“Pick Up a Disc”: The Rise of Beacon Ultimate Frisbee

By Andrew Najjar


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Ultimate Frisbee over the last couple of years has recently had a massive increase in interest in the Beacon Community. The boys team fought their way through the post-season run last year and hope to score some more goals in the up-and-coming season, while the girls ultimate frisbee team managed to become third in the state. One team dominates the boys team’s minds: Stuyvesant, their new rival, which knocked the boys out of the playoffs last season. Meanwhile, the girls seek to move up to number one in the state – winning all their tournaments. Now, with the ultimate frisbee season right around the corner, both teams are looking to prove their worth.

As more people in the Beacon community express interest in ultimate frisbee teams, many important questions are being raised: What is ultimate frisbee? How is it played? Is it fun? Is it hard? According to team members, ultimate frisbee is simple, extremely fun, and involves some challenges. The rules of ultimate frisbee are similar to football. The way you move the disc is by passing it to another teammate. It is also a 7-on-7 match, with only 14 players on the field at once. The overall goal on offense is to get the frisbee sent to a teammate in the endzone, earning a point. On defense, the one job is to prevent the opposing team from scoring.

The Beacon boys and girls teams are taking pride in an uptick in their membership. Fall/Winter seasonal practices have begun and already, the boys team has managed to attract roughly 9 freshman and 5 juniors. All of the new recruits are excited to make an impact on the field.  Isaac Kaplan, a junior on the boys team, is “ready and determined to bring a championship trophy to Beacon.” 6-foot-two and athletically inclined, Isaac has been an amazing addition to the team. His new teammates share his determined mentality. Some joined just to “be active” and enjoy playing ultimate frisbee with friends.

However, many Beacon students still believe that ultimate frisbee is a “stupid sport” or even a “fake sport.” That didn’t stop freshman Issandro Trenarde from joining the team: “I don’t care that the sport is looked down upon…I’m having fun and enjoying myself.” Issandro, who is very committed, will be very involved in the upcoming season.

Boys team captains Jacob Cowan and Sam Sommers-Thaler also have thoughts on ultimate frisbee being looked down upon. Jacob, a first-year captain, is ready to “take initiative.” He finds ultimate frisbee’s reputation as “fake sport” to be “annoying,” but acknowledges that “haters gonna hate.” Jacob’s attitude has spurred his team, as the the new players have stepped up their game in practice.  

Sam Sommers-Thaler is more blunt when it comes to students disrespecting ultimate frisbee: “It’s truly annoying that the sport gets violated by people who don’t even play the game! If they wanna talk sh*t, then pick up a disc and try playing. Then you can talk.” That said, Sam carries this passion onto the field. The sport tends to get difficult, as there is constant running, the games move quickly, and there are limited breaks. The sport is also extremely dynamic. It requires precision: in order to throw a frisbee well, your hands have to align in a specific way. The technique behind throwing, cutting, and catching is not easily mastered. This is why Sam, Jacob, and their peers dislike the way their sport is perceived as “fake,” finding such an attitude unfair to the players.

Despite the hate, the girls and boys teams continue to play the sport they love with pride and get new players to join them. Due to the rise in interest, the boys and girls teams are both extremely optimistic. Their coaches and their players imagine a brighter future for the sport and hope that one day, they get the recognition that the sport deserves. Boys captain Sam Sommers-Thaler knows he will graduate Beacon feeling that he left his team in good shape. Through a long battle of fighting the stereotypes of ultimate frisbee, both the teams have realized that patience and confidence are working in their favor.