As far as sports spectating on Memorial Day weekend, I look to baseball and lacrosse. I know what you’re thinking—another Duke lacrosse powerhouse story. Not the case here, folks. But, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the powerhouse that they truly are, and this is coming from a Tar Heel—if I can admit it, so can you.
However, this isn’t another lacrosse story.
This is a story about Ultimate Frisbee.
Go ahead, reread that last sentence.
Because this weekend, in between lacrosse sticks and baseball bats, I was watching frisbees flying around in the Ultimate Frisbee D-1 college championships.
Until my freshman year at UNC, I thought Ultimate had always been a game played by church youth groups, seriously lacking in competitive nature. Which is why I never referred to or even thought of it as a sport, Ultimate was always just a game.
Though Ultimate isn’t a varsity sport, UNC does offer club teams for both girls and guys. I’m not going to lie, when I first thought of Frisbee players, I thought of a bunch of guys running around barefoot, hair dreaded, and sporting a whole lot of tie-dye (which isn’t completely untrue in some cases). However, the typical Frisbee player is extremely athletic and usually played at least one, if not multiple high school sports.
So then I went to a college game. And, let me tell you, it is not “just a game”. What I was watching that spring was not what we played at church. It was a fast-paced, full-forced, high-intensity, complete commotion. I was impressed, and I never thought I’d say that about a Frisbee game. However, I wasn’t convinced it deserved to be called a sport.
But after I learned ESPN3 would be live streaming the national semi-finals and finals, I had to give it some credit.
When UNC guys’ team, Darkside, made it to nationals for the third year in a row, I took the bait and started researching. It reeled me in as UNC made it to the semi-finals for the first time in program history. And when Darkside made it to the finals, I was officially hooked.
Heck, I wasn’t just hooked, I was completely captivated. Because come semi-finals time, I wasn’t only watching, but also completely following. I was checking out rankings, looking up stats, even contributing to the live blogs.
Unfortunately, the tournament didn’t have a storybook ending for the Tar Heel boys as they finished in second. But, after a weekend full of screaming fans, incredible blocks, and diving catches, I can honestly say I completely consider Ultimate Frisbee a sport.