The Maneater

MU club frisbee recruitment day, where all prospects are the same

Captains of the men's and women's club ultimate frisbee teams reintroduced recruitment days this year to overwhelming turnout in the August heat.

Amid the patented Missouri humidity that lingered in the air over Stankowski Field on Saturday, Aug. 18, dozens of MU students battled the heat in the name of an unusual club sport. Many of those in attendance had never played before, but that didn’t stop them from being recruited.

Slides, dives, spectacular catches, not-so-spectacular throws and more circulated around a disc that afternoon, as the MU men’s and women’s ultimate frisbee club teams hosted a recruitment day. Over 50 new players turned out to the event.

“With this event, we’re just trying to get everyone to get acclimated to ultimate frisbee,” women’s team captain Genevieve Jones said. “We are trying to draw more people up for the teams. The women’s team is low on numbers.”

Jones, a senior this year, had a major role in putting the recruitment day together — not only communicating with the university, but also making sure that every student felt welcome to join.

“We really emphasize that no previous experience is necessary,” Jones said. “We really encourage anyone to come out even if they don’t know how to throw. We have a very friendly atmosphere and with all the rookies, we really emphasize friendship between them.”

Neither team held a recruitment day last year, so veterans of both teams were wowed by the extent to which they benefited from the event. The men’s team — known as the ‘MUtants’ — had a stellar recruiting session with over 40 new faces to the team, some with experience and some without.

“They were all very welcoming,” MU freshman Tyler Gray said. “They gave us some pointers, they were very friendly, all good sportsmanship ... so far at least.”

Gray was beaming after he stole the day with one of its highlight plays. He threaded a throw artfully around a defender for a nifty completion, a toss he said surprised even himself.

“I didn’t think I was gonna get it to him,” Gray said. “It was a good throw. I was like, ‘God, I hope he catches it.’ I just sent it on a prayer, and it was a good catch too.”

According to junior Greg Maier, one of the captains of the men’s team, the club hangs out frequently off the field. Chemistry is one of the most crucial components to what he thinks of as a social sport. That connection is especially important when the team goes on long road trips to tournaments. Maier said they travel seven or eight times each year.

“That involves socializing with teams from all over the country,” Maier said. “Which is really cool because with most sports, you don’t expect to play against a team and then, afterward, hang out and get to know them.”

“There are a lot of things that make ultimate frisbee different than other sports, but I think the most important thing is culture. We focus just as much on being competitive as we do on having fun.”

Both clubs gave a warm welcome to the returning players, but put their primary focus on the future well-being of the club.

“They have done a great job,” sophomore Kelli Daugherty said. “They’ve told me about all the events and stuff, and have been really kind and welcoming. One of my co-workers is on the team, so she was really fighting for me to come out today.”

Convincing anyone from anywhere to show up and try the sport is the mentality of most returners, and many newcomers came just to see what it’s all about.

It was Daugherty’s first day with the women’s team, and like many others, she already felt at home. There was an overwhelming message of inclusivity.

Every attendee is a five-star recruit in the eyes of club leadership. Even those who may be far from it in talent.

“On the record I’m gonna say [I’m] the best one on the team,” Daugherty said. “Off the record, I’m struggling a little bit.”

Edited by Bennett Durando | bdurando@themaneater.com

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