Taking a frisbee from fetch to fierce

While popular sports like football and basketball often seem to overshadow other athleticism, the Sam Houston State University Ultimate Frisbee Team is quickly gaining new hype throughout the campus.

The Ultimate Frisbee team has been active in competitions year-round. The team attends four to six tournaments a semester. These tournaments are held all over Texas and sometimes the team even travels to neighboring states. Places like Dallas, Lubbock, Austin and Baton Rouge have been able to host the two-day tournaments. If it works out, Sam Houston plans on hosting one in the near future.

Ultimate Frisbee coach and player Stryker Stinnette said that the beauty of the game is its accessibility to any person.

“Anyone can play” Stinnette said. “We will take anyone who is willing to work.”

The Ultimate Frisbee team has 15-20 men on the roster. They hold practice on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 4 p.m. at Pritchett Field.

“Practices are open to all guys who are willing to put some effort into it,” Stinnette said.

While the team is only made up of guys, anyone can go and watch a practice or a game.

“This sport is all about the spirit of the game,” Stinnette said. “It is what makes it so great.”

The Ultimate Frisbee team at Sam Houston began in 2002 when Jackson Shaver Hall decided to play a Christian organization once a week. Some of the players enjoyed the game so much that they entered a league in The Woodlands. In no time, Amy Swingle, the club sport director at the time, asked the team if they would be interested in becoming a club sport. In Fall 2003, the SHSU Ultimate Frisbee Team was approved for school funding through club sports and competed in The Woodlands league. The new team went to state that year.

Ultimate Frisbee, also referred to as Ultimate, is a sport that combines many of the ideas of soccer and football and turns it into its own game. Ultimate utilizes the endurance and non-stop movement of soccer with the passing skills of football. Two teams of seven players pass a disc or a Frisbee down a field that is similar to football into the opponent’s end zone. Once the Frisbee is caught in the end zone, it is a score.

This game may appear to be reasonably simple. However, this relatively new sport requires strategy, stamina and talent. SHSU is not the first Ultimate team. The sport began in 1968 when teenagers from Columbia High School in Maplewood, N.J., decided to play a new game to pass time.

The object of the game is to catch the Frisbee in the end zone as much as possible. In this game there is no running but simply throwing. Players toss a frisbee, made by Discraft, to one another down the field. There are several passes that are crucial for success.

As players strive to score, they must remember that this sport has absolutely no contact. If any physical contact is made, a foul is called. This sport is different than any other when it comes to fouls. Instead of having an officiator, each player simply talks out the foul to decide who was at fault. This is known as the Spirit of the Game.

Ultimate stresses fair play and high-quality sportsmanship. The rules are important and each player must carry their own ethical system as they play. The responsibility is placed on the players and not a referee.

From this, the sport grew. The first intercollegiate competition was held in 1972 between Rutgers and Princeton. The popularity of the sport was astounding. Now hundreds of students, whether athletes or not, participate in the game.

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