Passing on the disk

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Passing on the disk

Grace Fearheiley, writer

Her hair bobs as she sprints down the field. Eileen Finley, sophomore, prepares to intercept a frisbee throw during a KHS ultimate frisbee game. As she runs down the field, she is reminded of when she first started playing frisbee with her family. Frisbee has been one of her passions for the majority of her life, stemming from her family’s love for the game. Her father played the game in high school on club teams as well as summer leagues after high school. He has been playing for 30 years. According to Eileen, the sport is very unique from others because of the spirit of the game and the fact that the players are their own referees.

“I have been playing ultimate frisbee since eighth grade,” Eileen Finley said. “But I have been throwing the frisbee as early as I could, probably since I was five.”

According to Eileen, one of the factors that makes frisbee so unique is the communication between the teams playing against each other. Despite the game being competitive, after the match the two opposing teams will get in a circle and discuss the specific strategies the other team performed. She said that there is a lot of spirit involved in the game, such as the spirit example, that makes playing ultimate very different than playing any other competitive sport.

“Everyone is so friendly with each other and we have the spirit of the game which also keeps us closer,” Eileen Finley said. “It’s unique in a sense because it’s not like any other sport. Some people are competitive, but it’s a lot more low key than other sports.”

Her favorite part of ultimate frisbee is the positive interaction between opposing teams. Rather than just being competitive and never interacting with each other than on the field, opposing teams will communicate after the game. She likes the community aspect of ultimate frisbee and that the community is growing.

“The community [is my favorite part of frisbee] because in a lot of sports it’s really competitive and the teams stand on opposite sides of the field and never really talk to each other after games,” Eileen said. “But in frisbee we are all about [relationships between teams] because we are such a small and growing community.”

Claire Zickel, sophomore, [second year player on the KHS Women’s Ultimate Frisbee] team. She believes the fact that frisbee is so unique compared to other sports makes the game very interesting and fun to play. Zickel said it is a competitive sport, but when it comes down to it, everybody must play the game with respect.

“[My favorite part of playing ultimate frisbee is] the community and all of the nice things that everyone does and says. It isn’t very stressful,” Claire Zickel said. “It’s a fun time to play with the team.”

Rich Finley, Eileen’s father, is the coach of the KHS Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team and has been coaching for 12 years. He learned the game and gained experience in playing by being involved in club teams as well as summer leagues. He says he enjoys coaching because it is enjoyable to see people grow as they learn to love the game.  

“I always find it so fun to see people not only learn the game but also get excited about it and continue playing,” Rich said. “They might play in college, or they might play in summer leagues [after high school].”

Being a part of a team and making friends from the team is Rich’s favorite part of playing ultimate frisbee. According to him, he and the other players on the club team he played on are still friends because of the strong bond they formed while playing on the same team. He enjoyed learning more about the game and having a great group of friends from playing on the club team together.

“It is a fun game, there is good spirit, and socially it’s a good experience too,” Rich Finley said. “The best part of playing [ultimate frisbee] is being part of a team, in the club team I played with for ten years. I had a lot of friends, played a lot of good games and learned a lot. The most fun was the group of friends, and we are still friends so it’s great.”

According to Rich, ultimate frisbee is very different compared to other sports in the sense that the players referee their own games. When an opposing team commits a foul, the players have to call the foul themselves. This means the players and coaches are responsible for remembering all of the rules of the game, as well as recognizing when a foul is committed and calling the foul. According to him, this is why the teams respect each other immensely.

“There’s a lot of respect in the game because there [aren’t any referees] and you call your own,” Rich said. “You can play hard but you still have respect [for the other team].”

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