The Ultimate Team Game: Frisbee Team Prepares for the Season

Jake Niefield, Staff Writer

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This isn’t your typical “play on the beach” sport anymore. Ultimate Frisbee, or “Ultimate”, is being played universities across the country, and a group of Minnetonka students is looking forward to starting their season.
The rules are a little unusual but I will explain. Ultimate is a non-contact, fast-paced, co-ed sport in which there are seven players on each side. The game is played to fifteen in youth, thirteen in college & tournaments, and nineteen in elite & international. Once a player catches the frisbee (often called “disc”), (s)he must stop and establish a pivot foot (like basketball); the player has ten seconds to throw to a teammate, and if (s)he does not throw by ten seconds, it is a turnover. If your disc hits the ground at any point, it is also a turnover and possession goes to the defense. You score by passing to a teammate in an end zone (like football).
This sport truly is the “ultimate” team sport (pun intended); it is the only sport that one cannot score by themselves. The thing that makes ultimate different is the fact that it’s completely self-officiated; there are no referees, even on the highest level. Spirit of the game (or S.O.T.G) is crucial.
Assistant Captain Peter Linden (‘17) says, “The dynamic varies from team to team, everyone wants to win, but it’s about having that want to win as well as having respect for the opponents. Spirit of the Game is playing to win, but playing fair and having a good time doing it.”
Now that you briefly know the rules, let’s meet some of the members of the Minnetonka Narwhals. Head Captain, Sam Niefeld (‘17) has been on this team since 2013, obtaining an All-Lake Conference and an All-State nominee.
When describing the differences between this year and previous year’s teams, he said, “Before, the team was really focused on coming together as a group, and it showed in the 2nd half of last season. This year we can be more competitive for the entire year now that we have an established chemistry.”
`While there are many returning players, there are many new players who join the team for many different reasons, like Dillon Wray (‘19)
“[I] found a frisbee in my garage, so I decided [that I] might as well go throw [the frisbee] around a bit with my neighbor, it turned out to be really fun.” William Honey (‘18) who joined because he “threw around with Dillion [Wray] and we decided to find an ultimate team. When there was an announcement that we had an ultimate team, [We] had to go check [the team] out.” While Ultimate is an unknown sport to many, Cole Forsmark (‘19) is hoping that they can give the sport a new outlook.
“We’re really hoping that people will see us as a legitimate sport and we’re hoping to shed the stereotypes that have plagued our sport for years,” Forsmark said.
The Narwhals will start their season in mid-March with home games on Thursdays at MME and practices at North Lotus Lake Park on Mondays and Tuesdays. If you’d like to follow the team throughout their season or how to find out more about the team, follow them on twitter @tonka_ultimate.

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