult playing alone. Frisbee players need friends, and UC Davis is the place to find them. The ultimate Frisbee team, in particular, serves a great number of Frisbee enthusiasts with both men’s and women’s A and B teams.
“The coolest thing about it is that anyone can go out and play because there’s no recruiting and no money involved,” said Tommy McCormack, co-captain of the men’s A team and junior landscape architecture major. “Plus you get to be a part of a team, which is a lot of fun.“
However, ultimate Frisbee is not just “hippies throwing around a disc,” said Emile Morales, a junior civil engineering major and captain of the B team.
“It’s an intense sport. We have a lot of fun, but it also requires a lot of talent and athleticism,” he said.
During the spring season, when most of the weekend tournaments are, teams practice almost every day of the week for about two hours each day. Since participating in tournaments is an invite-only ordeal, they must have enough tact, endurance and skill to compete with teams from other schools.
Students like McCormack play ultimate Frisbee on a field slightly smaller than a soccer field. The game lasts about an hour and a half with one half-time and several time-outs.
“You’re running across the field like you would in basketball or soccer,” said Radhika Bhargav, a junior biosystems engineer and co-captain of the girls‘ A team. “Except you’re running like that for an hour and half.“
Like basketball, the 14 total players on the field aren’t allowed to “travel.” Once someone throws them the Frisbee they are permitted three steps and a pivot, which is usually what the momentum of sprinting allows. Whichever team can make it to the endzone gets the point.
For the men’s team, players often score in as little as 15 seconds. That’s just one of the main variations between the men’s and women’s team, which Bhargav said are completely different games.
“The guys team jump higher, throw faster and dive a lot more,” she said. “They also get really pissed off during the game.“
Verbal fights happen about once a game, McCormack said. However, ultimate Frisbee players abide by the “sprit of the game;” a rule that prohibits physical contact or unsportsmanlike conduct.
“Everyone generally follows the spirit of the game,” McCormack said. “It’s an unofficial law. But sometimes we just don’t agree on a call, so we’ll tell the other team that. Usually with some kind of obscenity, but it depends on our mood.“
That’s not the only tradition either. The teams abide by various rituals at tournaments, which they believe keep everyone unified, no matter what school they come from.
Sometimes, during halftime, each team will have a trick that they show off. A member of the UC Davis men’s team has a guy who can do a back flip, said McCormack. Also, teams will sometimes play some sort of game during timeouts, such as rock, paper, scissors or a competition to see who has the more convincing British accent.
“Even though they’re teams that want to beat each others‘ brains out during the game, they always get along during timeouts,” Morales said.
The ultimate Frisbee teams‘ next tournament is the Davis Ultimate Invitational on Apr. 3 and 4 on the fields next to Russell Boulevard. Visit davisdogs.zimmertech.com for more information.
LAUREN STEUSSY can be reached at email@example.com.