Becoming “ultimate”

On Friday night at Varsity Field in downtown Toronto, the UTM intramural frisbee team played their semifinal game against PT/OT for a spot in Saturday’s final.

UTM was considered the favourite, but PT/OT didn’t buy the hype. They came out and played the style of game they wanted to play, dictating the pace and overall direction of the game. PT/OT used a zone strategy, a strategy seldom used because it’s rare and confusing to most teams. PT/OT used it well, and took advantage of the frazzled UTM team. They handed UTM a 15–8 loss to take back to Mississauga.

But the bigger story here is the issues surrounding the intramural frisbee league. Although the league has many good things going, there are a few issues that should be addressed.

For one, after talking to some of the players on Friday, I found the lack of common knowledge of the league problematic. I didn’t even know the league existed, and was surprised they had a season going on in the winter. The publicity of the league is subpar, mostly invisible to non-frisbee players.

Worse, the practice time given to the players and teams is barely worth attending. Teams are given one to two practices a week, scheduled during the day—yes, the school day—which makes it difficult to have the entire team present at practice, defeating the purpose.

Anyone who has ever played in an organized sports league understands that a practice with half the team won’t be much benefit when game time rolls around.

When half the team knows a play or strategy and the other half doesn’t, the play will not run. It will most likely look like four players running a play while three others stand with a confused look on their face, trying to figure out what’s happening.

So rather than scheduling practices when students are in class, the league should schedule practices at a convenient time, possibly at night, when most students have more flexible schedules.

Finally, the players I talked to see the small fields as the biggest issue in a sport with a flying disc designed to fly 60–70 yards into the air. When any throw can easily clear the whole field, it’s a problem. The more athletic players lose their advantage, because the field restricts them from speeding past a person, which a long field of, say, 80–90 yards would allow.

I play in an ultimate frisbee league in the summer, and my team prides ourselves on our athletic ability and speed. We exploit these skills whenever we can, if not all the time, due to the large field; if we were restricted to a field where we could all be covered for the most part by field size rather than player talent, we wouldn’t do as well, because the game becomes more about the plays. Any league should reward athleticism and strategy equally, but I think it’s currently more of a 7:3 ratio in favour of strategy at U of T.

If this means we have to make the field larger to give a fair chance to athleticism, let’s go for it. Until then, we will never truly know which campus has the ultimate ultimate frisbee team.

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