Ultimate Frisbee is a frantic and fast-paced game which contains elements from sports such as basketball, soccer, and football—combined, it makes up a modern interpretation of these fundamental sports. It is compared to basketball because man-to-man coverage is required; soccer because of the player movement on the field; and there are elements of football because there are touchdowns. The objective is to pass the disc to the team members in the opposing end zone to score. It also requires hand dexterity throughout the course of the game.
Unlike other sports, this game does not require the expertise of a referee. The game is played based on honor, integrity, honesty, and fairness; this means the players are responsible for their own code of ethics, known as the “Spirit of the Game.” On a typical team there are seven team members: however, at UC Merced, a typical lineup can range from eight to ten players on each team. Since the group is in the process of re-establishing their team, they mainly play against each other at the individual level, with other leagues, or as an intramural team. Their recent developments include attending pick-up games throughout the Central Valley a couple of times each semester. They attend ultimate culture hat tournaments, which allow individual sign-ups, assigned by fairness. This strengthens the team’s core and skill set.
Junior Jeff Laird is the team leader of the Ultimate Frisbee team. Laird found his love for the sport while attending Mariposa County High School, where he started playing with friends and found solace in the sport. Unfortunately, he has seen this sport struggle to stay alive on our campus.
Before spring 2009, Ultimate Frisbee was an athletic club. That quickly faded when the team did not have enough involvement from the student body. Currently, the team is registered as a club through the Office of Student Life. The goal going forward is to re-establish the athletic club through the recreation center in the near future, and showcase their talents in order to increase the number of members involved.
Laird became team leader by taking the initiative, and he believes in his team and continues to strive towards the overall goal of building a motivated and unified team. “My favorite part of the game is teaching everyone and watching everyone get better,” says Laird. In order to grow as a team, the UC Merced Ultimate Frisbee team needs practice on the field and with solid competition. They try their best to compete through intramural involvement.
There are seven intramural teams that play against each other. The team members usually practice on Fridays at two in the afternoon on the lower field. This would be a great opportunity for any student interested in joining the ultimate sport to come meet the players and experience the thrill of the game. These are exciting times for our growing campus, as recent developments in sports have ignited team spirit. Humble beginnings are what make up the sports culture on our campus, and it is what will be built upon within our community.