Women’s ultimate frisbee team makes connections through the sport

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Active students on Boise State’s campus choose to play club sports for an array of reasons. For the women of the Boise State ultimate frisbee team, playing a club sport provides a trusting family environment that eases the transition from high school to college. 

“What brought me here is not only the exercise, but also the family aspect,” said senior Katie Care. “I played frisbee in high school, but when transferring to Boise State, I was a little nervous. Eventually, I was able to ease my transition by connecting with people on campus through frisbee.”

For others, the sport provides a way to represent the university and share knowledge. 

“What I like about club sports is connecting with people from all different majors,” said second-year, senior ultimate player Sabrina Turner. “Being able to have a similar goal while also having different ideas and perspectives of the sport has been awesome. We also get to represent [Boise State] which gives us a fire under our legs.”

The team is diverse in its frisbee experience, ranging from players with 10-plus years of experience, like junior captain Emma Thoennes, to players such as Turner, who picked up the sport just last spring. The mix of novice and experienced players adds to the inclusivity and mindset of the sport; Currently, there are roughly 20 members on the ultimate team with hope for even more to join.

Ultimate frisbee is unique in the fact that no referees or officials are present on the field to determine the impact of a play or game. Instead, the sport uses a mantra known as “Spirit of the Game,” which allows the sport to maintain its sportsmanship with adherence to the agreed-upon rules. The lessons learned from Spirit of the Game vary for each individual player. 

“There’s a lot more of staying honest with yourself,” Thoennes said. “I think what Spirit of the Game does is help us create bonds within the sport, because we all want to support each other. When we go to tournaments, we hang out with girls from other teams and form friendships.”

Making friends and playing frisbee tournaments around the northwest comes with sacrifice. For the Broncos, that sacrifice is often related to academics.  

“Homework and school is the biggest sacrifice,” Thoennes said. “The season can be tough during the spring when we’re playing a bunch of tournaments. Every couple of weekends, we sacrifice our Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We leave Friday morning and get back late Sunday night. It’s a hard sacrifice, but all of the girls make it worth that sacrifice. It’s easy to cram homework earlier in the week to make it happen.”

The Broncos’ ultimate team is preparing to embark on its sixth season as a recognized club sport. With its first two seasons ending poorly, the last three have shown promise; the club is still in search of its first win at the regional tournament. 

“The original goal when creating the team was to make it to regionals,” Thoennes said. “We’ve made it the past two seasons, but haven’t won any games due to our region being super competitive — Oregon and Washington being the leaders. Our goal is to go to regionals and win just one game to show that we are progressing as a team while becoming more competitive each year.”

For those wanting to get involved with the women’s ultimate team, practices are Mondays from 6:30 to 8:15 p.m. and Thursdays from 8:15 to 10 p.m. in Caven-Williams Sports Complex.

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