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Ultimate Frisbee's versatility attracts ASU students

Women's club returns after three year hiatus

 by Amanda Fruzynski
 published on Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Three years after disappearing from the ASU sports scene, the Women's Ultimate Frisbee Club has been brought back to life through the efforts of president, coach, and veteran player Pauline Moleski and her team of 14 Sunny Discettes. The team has been revived this semester just in time to remind a few people of how fun the sport can be, and to introduce it to a whole new group of eager-to-learn students.

Moleski, an ASU graduate student and program coordinator for the ASU Foundation, decided to try starting an ultimate Frisbee club after having played for four years on the Valley of the Sun Ultimate co-ed team. She felt that more people needed to know exactly what ultimate Frisbee is. "When I mentioned it, I used to get things like, 'Is that with a dog? Is that like Frisbee golf?'" Moleski said. "People don't realize it's a highly competitive sport. It requires a lot of athleticism."

Ultimate Frisbee was a big sport in the 80s, and was revived again three years ago at ASU, Moleski said, but was dismantled that same year. This year, she is starting out with a whole new team of girls, all with varying skill levels. "At least 80 percent have never touched a Frisbee before. It's amazing how quickly everyone picks up on it," she said.

Many people have no idea of exactly how the game is played, or that it uses a skill set of different hand throws and plays.

"You hold the Frisbee in different ways to make it go higher or lower, curve, go around someone," Moleski said.

The basic premise of the game according to the Ultimate Players Association, a group that oversees ultimate Frisbee organizations nationwide is to move the Frisbee, or disc, across a playing field by tossing and catching between players. The game is played with two teams of seven players, and, much like basketball, when a player catches the disc, he or she cannot move with it. The player can pivot and pass the disc on, but only has ten seconds to toss the disc. Points are scored when the disc is caught in the other team's end zone, similar to football. Moleski said the game is also often compared to soccer because of the constant running.

The game has no outside referees, which Moleski said is a big part of "the spirit of the game.

"Each player has it on themselves to encourage fair play. They have a mutual respect," Moleski said, adding that this also changes the attitude of ultimate Frisbee as compared to other sports. "In other sports, it's about 'I'm going to beat you.' There's still competitiveness in ultimate, but it's more like 'I'm excited to play with you," Moleski said. "Some of the best times are playing against new teams, getting to know them, and just hanging out afterwards."

Fall is traditionally the pre-season for college-level ultimate Frisbee and spring is when all the competitions take place, Moleski said. "It's important to start to recruit in the fall and get their basic skills fine-tuned, and then go to the tournaments in the spring."

The team's first scrimmage was Friday, Nov. 2 against Northern Arizona University. As the girls practiced, with quick flicks of the arm and long lunges in the air, they were excited about both their first game and about being part of an ultimate Frisbee team in general.

"The girls are really fun, and just being out here playing a sport that's different, it's great," said broadcast journalism freshman Kaetlynn Daoust. Daoust said she had never played ultimate Frisbee before. "I played soccer for 13 years and decided to change it up when I got to college."

Teammates and roommates Elle Santley, an undeclared freshman, and Katie McClearan, a psychology freshman, had both never played the game before but enjoy the sport, like Daoust, because it's so different. "It's like five sports in one," McClearan said.

Spanish senior Jee Witt used to play ultimate Frisbee when ASU had a team three years ago, her freshman year. After it dismantled, Witt played on the Valley of the Sun team until she heard that ASU would once again have a team, just in time for her senior year, she said.

"It requires a lot of teamwork. And you can't not have a good time," she said.

One of the benefits of the sport, Moleski said, is that players are constantly improving, especially ones that are new to ultimate Frisbee. "That to me is really exciting, when I see the new players catch on."

Witt said what makes the sport fun is the "range of people and skills.

"Anyone just stepping on the field versus someone who's been playing for 10 years can play together," she added.

Moleski said that the team is still open to anyone that wants to join.

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