Although height and weight do not guarantee success in ultimate Frisbee, there is a slight advantage to having a team made up of six-foot-tall, 180-plus pound players. The Colorado College Men’s Frisbee team was reminded of the importance of size when they played Air Force for the fourth time this season a week ago. The game was competitive, but the Tigers couldn’t make up for size with technical skill.
The Tigers suffered a decided defeat at the hands of the Air Force at the Air Force invitational earlier this fall. When they faced them again at a tournament in Indiana, the CC team, craving redemption, snagged a victory. The third match-up was three weeks ago in the finals of Sectionals. The will was there but the execution wasn’t, and the Tigers lost to Air Force once again.
According to Senior Joel Fisher-Katz, the offensive line needs to be efficient while the defensive line must capitalize on every turn over that they get if they are going to beat Air Force. Due to errors, Air Force managed to score on the Tigers almost every time they turned over the disc.
“It was definitely a competitive game,” said Fisher-Katz. “We were getting turns but they just weren’t converting to scoring.”
With the biggest spectator turnout the Tigers have ever seen at home, the stakes were high. It may have been the added pressure that caused the boys to make mistakes. Varying levels of investment on the field may have also contributed to the quality of play. “Some of the seniors are going to nationals next weekend, but for other seniors, it was their last game so they wanted to have a really great outcome,” Fisher-Katz said. “I think because it was the last game for some and not for others there was different levels of investment.”
Fisher-Katz has been playing Frisbee for 10 years and already plans to continue after he graduates. So, although this game was the final for him in some respects, it was ultimately just another game in his Frisbee career. “I’ll definitely keep playing [ultimate] but I want to play mixed,” he said. “With the type of competition ultimate is, it doesn’t work as well when you’re playing in any type of exclusionary setting.” By mixed, Fisher-Katz is referring to a co-ed team. Playing ultimate frisbee requires understanding the “spirit of the game.” Because there are no referees and people call their own fouls, male and female mixed teams can thrive. “As its moved into the professional setting, there’s definitely more referee like things, but that general spirit comes through and makes it this cool platform for a lot of different types of discourse like gender equity, pay for athletes, etc.,” Said Fisher-Katz.
Strong handlers, or throwers, are essential to the success of an ultimate Frisbee team. For this reason, co-ed teams sometimes have the upper hand. “There are amazing female handlers,” said Fisher-Katz. “Even if the opposing team does put in a bunch of six foot dudes, a smaller woman could turn faster or get under someone,” he said. “It’s a team sport in a way where you really can create match ups that make it equal and contested.”
2017 marks the fifth year ultimate frisbee has been considered a professional sport and it has since consolidated from two to one league. In fact, according to Fisher-Katz, there are at least three professional teams that have women playing for them. As gender inclusive teams become more and more popular, perhaps in the future the Tigers will have a co-ed Frisbee team as well. Maybe then they will beat Air Force.