First Ultimate game unites new and returning players

LOCKED IN. Senior Theo Zimmerman, a more experienced player, springs up off the grass with the frisbee in hand after taking a fall.
LOCKED IN. Senior Theo Zimmerman, a more experienced player, springs up off the grass with the frisbee in hand after taking a fall.
Thomas Chen

Sun shined down on the green football field at Como High School. The air was chilly and crisp, and the sky was clear, creating the perfect conditions for ultimate frisbee. The ideal environment set the tone for a casual and enjoyable match.

Last Thursday afternoon, the boys and girls of the Spartan ultimate team took on Como for their first game of the season. For some, it was their first time playing Ultimate, yet for others, it was one of the many matches that they have participated in. In the end, the Spartans won 12-8, but the game was much less about the competition and more about the fun and relationships fostered during the short two hours.

Senior Amalia Laguna said, “Como is really fun to play. They always have an amazing spirit…People were really putting their all in which is awesome,” reflecting on their pleasant experience.

The game started abruptly at 6 p.m. Coaches Joseph Martin and Terry Cheney called on the first lineup of seven players to take their positions at the end of the field, as Como did the same. Three. Two. One. Go. The frisbee flew through the air, and both teams sprinted after it.

Although it’s a team sport, there are some times when it’s you and the Frisbee and you’re just running as fast as you can.

— Anja Seifert

The goal of ultimate is similar to football: throw and catch the frisbee until it makes its way to the endzone. If a team drops the frisbee, is intercepted, or is caught out of bounds, the opposing side takes possession. When possession is shifted, a player taps the frisbee on the ground, and the game continues. Outside of the occasional time-out or lineup change after a point, the action is constant.

Senior Anja Seifert said, “Although it’s a team sport, there are some times when it’s you and the Frisbee and you’re just running as fast as you can.”

Immediately, the more experienced seniors Theo Zimmerman and Theo Bonin stood out on the field, aggressively chasing, throwing and catching the frisbee. Constantly yelling out directions, both lead the team to multiple points. Energy surged all through the field as sideline players enthusiastically supported their teammates through chants, cheers and the occasional dance. Nevertheless, the smaller Como squad held their own and ended the first half in a close 9-6 score, with the Spartans in the lead.

“Our sideline was really active today,” Laguna said.

Seifert felt similarly, “I heard a lot of cheering from Como and no negative comments,” she said.

The fun really picked up once the second half began. As the sun started to set, rays of light shone through the woods behind the field and illuminated the faces of the athletes. It seemed as if senior McKinley Garner had a fire lit within himself. Throwing himself across the field, he aggressively chased the frisbee at any opportunity. On multiple occasions, he cut off his own Spartan teammates. His behavior was met with confused faces, but it always turned into laughter.

Points continued to be scored by both teams, and new players began to establish themselves. Sophomore Jessie Wussler, a new team member, was crucial for many of the moves in the game. Like Garner, he wasn’t afraid to commit to bold moves and found himself lying face first on the grass multiple times, but almost always holding the frisbee.

Eventually, the sun set, and with it came the end of the game. The Spartans maintained their lead after an exciting second half and came out on top, 12-8. As the season progresses, the team anticipates more games and new members.

“Everyone’s really, really welcoming. So even if you’ve never played before, it’s a nice community to be able to join,” Laguna said.

Their next game will be this Thursday at 6 p.m. at Minneapolis Southwest High School.

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