Prōfectus: Ultimate frisbee club

Playing ultimate frisbee on the quad

Photo courtesy of

By Lam Ho

Executive Staff

Each Saturday at 4 p.m., Ultimate Frisbee Club meets on the practice football field. Led by Lance Hardeman (C’16), president, and Dr. Jordan Troisi, faculty advisor, and a group of impassioned players of all levels of experience, these pick-up games unite one pocket of the Sewanee community that not only promotes a long-standing sense of community, but the tradition and character of the sport: the “Spirit of the Game.”

As defined by USA Ultimate, ultimate frisbee is a “player defined and controlled non-contact team sport played with a flying disc on a playing surface with end zones in which all actions are governed by the ‘Spirit of the Game.’” It combines “the non-stop movement and athletic endurance of soccer with the aerial passing skills of football, a game of ultimate is played by two teams with a flying disc on a field with end zones.” Since its beginnings in the 1960s, the sport has brought together college students every-where and is now included in World Games. Here on the Mountain, however, the club still strives to find its footing in the community. Meeting each Saturday creates the environment where each player can become a sharper athlete: Treasurer Phillip Gould (C’16) said, “Sewanee’s team for ultimate is an incredibly diverse group with an array of skill levels. It seems that every week we’re always improving, and that’s something I really enjoy.” The progression of the club as well as the sense of camaraderie between the members has set the avid ultimate frisbee players on track for growth, both numerically and in their spirit. The group plans to expand and solidify a team that can compete region-ally, proving their efforts to improve have not been in vain. They have plans to participate on a larger scale and outside of Sewanee. The club has been looking into fundraising opportunities and hopes to participate in tournaments in the Southeast, but their success relies on the number of players who show interest in committing to the team. Sewanee Sports Club recently added ultimate to one of the games they play, boosting the morale of Ultimate Frisbee Club. Co-founder Chris Woolverton (C’17) said, “I went to a pick-up game my freshman year; it wasn’t huge or intense, but that being said, it’s grown. We get consistently between eighteen and twenty people. We were in a hiatus, but now we’re back.” To him, the growth of the club has marked a greater sense of community: “When I first started going again at Easter semester last year, I’d be having a bad week or had just been destroyed without sleep all week because of a paper, and I’d be looking forward to ultimate. 4 p.m. on a Saturday was always blacked out on my calendar, and it became my priority.”

Troisi, the club’s faculty advisor, said, “There’s now a push (in recent years) to put together a club team that might compete against other schools as well. At this point we’re still in the fledgling stages of that, but we’ll see what emerges over time. I know in the past there have been times when there has been a fair amount of ultimate on campus, and that’s waxed and waned over the year, but these past two years I’ve been happy and excited to see that things are growing and people are really excited about it.”

“The Spirit of the Game is the idea that we play this sport for the love of it… There’s a respect for one another, there’s a respect for playing this for the enjoyment of the game, and that permeates all levels of the game,” Troisi said. “That’s what drew me to the sport a decade ago.” Troisi, who played during his undergraduate years and through his twenties, has traveled across the country and even to Ire-land and Canada to enjoy the sport. In fact, he created bonds with some of his closest friends through the sport. His favorite frisbee, one from his friends Fred and Nelly’s wedding, tells the story of his teammates’ fake wedding during an ultimate frisbee tournament. The Spiderpigs, their team, created a rule: “Once a romantic couple comes to a tournament together more than twice, they can never break up because it would disturb the fabric of the team.” In this spirit, Troisi and the teammates put together a fake wedding for Fred and Nelly, who finally got married last May. His story is only one way that ultimate has united a sports team and, ultimately, a family. If you want to join the ultimate family, come out to the practice football field on Saturday at 4 p.m. and try your hand at ultimate Frisbee.