I was probably the least athletic person in my high school. I took Orchestra for 4 years to get out of the Physical Education requirement, and my mile time was pushing double digits. Don’t get me wrong, I did rigorous classical Indian dance for exercise, but I never participated in a team sport or did anything athletic outdoors. When I got to USC, I could not continue my Indian dance training, so I looked for something to fight off the Freshman 15.
I remember walking around at the USC Involvement Fair the first semester, wide-eyed at all the opportunities on campus. There are so many organizations to join, especially in the Club sports section which lined Trousdale (the main street through campus). I randomly picked up flyers for all the different clubs, and organized them categorically on the large floor space in my Birnkrant triple. I was immediately attracted to the bright pink flyer that said “Join USC Ultimate Frisbee” (it’s not my fault that I love pink). I went to the information session and was immediately hooked on the Ultimate culture.
For the first 4 weeks, the Ultimate team holds a co-ed Intramurals (IM) practice on Monday and Tuesday nights. This is the time when new players (affectionately called “rookies”) can learn the basic rules of Ultimate, which is best compared to football without running. The game relies upon clean throws of the Frisbee, running fast to catch the disc and using strategies to foil the other team. Basically, it’s awesome. Best of all, it is completely learner friendly! Many of the stronger players started off in high school or college, and they are comfortable being captains during IM season and teaching others. I distinctly remember during my first IM practice when my small team introduced themselves to each other, and more than half of them were engineers (undergraduate and graduate). For some reason, there is a large percentage of engineering students in Ultimate Frisbee, but I’m not complaining! It also means that it is clearly do-able to handle engineering classes and a competitive sport at USC.
When IM season is over, we split into the male team (USC Ghettobirds) and the female team (USC Hellions of Troy). Though practices are completely separate, we still retain good relations with the Ghettobirds, and often have fun bonding events. We had a scrimmage called “Chick-on-Chick,” where all the guys dressed up in girl’s clothing and played against us. It was hilarious to see them run around in dresses trying to play Ultimate! There are many long standing traditions in Ultimate, and it is a fantastic community to be a part of.
After playing fall semester as one female team, we split again in the spring into the A-Team (Hellions of Troy or HoT) and the B-Team (Kleos). You have to be invited to join the HoT, whereas the Kleos accepts all players throughout the semester. Both teams have great members, but B-Team is a little less of a time commitment and plays in different tournaments than A-Team. I chose to be a part of the Kleos this semester, and it was a great decision for me. Some of my greatest friends are from my Frisbee team. Its hard not to bond with someone when you play all day in a tournament together, pig out on In- n-Out, then crash in a hotel snuggling in sleeping bags.
With the team, I got to go to Santa Barbara, San Diego, and even Las Vegas! I have met the greatest group of girls, who I can always call to eat TG Express (delivery Thai food) and talk about life, or watch a ballet performance and discuss the portrayal of love through the dancers’ movements. I have met older mentors who are engineers, who are going to work for Abbott and other great companies, who have helped me get acclimated to Viterbi life. I even met my boyfriend, also an engineer, at a mixer with the Ghettobirds.
In summary, joining the team has been a great form of excersise (I have definitely pushed my physcial limits during tournaments from running around for six hours!), but also a great bonding experience. There are so many opportunities here at USC, but I think that you will find specific ones that get you excited, that you look forward to everyday, that you can’t stop talking about. The Ultimate Frisbee culture is absolutely contagious, and I hope you consider it at USC or whichever school you plan on attending.