Sterling Daniels admits it: the culture of ultimate frisbee is goofy. The shorts, for example, are as flashy and ridiculous as possible.
But don’t be fooled, Daniels said. Ultimate frisbee is extreme and intense. It requires the same level of endurance as soccer and the same bursts of speed as football. The games are fast paced, a constant reel of unfolding action.
“That’s what I love about the game,” said Daniels, a junior English major. “People are there to have fun, but the fun does not negate the difficulty of playing the game at a high level.”
Daniels is the captain of the ultimate frisbee team at the University of Dallas, one of ten club sports teams on campus. Students who participate in club sports say they are a good way to meet friends, stay fit and enjoy friendly competition on the field. But despite all the benefits, Daniels and other club sports leaders say they are frustrated by the lack of support their teams receive from UD. Club sports don’t get the same attention or funding as the NCAA Division III sports.
“Club sports receives funding from UD, but not nearly enough to cover our costs,” Daniels said. “We are given $800 a semester, which does not equal the costs of a single out-of-town tournament.”
Instead, students rely on fundraisers and parental support to help fund their sports.
Daniels wanted to play sports in college, but didn’t want to devote the time required of varsity sports. Instead, he joined the frisbee team. He enjoyed learning the basic formations: how to develop a forehand and backhand to throw. Most of the club’s games are played at tournaments, where teams compete in half a dozen games over two days.
The leader of the UD martial arts club, Angela Simon, has devoted years to leading the club and helping improve other people’s skills.
“Martial arts has always been important to me as a woman, to provide me with the confidence and ability to hold my own in the world,” Simon said. “The club has been a great opportunity for me to share my knowledge and learn from others who share my passion for self-defense.”
Daniels said that club sports on campus survive largely because of the efforts of a few committed teammates.
“The club stays alive through the efforts of the captains primarily,” she said. “There’s always two or three people in each class who love the game enough to dedicate a ton of time and energy into recruiting and organizing, and the sport attracts enough freshmen every year to stay in business.”