We called ourselves the Frisbaes, and before the season started, I was absolutely sure that we would come out on top. We were, after all, an assortment of students with Ultimate Frisbee ability levels ranging from I play sometimes for fun, to never touched a disc before. What could possibly go wrong?
UC Berkeley Intramural Sports are available to anybody with a valid Cal Rec Club Membership. While the cost of being a Recreational Sports Facility member is included in tuition fees for all Berkeley students, the gym and its associated programs are also available to faculty and staff, university affiliates, and community members. Cal Intramural Sports are unique in that they are one of the few sets of circumstances in which all of those different groups that comprise the greater UC Berkeley community come together and interact.
It’s awesome in theory and in practice. But what I really want to know is how are so many grad students so darn good at Frisbee?
Despite a large amount of confidence in the talent of our team, and an earlier experience in Intramural Dodgeball that made me think, at first, that we would be playing amongst equals, the Frisbaes’ first game was a rude awakening. We showed up prepared—water bottles, athletic shoes, dark and light shirt—only to find our opponents, several years older and significantly more athletic-looking than we were, warming up in matching team t-shirts with their name printed on the front. Uh-oh, I thought.
And uh-oh was right. Though our morale rarely wavered and we arrived at the field on Sunday evenings convinced, each time, that the night would be the sort of big break we needed to turn our season around, the Frisbaes never won a game.
It was all very sad, except for that it wasn’t. Not really.
As the old cliché goes, it’s not about winning; it’s about how you play the game. But with spectators filling the stands and the expectations of a fan base riding on the shoulders of the athletes, most sports are very much about winning. And that’s why Intramurals are so fun. There’s no pressure whatsoever.
While I would imagine it still feels nice to win (I never got to experience it for myself unfortunately, so I don’t know for sure) the best part of it all is being out there on the field or on the court with friends, playing anything from flag football to softball to volleyball, and taking part in an activity almost as quintessentially college as a capella or late night junk food.
The ill-fated Frisbaes might have ended up in a league of teams filled with intense players who drew up full defenses and boasted enviable technical skills, but really it’s all in the luck of the draw. There are IM teams made up of sororities and fraternities, dorm floors, study buddies, past high school athletes. It’s even possible to enter the system as a free agent and see where it takes you!
We can’t all take the field in Memorial Stadium to the sound of thousands of screaming fans, but every Berkeley community member has the opportunity to participate in the storied tradition of UC Berkeley athletics.
Win or lose, it’s all Go Bears! to me.