Wildcats participate in the ultimate sport


The Chico State ultimate frisbee team poses for a team photo. Courtesy of the Chico State Ultimate frisbee team

Rebecca Norton

You may see a couple players on campus practicing their skills for ultimate frisbee, but this sport has more technique and hard work then the untrained eye would know. The assistant coach Austin Marden was kind enough to meet with me during their practice time and explain in depth about the sport, the team’s goals for the season, and more about this club sport at Chico State.

Observing the practice, the drills are within groups of guys who work on different skills in different places on the field. It all seemed very fast paced, and the players looked like they were enjoying themselves immensely. Some of the drills included fake throws and running across a football length field. It mostly resembled football to me, and the skill level of these throws were jaw dropping, to throw a disk six inches off of the grass that gracefully glides to another player’s hands fifty yards away.

Ultimate Frisbee, but called Ultimate by those who are familiar with the game is a mix of football, soccer, and basketball with a frisbee, also known as a disk. The end zones are like football, but the defense is like basketball with the players. Ultimate is a running sport as well, comparatively as a midfielder would run up and down a field in soccer.

Expecting about fifteen players to be practicing, it was eye opening to see over forty players practicing hard on a Tuesday night behind the official track and field stadium. The sport is a club sport, and all together the women’s and men’s team equate to about sixty to seventy players.

Marden described the team as “young and a lot of new guys try the sport. They end up becoming very passionate about it. It is hard to judge skills at practice, and most importantly the scores do not always reflect the practice.” He went on to describe the team as a big family, and how it is a gentlemen’s sport.

To elaborate, this sport has major respect for other teams, and they can shake hands at the end with the opposing team and walk away as friends. It is humbling to know that with all the anger and animosity on many teams involving rivals, that ultimate frisbee can remain calm, cool, collected, and be a great representation of Chico State. Some tips and tricks for new ultimate players is to “throw, throw, throw!”

With every sport, good practice makes better playing during games, and it may not come easy at first but accuracy and precision does grow when one practices throwing and catching regularly.

Andrew Matheson, one of the top players on the Ultimate team and a Junior at Chico State, described how he discovered and fell in love with the sport. His floormate and best friend went out for the team as a freshman, and sophomore year he decided to step out of his comfort zone and try the sport. Flourishing at it, Andrew is back for his second year and describes his personal talents as “being super fast, and a good cutter (receiver) for the team. They run cuts like running routes in football, and although he said that the beginning of the season they may be a little bit rough around the edges, everyone is welcoming, understanding, and working better then ever as a team. His personal goal for this season is to become more comfortable in the handler position.

Ultimate Frisbee was founded in the 1968 and has been widely growing over the past fifty years for being a relatively new sport. The point of the game is to throw the “disk” on the opposite team’s end zone. For Chico State Ultimate Frisbee, the sport is about two decades old on campus and was founded in 1996.

Rebecca Norton can be reached at [email protected] or @rebeccalynorton on Twitter.