Frisbee: there’s a stigma around the sport suggesting that everyone’s liberal, smokes weed, and plays barefoot. I’m not going to try and bust that stereotype since in the Northwest, it’s pretty typical for a Frisbee player to be described as such. The University of Oregon definitely has its fair share of liberal students and the men’s and women’s ultimate Frisbee teams (Ego and Fugue, respectively) fit the Frisbee player stereotype relatively well. But then again, all of those things serve as interests for students at most universities. When it comes to participating in high-level tournaments, stereotypes and the extracurricular activities associated with them can be thrown out the window. Despite the fact that I was raised in a conservative family, PBRs are not my drink of choice, and haven’t taken part in the weed scene; I somehow made my way onto Fugue and haven’t looked back. The driven atmosphere, competitive edge, physical demand, and sense of camaraderie that Frisbee entails is extraordinary. The thing is, however, is you have no idea what the sport gives back to its players unless you’ve experienced it first hand on a truly competitive stage.
Until last year, I didn’t even know that Oregon had a Frisbee team. Like a lot of folks that have never seen a great game of Frisbee, I figured it was just something hippies do while listening to indie music in the local park on a lazy Sunday. It wasn’t until I saw one of Fugue’s practices that I knew I wanted to give it a whirl. These chicks were serious about the game, competitive, and athletic; which was right up my alley.
The sport wasn’t played at my high school in Virginia and ultimate Frisbee highlights on ESPN were virtually non-existent. It was just until recently that I saw a highlight of Dylan Freechild, one of my buddies that plays for Ego, on Sportscenter top 10 plays.
There are a plethora of ESPN Top Play worthy acts that won’t be shown because of the shadows cast by the big time sports like basketball, football, baseball, and soccer. But in the clip, the sportscaster herself said, when referring to Frisbee, that it’s “just a matter of time before this becomes an Olympic sport.”
It’ll stay a relatively under-the-radar sport until public relations and marketing can convince big name networks to cover more games. More highlights and hype on ESPN will attract the natural athletes that are interested in varying from their go-to sport. USA Ultimate, the governing body on almost every level of Frisbee, came out with its strategic plan to grow the sport. The growth potential is certainly there, its just a matter of capitalizing on the opportunity to make Frisbee a sport that fits into the likes of baseball, football, soccer, and basketball.