The Ultimate club

Pamela Crimbchin

A flying disc on a clear spring day brings two schools together

Paul Guyas is in his eighth year playing competitive ultimate Frisbee and loves the sport for three reasons:

“Green grass, blue sky and a floating disc through the air.”

Kent State’s ultimate Frisbee team is excited to get outdoors and practice, but Ohio’s jaw-dropping amount of snowfall didn’t stop the team from practicing and playing collegiate ultimate Frisbee all winter long.

“(Collegiate Frisbee) is still relatively new,” captain Navid Farajipour, junior biology major said. “It’s going to take awhile for other schools to learn about it.”

The team is partnered with Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, or NEOUCOM. Men and women from both schools are allowed to join.

David Lerner, first year doctor of medicine at NEOUCOM, joined the Kent State team after playing for North Carolina State in his undergrad.

“I like how it combines a lot of different sports,” Lerner said. “It’s like soccer ’cause it’s continuous, so if there’s a turnover you keep playing. There’s a lot of passing, kind of similar to football, and then every once in a while it gets kind of rough like hockey.”

The team starts practicing the basics of Frisbee – teaching and refreshing players on how to properly throw a Frisbee and the official rules to the game – at the beginning of the school year.

“Basic fundamentals,” Guyas, exercise and physiology graduate said. “You’re out here in August teaching them the very thing. How to hold it. How to throw it.”

After players have the basics down, the team starts to strategize and make plays to use during the season.

“In the spring there’s not so many (tournaments) because of the weather,” junior education major David Schultz said. “In the fall there’s usually seven or eight that you can go to competitively.”

Collegiate ultimate Frisbee games are a lot like the games played at backyard barbecues but with more rules and regulations.

“Typically in backyard (Frisbee) a lot of things go,” Schultz said. “Here we have rules like disc space. You have to be within a certain space. You can’t have two people on one guy guarding – just kind of basic rules.”

There are no referees in ultimate Frisbee, so players self-officiate and call all the fouls. Fouls can be called for contacts, line crossings and stall counts.

Ultimate Frisbee is considered a “sprit of the game” sport, which according to the Ultimate Players Association’s Web site means the game stresses sportsmanship and fair play.

For some of Kent State’s ultimate Frisbee players, this spirit is the biggest draw to the game.

“It’s a very laid back sport culture,” captain Guyas said. “That attitude and that culture can be kind of good for people who don’t want into the whole basketball, football, soccer sort of sports.”

However, some members, such as Amir Kaghazwala sophomore fashion merchandise major, still play for the win.

“I’m a competitive person,” Kaghazwala said. “I like to win. Intramural sports are cool and stuff, but you don’t always play to win. You play to have fun. We play to have fun, but it’s also competitive.”

Others joined the team for an extracurricular activity to do on weekends.

“I don’t go out and party and stuff, so it’s something to do,” sophomore communication major Dave Miller said. “The guys are fun, it’s a fun game and I enjoy playing it in the summer.”

Even though members of the team continue to play collegiate ultimate Frisbee for different reasons, they all started for the same reason: to have fun in the summer sun.

“If you like to have fun and want to learn how to play Frisbee it’s a great, great thing to do,” Kaghazwa said. “I mean we like to win, but we also like to have fun.”

Contact Student Recreation and Wellness Center reporter Pam Crimbchin at [email protected].