Girls’ Ultimate Players Understand the “Spirit of the Game”

Morgan Sheehy, page editor

Ultimate frisbee has recently taken Edina High School by storm. This uptick in popularity is not surprising given that the sport offers players a rare athletic experience that promotes integrity and fair play over winning at any cost. In 2017, Edina High School’s girls ultimate frisbee team had a 67% increase in participation from the previous year, and this season, the team boasts an all time high of 67 players.  

Playing Ultimate frisbee is very similar to playing a game of football, except there is no physical contact and a frisbee is used in place of a ball. The game is fast paced, and qualities like speed and agility are just as important as height and size.

Junior Captain Clara Bils joined the Edina Ultimate team as a freshman with absolutely no prior experience. “I was only good at it because I was fast. I had no idea how to play the sport, and the atmosphere that it provided was just so much different than other sports,” Bils said.

One major element that makes Ultimate different from other sports is what is known as “the spirit of the game.”  Ultimate is self-officiated, meaning there are absolutely no referees on the field or watching the game. Each game relies on a spirit of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on each respective player. Although players are expected to play at a highly competitive level, they are not to bend the rules or “win at all costs.” The mutual respect between competitors and simple thrill of playing the game are more important. “At the end of each game, you rank a team and give them a spirit score: How nice they were, how much they followed the rules, if they were honest when contested. We are really held to high standard of sportsmanship which is what makes Ultimate so special,” Bils said.

Madi Succio is a sophomore rookie on the team this season and has already been impacted by Ultimate’s ethical foundation of integrity. “I’ve only attended a couple captain’s practices and I love it already. It’s just so cool if you really think about it. Leaving the trust up to the players on the field and building bonds with players on other teams as well…the organization is united and that’s pretty cool,” Succio said. The principles of this self-regulated sport offer students a unique opportunity to transform the world of competitiveness.