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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Editor opes: frisbee not sport, yet cornerstone of Carleton athletics

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Let’s just cut to the chase. No matter how many squads Carleton adds to its six-team roster, I don’t think, and have never thought, that ultimate Frisbee can be considered a “real,” collegiate sport. A real sport requires years of practice. It doesn’t involve simply walking onto a field in the back of a rec center with little idea of what “ultimate” means and magically being able to propel a small flat disk into the air with a small flick of the wrist. Acquiring skills for a real sport doesn’t take a day or a few weeks, but an incredibly long amount of time. The perfect swing in baseball, the perfect slap shot in hockey, the perfect figure skating form aren’t mastered by joining an enormous group on a field early fall term.

My main quarrel with considering Frisbee a sport is that it is a relatively easy activity to pick up. What other athlete can do this? A soccer or volleyball player certainly can’t walk onto a team without any knowledge of the sport. That being said, many Frisbee players at Carleton do. I must qualify this and state that I am definitely not a good Frisbee player by any means. My own experience with Frisbee was short and sweet; involving one Nova practice winter term of my freshman year. I had probably thrown a disk to my dog years ago, but hadn’t picked up one since. Within twenty minutes, I felt relatively comfortable with the backhand. My forehand was a train wreck and I was too reluctant to try a hammer throw. But still, learning the basic dynamics of the sport took less time than watching a sitcom episode. That shouldn’t happen. It took me years to master and I use the term master very lightly, how to hit a softball. I’m sure it takes time to truly “master” Frisbee as well, but the basics are extremely easy to pick up.

Don’t get me wrong, I most definitely consider ultimate players athletes. As other teams on campus, they commit an incredible amount of time every week to practices. I would even say that they’re some of the strongest natural athletes on campus. They can run quickly, have good hand-eye coordination, and react well in tense situations. But this leads me to another problem. Carleton isn’t the strongest school in sports, partly due to the small student body. When many of the top athletes go and join the sweeping herd of Frisbee players, other sports lose out on potentially dynamic and integral members of the team.

On a final note, we glorify Frisbee at Carleton. Being on “Syz” or “Cut” is how we define a lot of students. And it must be quite the accomplishment, being on the only Division 1 teams that exist at Carleton. But, Frisbee is also what I would consider a casual activity. I hardly fail to see students throwing Frisbees on the bald spot. I also see Frisbee turned into lawn games where other students have to dodge flying disks while walking to class. And it makes complete sense why Frisbee is so popular; it’s easily accessible to arguably all skill levels.

Frisbee functions in it’s own little self-thriving world. The administration practically ushers us into this Frisbee-centric microcosm when we’re told to hurl hundreds of disks on our freshmen move-in days. Even if I don’t consider ultimate Frisbee a “real,” sport, I do consider it a cornerstone of Carleton athletics, mostly because we turn this casual activity into a full-blown web that draws in dozens of students every year.

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