Just like any other athletic team, the URI men’s and women’s Ultimate Frisbee teams want to win. But most importantly they want to have fun. Just don’t tell them Ultimate Frisbee isn’t a real sport. They know better. Women’s coach and doctoral student Carrie Gill estimates that in a weekend-long tournament, each player sprints about 10 miles a day.
Both the men’s and women’s teams have goals to become more competitive. “This year, the goal is to break the top eight in the region,” said men’s co-captain Alex Jenkins. Last year, the men’s team tied with Northeastern University for ninth place out of approximately 30 teams in the region.
The men’s side is seeking a coach to help them reach their goal. Without a coach, Alex and co-captain Kevin Wicke play the roles of both player and coach, making decisions about tournaments, travel, and funding, while working to improve as players. And they are full-time students to boot.
Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules, or the basic joy of play.
Coach Gill said her goal is to expand the women’s program. Co-captain Meaghan Rose Costello explained that she, Gill, and co-captain Natasha Bedoya-Ross “have been working really hard to be more competitive, and that starts with numbers.” Newcomers are encouraged to join the team at any time in the year. The men’s team holds open practices for six weeks in the fall, while the women’s team does the same in the fall and spring.
The inclusiveness of the team comes from the Spirit of the Game™ part of the official rulebook that states: “Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules or the basic joy of play.”
Kevin described the camaraderie as unique. “You can pick out an Ultimate player among any group of athletes. You can be on the sidelines with members of the other team and be cracking jokes with them at the same time.”
“Ultimate attracts people who are fun. The Spirit of the Game™ is a really big part of that. That kind of personality you don’t really see in too many other sports,” Alex added.
All four captains agree on their favorite thing about Ultimate Frisbee: the camaraderie among players. “These are all my closest friends and these are the kinds of people I know I’m going to stay in touch with after college,” Meaghan said.
Jenkins agreed. “Playing the sport stops after four years, but the friendships and bonds you create with your teammates will last a lifetime.”