Although Ultimate Frisbee is a sport that has thrived on college campuses for many years, it was not until last fall that an official club had formed at Northern Michigan University.
Inexpensive and widely played, Ultimate Frisbee is a sport that club president Josh Vopat described as “a mixture between soccer, football, and basketball but with a Frisbee.”
Its popularity was showcased at an informal frisbee tournament last fall. Hucktoberfest, as the event was called, was held on campus last October, drew more than 60 participants.
The participation encouraged Vopat and founding member Nick Gray to take the necessary steps to start an Ultimate Frisbee organization, which later developed into the Ultimate Frisbee Club. There are plans for another Hucktoberfest this October.
“(That event) was a huge help,” said Vopat. “We knew that the potential was there to create a competitive team.”
Following the formation of the club, Vopat and now-Vice President Josie Campbell were able to organize teams to compete in tournaments in various locations such as Chicago, Mount Pleasant, Mich. and Whitewater, Wisc.
In its first spring season last school year, the NMU Ultimate Frisbee club defeated rival Michigan Tech 15-11, the only other Upper Peninsula school that has an Ultimate Frisbee club.
“They can’t say they’re the champions of the U.P. anymore,” said Vopat.
The primary competitive Frisbee season is in the spring, but there are additional tournaments occurring throughout the school year.
“We are looking at two tournaments for the fall semester, and six for the spring semester.” Vopat said.
The club hopes to raise enough money through fundraisers to participate in competitions across the country. Tentative locations include Georgia and even Las Vegas, the site of the nation’s largest Ultimate Frisbee tournament, where teams from all across the United States come to compete.
Although the club expects around 50 committed members, they still encourage interested students to come to their practices. Prospective players can see whether or not the club is for them.
“The women’s team is looking for anyone interested in giving it a try,” said Vopat, who also stressed that prior experience is not necessary. “The women we have now on the team will be able to teach you everything they need to know.”
Campbell also hopes to see more females come out.
“Any range of skills are welcome at any practice,” said Campbell, who also encourages a higher level of female participation. “We don’t want girls to be intimidated by all the guys.”
Both Vopat and Campbell hope to have enough committed participants to assemble both a men’s and women’s team for the academic year.
Anyone interested in joining the NMU Frisbee club is encouraged to attend one of their practices, held every Mon. 5-7 p.m., Wed. 4-6 p.m. and Sat. 2-4 p.m. or contact Vopat by email at [email protected]