Viewpoint | Ultimate Frisbee -- ultimately not a real sport
Published: Thursday, April 21, 2005
Updated: Sunday, August 17, 2008 14:08
It seems like every time I go out to enjoy some of Tufts' open green areas these days, I am confronted with the ultimate Frisbee team playing Frisbee. I make a point of saying that they are not playing ultimate, as they like to refer to it. Instead, they are simply playing Frisbee, just as hippies that play hackey sack are just playing hackey sack, not "Extreme Hackey Sack." And if anybody who plays hackey sack should try to tell you that hackey sack is their "sport," you would laugh at them. This should be our attitude toward ultimate Frisbee.
I do not want to stoop so low as to have to explain to you why ultimate Frisbee is not a real sport, and that even if it was, it would be a totally crappy sport. I try not to understand the rules. Let's just say that any "sport" where you stand in front of your opponent and say "One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi ..." is far too close to calling out the time before you can blitz in touch football. Could you imagine the basketball team counting down the opponent's shot clock? Of course not, and that is because basketball is a real sport and ultimate Frisbee is not. There are a multitude of other reasons why Frisbee is not a sport, but I am sure you can figure them out on your own.
Frisbees, when used properly, can lead to quite a lot of fun. You can take them out to the green with your friends on a nice afternoon. You can take them to a party and play the old "I bet you I can fit five beers in this Frisbee" trick. You can take them to a Frisbee golf course and pretend you are playing Frisbee golf as opposed to just getting high in the woods. We can reap so much enjoyment from Frisbees, and yet there is this small enclave of ridiculous people who think that playing Frisbee should entail doing push-ups and running laps. They have a legitimate-looking website and bark at each other like football players while doing drills. They tell you about how hard their Frisbee workout was. A workout? To play Frisbee? Friends, let's leave playing Frisbee to the real experts: dirty hippies.
But let me come to some sort of legitimate point. I am tired of the Frisbee "team" always taking up Fletcher field, which, if reserved for anything, should naturally be reserved for a superior sport, such as softball or baseball. This position is strengthened by the fact that Fletcher Field is, in fact, a softball diamond. Do the football or hockey teams have territory battles over who gets to use the ice rink? Does the field hockey team fight for time on the basketball court? Certainly not. Each sport should stick to its field/arena/court. Unfortunately, Frisbee is not a real sport and therefore it has no field.
In fact, Fletcher should be reserved for nothing at all. It is the one Tufts athletic field that you do not have to be on a team to use. As my friends and I have been told several times while being kicked off the official baseball field by Officer Williams, "Go play on Fletcher. It is the only diamond that you don't have to be on an athletic team to use." Even though this means a downgrade from baseball to softball (although softball allows one to drink beer while playing, more evidence of its superiority over Frisbee), we obey like good Tufts students. And what happens when we get there? The Frisbee "team" is there taking up right and center field.
The most unbelievable thing is that the Frisbee people have convinced some administrators in the athletic department that it is a sport (I shudder at the thought that my tuition money might be used to pay for ultimate Frisbee jerseys or cones).
So when we logically tell the Frisbee people that we were using the field first, they take out their laminated paper saying that they have been given the right to the field. They act like WE, a legitimate intramural softball team, are intruding on THEIR field. On a softball field! I do not understand how they can set up their cones in the outfield and then get upset when they have to dodge fly balls. That is like going to sunbathe on the discus field during a track meet and then getting pissed because people keep throwing discuses at you. Can anyone really take seriously the idea that these Frisbee people are more entitled to the field than an IM softball team? Naturally, we try to be rude to them.
The funny thing is that the Frisbee people are the only ones that we have issues with. If two softball teams want to use the diamond, one waits its turn for the other to finish, or they play together in a spirit of camaraderie. Even though softball/baseball is clearly superior to all other sports played on Fletcher and even though Fletcher is unmistakably a softball field, we are still happy to share the field with the cricket players, soccer players, sun bathers, people walking dogs and the people playing Frisbee for fun. Everyone shares, compromises, and make room for one another. But the Frisbee "team?" Oh no. I admit that they try to be polite about it, but they set up their cones and courteously try to kick everyone off just the same.
Enough of this quasi-sport stuff. The athletic department needs to come to its senses and realize that playing Frisbee is not a real sport and stop giving the Frisbee people the right to use up Fletcher. Either that, or it needs to recognize ultimate Frisbee as a sport (I know it is ridiculous, but bear with me) and give them a field of their own. Fletcher should be a community field shared by everyone who wants to use it.
Mark Langer is a senior majoring in international letters and visual studies.