The Murray State Ultimate Frisbee Club is about more than fun and relaxation. It is about competition.
The club started in the mid-2000s, and is starting to gain more traction in the community.
The team travels to tournaments all over the midwest and has finished in the top five in each of its previous three contests this semester.
Co-captain David Haynes said they have placed third, fourth and first in tournaments this season.
Haynes said the club has expanded to about 20 members after a solid fall recruitment class.
He said it is a unique option for those who are looking to play a sport but not deal with the extreme competition of traditional athletics.
“Its an alternative to ultra competitive club sports like soccer, where you’re dealing with 50 guys coming out for a team,” Haynes said. “Its more of a friendship mode with this rather than competition mode, and that’s what drives it I think.”
While the team does like to have fun and encourages students of all talent levels to come try the sport, Haynes said the players’ attitudes change when it comes to competition.
“We did completely change the philosophy of our club this past semester,” he said. “We decided we wanted to be more competitive. You know, anyone can come out and practice but to go to a tournament, you need to be in peak athletic shape.”
He said the members have to be more selective in recruiting to uphold this new style of play.
“We’re looking for taller players and quicker players than we’ve had before,” he said. “We still want to bring anyone we can in, but we’re a little more focused than we have been in other years.”
The team is coached by its captains, who put together the roster, travel plans and hotel accommodations prior to tournaments.
“Generally what we do is we’ll tell (the players) if they are ready for a tournament,” Haynes said. “Obviously they can come and watch and we’ll put them in games, but not in crucial situations. It’ll be in games where the game is like 13-0, but we do encourage everyone to come out and play.”
The last tournament marked the end of the fall season for the club, which now moves into winter conditioning.
It will host an exhibition indoor tournament in Carr Health for local and regional teams to open up the spring semester.
“Every spring we host an indoor door tournament to kind of get our name out there,” co-captain Ryan Curry said. “Other schools will come in and compete in the indoor tournament. Local teams have also competed, and that’s always really fun.”
Along with the February tournament, the club also plans to host a larger 12-team tournament later in the spring semester.
Curry said he has stayed involved because the rules are a collaboration from several other sports.
“I think it takes some of the best parts from other sports that are really fun,” he said. “You know, you’re using the end zones with football, the large field space of soccer and I guess you could call it the aerial flying action of basketball to get big jumps and big layouts.”
The club is supported solely through member fees and revenue collected through tournaments. Haynes said it is always recruiting new members.
Story by Nick Dolan, Assistant Sports Editor