OK so the name isn’t set (I think it’s pretty sweet though. Cutthroat Trout? What’s not to love?), but one of my current projects is starting a club ultimate frisbee team at the Fort. I played back at West Point for a few years, and while I wasn’t that great it was still a blast.
Playing a team sport is a unique experience. It hones collaborative skills in the best possible way: a competitive environment that is still very low stakes. As MacArthur put it “Upon the fields of friendly strife are born the seeds that on other days, upon other fields, will bear the fruits of victory.” I miss it.
While I never really hung out with any of my teammates outside of practice (a failing I blame both on the highly unconventional structure of the academy in comparison to civilian colleges as well as my struggles with clinical depression), I could always count on them for anything I needed. Dinner? Sure, there’s someone who’ll go with me. Go for a run? Hell yeah, ultimate players love to run (maybe not all of us, but we like the end result). Help with some homework? No problem, we had a bunch of smart dudes in a wide variety of majors. Drinking buddy? Hahaha obviously.
It’s the parallel that exists between trusting a teammate to be where you need them to be on the field and trusting them in so-called “real life” tat interests me the most. Whether it was for a dump throw, or a full-field huck, or shutting down an opposing cutter when I’m marking the disc on a vital defensive point, I knew I could trust my teammates to do their damnedest. Why? Because we shared a common goal: winning (also having fun, of course). Because we put in hours of grueling practice chasing down purposefully overthrown hucks and dragging our bodies through the mud and snow on layout drills. Because we had a bond.
It makes sense that we would become friends, at least on some level. How could you NOT trust someone who’s willing to put their body on the line for you? That might be the ultimate bond, right there: the willingness to make a physical sacrifice for someone. John 15:13 comes to mind for those familiar with the bible, right? “Greater love has no man than this, to lay down his life for his friends.”
That’s really one of the big reasons I want to form a team: easy, close friends. A tight-knit group that I’ve been lacking since I left West Point. I think it would be great for the college, and for others, but ultimately it comes down to self-interest. (Shoutout to Prof. Walker, economics is the science of life). Yes, I want to improve my community, but it’s because I want a better community for myself.
Check out the recruiting poster! PS: the date is tentative, still trying to lock down a room reservation for a meeting.
Also if you don’t think ultimate’s a “real” sport, please watch some of these youtube videos:
2007 UPA Finals Remixed, a classic
Dylan Freechild Callahan nomination, 2013
Team USA U23 Mixed Highlights, 2013
Jimmy Mickle (one of the greats) Callahan nomination, 2014