Twice a week, every week, I drive 30 minutes in the summer to one of the many beaches of Long Island, New York. I don’t go to lay in the sand or go swimming — I go to practice Ultimate Frisbee.
All throughout my undergrad years I’ve spent a lot of time learning the game and playing it recreationally. It’s a fast paced game that has a heavy emphasis on sprinting, jumping, throwing, and the occasional “lay out” for the disc. It can be played either on a grass/turf field, indoors, or on the beach. Some of the rules and strategies change between each game type, but at its core it there are just three very basic rules.
- You cannot run with the disc.
- You have a set time on how long you can hold onto the disc.
- Catch the disc in the designated end zone to score
Being in my undergrad’s club ultimate team was a life changing experience. Not only did the exercise help stave off the dreaded “Freshman 15”, but the friendships and connections I’ve made on and off the field are ones that have stuck with me to this day.
Unfortunately, life changes once you’re done with undergrad. Some friends join the workforce immediately. Others travel across the country. And some masochistically continue on to higher education (myself included). Everyone has new responsibilities that takes them away in many different directions.
Here’s where the beach comes in.
Every summer, on the last weekend of July, Wildwood, NJ hosts the largest beach ultimate tournament on the east coast. And every year, my friends and I join together as “Scorgasmic” and attend that tournament. We never join the competitive side, but rather the “Beer League”, where we join other less serious teams to play for nothing more than glory and/or a cheap trophy if you win enough. So if we’re not really playing for anything, why even bother?
In an article by the Press of Atlantic City, I mentioned that “the tournament was a chance for [me] and [my] friends to get together and stay connected, as they don’t see much of each other during the year.” So every Tuesday and Thursday, we gather to see each other, play a quick scrimmage, and catch up on the week’s news. And then after the sun sets, we grab a bite to eat at our local fast food place before going home and preparing for work the next morning.
I think I’ll always have a place for the game in my heart, or at the very least, throwing a Frisbee around. Launching a disc into the sunset never really does get old.