“It’s like soccer,” captain George Kulich said with a stack of small cones and a disc by his feet. “And it’s kind of like football, and it’s kind of like hockey.”
For many, the very sight of a frisbee, the quintessential college pastime always seen in the opening credits of a coming-of-age university flick, conjures the cliche image of students tossing discs on a college quad. As the captain of the Plattsburgh State Co-Ed Ultimate Frisbee Club, Kulich believes it’s not the sport many think it is.
“The sport gets the rap of being a very hippy-dippy, druggy lowlife kind of game,” Kulich said, “But it’s really a different way for people to express themselves and get interested in something.”
Similar to football, ultimate frisbee is played on a field with opposite end zones and starts with a throwoff opposed to a kickoff. The objective is to move the frisbee to the opposing end zone without running with the disc or it hitting the ground. They practice several different throws and set plays to gather advantages on opponents. Scores are followed by another throwoff except when played indoors, where the scoring player drops the frisbee and the game continues on.
“I think the hardest part of it for people is the speed of it,” Kulich said. “Newer players aren’t always on their toes and are stuck in a gym class state of mind. People knock it for being a simple thing and casual.”
Several other teams they compete against, however, take the sport very seriously and host tryouts, practice frequently and attend state and national championships.
Kulich enjoys the closeness he has with his teammates and is a big reason he plays and stepped into a leadership position.
“We’ve always been open to new players and new ideas… it was a place for me to get away from the library and away from work, to exercise and to meet new people,” said Kulich, who started playing his freshman year. “It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made.”
The club has played teams primarily in New York and Vermont, including Green Mountain College, University at Albany, SUNY Binghamton, SUNY Potsdam and Clarkson University.
Not only is Clarkson’s team, High Dive, a common opponent, but players at the nearby private school helped bring the club to Plattsburgh 10 years ago this fall. A Clarkson player, upon stumbling upon PSUC students playing leisurely in 2008, persuaded them to go and establish the club.
In the ideal situation, Kulich said, the club would host its own tournament for its 10th anniversary.
“It’s the ultimate goal,” he said, but admitted it is still further down the line. “It takes a lot of planning, money, and there’s red tape to flatten out. It’s absolutely in our future plans.”
Besides hosting its own tournament, Kulich hopes the club continues to grow and retain the openness and friendliness that got him hooked in the first place. A future goal of the club, Kulich said, is to potentially field an A and B side to suit both the serious experienced players, as well as the more casual or new players.
Email Ken Bates at firstname.lastname@example.org