The Best Sport Ever

About seven months ago, I was sitting in a freshman lounge doing reading for my religion class (read: obsessively stalking this girl from high school on Facebook), when my friend turned to me and said something that changed my life: “You should try out for frisbee.” Okay, you’re probably laughing. I’m even chuckling to myself as I write this. Either that, or you’re incredibly skeptical, or you’re thinking I’m just being dramatic. And I might be. Maybe I wouldn’t label that moment as one of the most drastic happenings in my entire life, but I stand by the fact that it made me realize something pretty cool I hadn’t known before.


I did try out for frisbee, and at first it was weird. I was horrible at throwing, pretty bad at catching, and I had no idea what I was doing the rest of the time. (They let me keep coming because it’s a club sport and they weren’t allowed to cut me.) Then they started showing us some plays and I was just like, you do the same thing over and over? What about movement, what about creating space? And as a pretty intense high school athlete, I scoffed at the concept of a self-refereed sport. But I kept going to practice, and I learned to love frisbee, and the reason for this is very simple: the girls who play frisbee are awesome.


I’m not about to get all warm and fuzzy, because that’s not really who I am, but I will say this: club frisbee is the first women’s athletic team I have been a part of that is really, and I mean it when I say this, drama-free. There seems to be something about the framework of female sports teams that lends itself to an atmosphere of negativity. Speaking from experience, not one of the teams I played on in high school (soccer, lacrosse, and cross-country) could make it through a season without at least one horrible conflict that would lead to insults, tears, and faculty intervention about our “attitude.” Whenever an incident like this occurred, the entire team would divide itself along lines of allegiance to the main perpetrators. I was torn between my love for these sports and my extreme distaste for such pettiness. In the end, I ended up quitting soccer and lacrosse before my senior year because I couldn’t stand being in this sort of toxic environment anymore. My initial enthusiasm had been worn down, over time, into nothing.


This is especially sad to think about because I know I’m not the only one. Here at Brown, one of my friends walked on to the track team last year. She didn’t return this year, and when I asked her why, she said it was the time commitment. (But really, who has time for 4-hour practices?) Then she paused, and added: “That’s what I tell people, but it’s not really true. A lot of it is the dynamics of the team.” She went on to describe a group of upperclassmen who handpicked freshmen to be a part of their “group” and the results of this obvious exclusion and favoritism. Our conversation left me feeling kind of depressed, to know that these circumstances carry over to the college level.


So this is what I had been living with. My entire life, I had played sports, and my entire life, I found myself surrounded by hostile, self-preserving attitudes to such a degree that I chose to leave the world of sports I had once loved so much. Basically, I figured that the days of team sports were over. And then I tried out for frisbee. 


Frisbee is entirely different. Everyone is out on the field to hang out with friends, have a good time, and de-stress from exams. There aren’t any cliques, there aren’t any catty disputes, and there aren’t any power struggles. There honestly really isn’t even that big of a divide between upper and lowerclassmen. I can say with absolutely honesty that there isn’t a single girl on that team who I don’t like. Being a part of the frisbee team has renewed my faith in the merit of women’s sports, and I think that may actually be life-changing.