Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Letter to the Editor

< long time Ultimate player, I was amused to see Alex Carruthers revive the debate about the relative athletic prowess of Ultimate players versus varsity athletes that breaks out from time to time in the pages of The Carletonian. It is a not a debate I wish to enter into. But as a long time teacher of writing, I try to teach my students not to make claims they can’t support. So when Mr. Carruthers states that “better athletes choose to play mainstream varsity sports,” I have to wonder what his evidence is for a claim that is belied by my own personal experience. Over the twelve years I played competitive Ultimate in the United States and Europe, I counted among my friends and teammates a nationally ranked cross-country skier; a former tennis player who beat John McEnroe as a junior; a former professional team handball player (in Germany); and any number of former soccer players, basketball players and track stars. In my twenty years at Carleton I have seen several dozen of our most talented varsity athletes play Ultimate either in addition to or instead of the sport they were recruited to play. As David Boardman, an outstanding high school decathlete who chose Ultimate over track, wrote in a letter to The Carletonian some 15 years ago, “Athletes play the sports they love.” There may well be a “Kevin Durant type athlete” playing Ultimate somewhere. Or he may be playing badminton or water polo or rugby or any other sport that gifted athletes choose without any hope of college scholarships or a professional career—simply for the love of the game.

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