Almost all college students encounter Ultimate Frisbee at some point during their freshman year. This year, however, more than just freshmen got to join University of Dallas Ultimate (UDU) to play some pickup Frisbee. For the first time, five members of the University of Dallas’ faculty joined the club to start up the season. This opportunity is a first for UDU, but for a club that focuses so much on fostering a friendly environment within the student body, it seems perfectly natural for UDU to foster a relationship between students and faculty. Professors Rob Hochberg, Daniel Burns, Christopher Wolfe, Christopher Malloy and family and Jonathan Sanford and family joined the club last Wednesday for an evening of frisbee and conversation outside of the classroom.
When asked for their thoughts on UDU as a sport and as a social club on campus, Drs. Malloy (theology) and Sanford (Dean of the Constantin College of Liberal Arts) were both very gracious with their feedback.
KK: In your experience last week, did you think that UDU as a club helps foster the kind of atmosphere that Dallas wants to be present on campus?
CM: My spirits were greatly boosted by the event. It may sound a bit much to say, but it really made me proud of UD and eager to send my children here. The UD students were outstanding role models. But aside from this, the combination of real competition with gentility was palpable.
JS: I thought the atmosphere of UDU was outstanding. Ultimate is a sport that accommodates athletes at all levels of skill. You can be a superstar or a mediocre player and still make contributions. I appreciated seeing the genuine fellowship and affection that students, men and women alike, had for each other.
KK: Was there anything about UDU as a club or ultimate as a sport that you found to be particularly consistent with UD academics?
CM: Philosophers should do gymnastics. Now, generally, UD is founded on the liberal arts and sciences whose architectonic science is philosophy, and ultimate is quite gymnastic. The play also combined fraternity, serious competition and a leisurely spirit. The closing prayer, which summed up all the above as rooted in Jesus Christ, was an expression of the integral way in which the Catholic spirit constitutes the specific foundation of UD’s education.
KK: As a professor, what was your impression of the students outside of a classroom setting?
JS: I was especially impressed with the leadership of the group, and it was great to pray together at the end. I should also mention that all the students were fantastic with my children, including them when possible in the games and just building them up in a positive way and making them feel a part of the evening. The Sanfords are new members of the UD community, and we were welcomed with open arms by UDU and felt like we belonged. It was a night of real community and friendship, and I am grateful to have been included.
As a growing presence on campus, UDU hopes to continue to foster this relationship with faculty and become a bridge between athletics and academics at UD. Although UDU is a serious sport that has an impressive, though young, history, it also encourages and accepts students who may not have the time to commit to a sport every day. At a school that frequently preaches the ancient Greek ideal of balance, ultimate Frisbee provides an opportunity to find the perfect fit between fun and competition — a match that is hard to find anywhere else.