A plea from a Frisbee lover

by Maria Ellis

My love of Ultimate Frisbee and my thorough enjoyment of the many seasons of intramural sports I played at Franciscan University compel me to reply to Joanna Bratten’s article “Sports before studies” in the September 18 issue of the Concourse. My impression on reading it was that she has not enjoyed or perhaps even played any intramural sports. I share her disdain for the way much of the world idolizes sports and sports-heroes. And I concede that when intramural sports become more important than classes there is indeed a problem. Still, it was difficult to see my beloved Frisbee treated as a virtual evil and a danger to academics. In spite of her last paragraph’s concession that athletics do have a “legitimate place in a university setting,” her overall tone implies that only those most base and backward would actually take Frisbee seriously.

Personally, I would sacrifice a lot to play Ultimate Frisbee. And I suppose I was all too willing to make sacrifices during my years at Franciscan to play intramural sports. But, for me, staying up a couple extra hours to study or not going out on the weekends was well worth it. I did not feel then, nor do I feel now, that I was in danger of bowing before the golden sports-cow or of sacrificing my studies in order to play.

Ms. Bratten fails to recognize or at least treat in her article any of the possible goods that may be attached to playing Frisbee or other types of athletic competition. Besides the physical exercise and training involved, the competition itself teaches invaluable lessens: learning to be a part of a team, striving to play hard and to treat one’s opponent with respect. And it was so often just plain fun—playing with friends and against friends. What a great form of much-needed recreation!

Of course, Ultimate Frisbee is not at the level of academics nor should it ever be; but it seems unfair to treat it as if it is an evil, and as if those students who enjoy and are committed to intramural sports should be accused of immaturity, lack of proper priorities or of dragging down the intellectual environment of Franciscan University.

Maria Ellis, Class of ‘89

Maria Ellis is living with the van Schaijik family in Gaming, Austria, where she puts her love of athletics to excellent use on long hikes and bike rides in the Alpine foothills. She is also studying German.