By Collin Bolebruch
College sports are often associated with hard work, dedication and competition. PFunk just wants to have fun.
PFunk is Plattsburgh’s student-operated ultimate club. Unlike other athletics on campus, PFunk doesn’t have multiple games a week or vigorous practices. The club is branded as a place to be yourself and soak in good vibes.
The team is headed by three captains: sophomore Jonah “Moby Flick” Gray, junior Skyler “Carrie” Barker and senior Matthew “Firefighter Matt” Foy. There are no faculty affiliated with the group.
Ultimate, formerly known as ultimate Frisbee, is a fusion of football, rugby and soccer played with a disc. Teammates work to pass the disc to each other and up the field toward the end zone. Players can hold the disc for up to 10 seconds, but they must always stop running and set a pivot foot while they hold the disc. A catch in the end zone results in a goal and a point is added to the offense’s score.
The defense is able to cause turnovers both through a mid-air swat called a block or by forcing the offensive player to hold the disc for more than the allotted 10 seconds, called a stall. All players are constantly in motion and are required to make athletic plays.
At a typical PFunk practice, one can master their skills or can let it all loose.
“It’s really laid back, like everyone’s just there for a good time,” Barker said.
Practice begins with warm-ups, where they can toss around a disc and chat. Then, the captains will call for everyone to group up. Instead of stretching or running, they’ll ask and answer a “question of the day” before their drills.
The team welcomes anyone, from experienced players to people who have never picked up a disc. At practice, captains will assist members in picking up the sport and fine-tuning their abilities.
“Not many people come into PFunk knowing how to play. We’ll teach you how to play Frisbee,” Gray said.
Signing up for the group is a one-step process. All one has to do is show up.
“[My friend and I] were longboarding down the Saranac [River], we both have played Frisbee before. We saw PFunk in the field, we didn’t know what it was at the time,” Gray said. “We just played right then and there.”
PFunk’s members swear by it. In fact, its positive influence extends beyond practice and the sport. This rings particularly true for former Plattsburgh student, and now Morrisonville Elementary teacher, Lia “GDL” Fishbein.
Fishbein found herself in a difficult situation early on in her Plattsburgh career.
“Freshman year was OK. I was really thinking about transferring because I just didn’t find my group,’” Fishbein said.
Then, she discovered and joined PFunk like most of its members had: by showing up.
“I was living in Harrington [Hall] and we play right on Memorial [Field]. So, I just kept watching every day and I was like, ‘oh, that looks like fun’,” Fishbein said.
Joining PFunk proved to be a positive change for Fishbein. Here, she made friends and inevitably stayed at Plattsburgh. She described her change of heart to PFunk.
“And then one day I just went and it was the reason I stayed at Plattsburgh, it was the reason I’m still literally living in Plattsburgh,” Fishbein said.
The team affectionately accredited her the nickname, “GDL.” The moniker refers to the amount of times her teammates have had to say “god damn it, Lia.’” She is now one of the longest-tenured members of the group, with five years under her belt.
PFunk competes in tournaments at different schools . Most recently, the team traveled to Clarkson the weekend of Sept. 16. Usually, a tournament weekend will consist of lodging together and playing a slate of games against other schools. PFunk generally participates in two tournaments a year.
“We’d gather our team, we’d warm up a little bit, and we’ll play,” Foy said. “The rest of the day, we hung out, explored the town a little bit, got some food and then met with a bunch of other teams.”
The club runs year-long and through both semesters. When weather permits, practices and meetings take place Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings outside on Memorial Field behind Memorial Hall. PFunk maintains its year-long status by moving indoors and adapts to play under a roof.
The club always welcomes new members. There are no try-outs, no roster trimming and no judgements. For more information, contact Barker (firstname.lastname@example.org).