This article is part of the CCA Previews for 2016.
We’re the intermittent shouts that erupt from the Amphitheatre, the sunburnt faces often decked in translucent, sweat-soaked blouses, the silhouettes who linger on the field, training until the floodlights go out. We’ve often been accused of taking a leisurely sport reserved for over-enthusiastic dogs on lazy Sunday afternoons much too seriously, but we can’t help but feel at least a little bit protective of the sport we all love, and the family we’ve come to call our own.
In many senses, it’s quite simple why we do what we do: We play Ultimate out of our sheer love for the game. There is so much to love about the sport that has been rapidly growing in popularity, after all. We love the spirit of the game. We love the athleticism of the sport, the way that strength and intelligence have to combine. We love the pace of it, its discipline in some ways, its lack of formula in others; and we love the uncertainty of the game, how new teams can destroy more experienced ones causing upsets and unexpected wins, how one good player alone cannot dominate the field.
“How many team sports end every game with a team huddle with both opponent teams together? How many team sports have players giving high-fives to everyone once the game ends? How many team sports have no referee but leave the players to make their own honest calls in game? This is the love for the game that is so uniquely Ultimate.”
– CCA Preview ’13, Ultimate Frisbee
We play for the adrenaline that fills us as we run hard after the disc, the triumph of working it smoothly up the field in cleanly-scored points, or the satisfaction of a good D. In a game that pushes us constantly to our physical and mental limits, our insatiable hunger to improve drives us to train harder and strive to be better. It is this very culture of discipline that pushes us through each gruelling training, always ready for more.
Most of all though, we play for each other. We are often told, above all, to fight for the team. We train hard never for personal glory, but for the belief that our efforts combined will amount to something far larger than ourselves. We tide through moments of happiness and disappointment together, bound by a genuine camaraderie that can’t be put to words. We believe in those who believe in us.
The Raffles Ultimate family also includes generations of alumni who come back during trainings, camps and outings to share their stories, provide technical advice and moral support. Come down to any one of our matches and you’ll see every available spot on our sidelines filled with alumni of all ages coming back to support our teams. This is a testament to our love for the sport, and the strong sense of family.
There are those who deem our love for Ultimate almost obsessive, who roll their eyes and pity us for ‘selling our souls’ to the CCA, and who cannot seem for comprehend those whose days are so wholly consumed by a singular sport. But in many ways, Ultimate is a crutch for many of us. It has given us something to hold onto in the fleeting two years we spend in RI; it has acquainted us with people who have become an inextricable source of support, and filled our days with great joy. We wouldn’t rather have things any other way.