Club ultimate frisbee will be making its debut at LMU this year as a competitive club team. Recently, ultimate frisbee has seen a great surge on campus.
The club had over 190 students who were interested in the team at LMU’s annual EXP Fest, according to the women’s team captain, senior screenwriting and economics double major Macy McKeegan. Additionally, ultimate frisbee will also be returning to this year’s lineup of Campus Recreation’s intramural offerings. McKeegan admitted the school was initially hesitant to officially transition ultimate frisbee from a club to a competitive club team, but there was so much push from the student body that the Campus Recreation department was eventually convinced.
The ultimate frisbee community found its legs at LMU through philosophy professor William Britt, who used to invite his students to join him in playing pickup games on Fridays, according to junior electrical engineering and computer science double major Kyle Cullinane and junior computer science major Tommy Bennett, both of whom are currently on the team. The makeshift team began every weekend by throwing the frisbee around on Hannon Field, scrimmaging one another.
The number of players joining the games steadily grew over the years, creating the possibility of an organized team. One student who has been central to this jump is a screenwriting graduate student and experienced frisbee player, Luke Hart-Moynihan.
Hart-Moynihan received his undergraduate degree from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and is originally from Annapolis, Maryland. Growing up on the East Coast, he played ultimate frisbee, or “ultimate,” as it’s commonly referred to, in both high school and college. Speaking to his own playing experience, Hart-Moyniham described the competitiveness and popularity of ultimate back home on the East Coast.
“I had played club ultimate in undergrad. There’s a massive structure that exists out there that is pretty highly competitive,” said Hart-Moynihan. “They [William and Mary] had about 80 people showing up and only 20 spots on the team. They also had an entire B-team— about 100 people on that campus play competitive travel ultimate.”
Having this experience, Hart-Moynihan set out to give LMU’s ultimate community a similar competitive foundation. He has acted as one of the club’s leaders, facilitating its meetings and using his experience to show LMU students the ropes of ultimate. The graduate student has a genuine passion for the growth of the game at LMU and hopes the club team will stick around for years to come.
“I just try to get people to show up, have fun and learn things. But now, the structures are much more self-propagating. The point is to develop a program that lasts for a long time and makes connections between people when they’re here; and then beyond here that makes connections for people in the local community, the regional community and even internationally.”
Outside of the sport itself, a big part of what draws students to ultimate is the community. Members of the club team will point to the inherent upbeat and welcoming environment of the sport as one of its major draws. Ultimate frisbee as a sport is well known for its positivity, fostering a space which allows for a unique blend of competitiveness and friendliness.
Cullinane touched upon the character of the game and what attracted him along with so many others to the new rendition of the club at LMU.
“There was a group of guys at my high school who would play pickup. They were the nicest people. There’s something around the environment of the sport of ultimate frisbee that draws in people who have good hearts and just want to be competitive,” he said.