Tuesday, March 12, 2013

PT and Ultimate Frisbee

 PT Student Zac Johnson (Class of 2015) is the president  of the Saint Louis University Club Ultimate Team. We asked Zac to share about why he became involved in Ultimate Frisbee and how it has influenced his time at SLU. 
Zac Johnson leaving his heart and soul on the field

            Throughout my 4 years so far at SLU, I have made many choices which have shaped my college experience. Choosing to join the Program in Physical Therapy has, by far, been the most important of decision I made. My second most influential selection of a variety of options was to join the club Ultimate team. Often referred to as “Frisbee”, Ultimate consists of a team of 7 players attempting to catch the disc in the opposing team’s end zone.

            Before college I couldn’t tell a Discraft from a Wham-O disc (yes, there is a difference), but I enjoyed throwing around with a friend after high school. Thinking I knew everything there was to know about throwing, I signed up for the Saint Louis University Ultimate Team at the activities fair. It was a shock at first when I found out what the sport truly was. The only way I can think of describing this unique sport is by comparing it to others. It has the same amount of running as soccer, a similar scoring method as football, basketball-like strategy, and the jumping/diving aspect of baseball. In a nutshell…it’s the best sport ever.
            Contrary to what my dad thinks, there are no dogs involved in this type of Frisbee. Both of our teams compete about 4 times a semester at tournaments around the country. These tournaments are usually held by other universities and can range anywhere from Creve Couer, MO to the “Mile-High City” of Denver, CO. Let me run you through an average tournament weekend. Once classes are out on Friday the team or teams meet behind Griesedieck and pile into vans provided by SLU. For the next 5-6 hours on average, we either try to grab some sleep, listen to music, swap strategy ideas, or attempt to study for one of Kim’s exams about some kind of disease. After what seems like a blink of the eye or an eternity (depending on which Kinesiology exam is on Monday) we unpack in our hotel rooms. Often times the first game is at 8am so it’s an early night for all of us. Too many of my Saturday mornings involved Max Morgan “encouraging” us to wake up, get dressed, and get ready for a day of Ultimate. Once we arrive at the fields we play anywhere from 4-5 games, which last most of the day. The games are intense, exhausting, but most of all, fun.  After about 7 hours of exercising at 20 or so METs (see Ethel, I learned something) we search for the nearest Chinese food buffet and regain all the hundreds of calories we just burnt off. Upon returning to our hotel we all decompress in our rooms watching a low budget sci-fi movie. However, if you are a PT student you are doomed to the “study room” and attempt to prepare yourself for whatever Barb has up her sleeve for the next class. Sunday morning we do it all again until the games are finished and our bodies are spent. Then the long voyage back to campus begins. Trust me, it’s fun.
            The single aspect of playing Ultimate that appeals to me the most are the people. Both teams are full of great people and I have grown very close to them over the years. Outside of seeing each other twice a week for practice and at several tournaments, the men’s and women’s teams mingle with each other beyond the field. Several events are held throughout the year including my personal favorite, Date Night. We also team up at Chaifetz Arena and other locations around Campus to raise money for the program. After spending this much time it is not hard to see how many of my closest friends are on the either of the Ultimate teams. 

Michaela Ward desperately looking to get rid of the disc
Laura Kelly displaying a certified 175 gram Discraft disc 
Some of the “Ulimate” PTs from the 2012 White Coat Ceremony

Pat Porter on the left
            Joining this sport has had nothing but positive effects on my time here at SLU. As I just mentioned I have developed many long lasting relationships with other members of the club. It has also taught me to be a better organizer, developed my time management skills, and several other things that I could probably put into my Generic Abilities. I have also gotten to know a few of the older PT students in the program. This has been invaluable for getting a glimpse of things to come like different classes, Gross Summer, labs, Gross Summer, clinical rotations, and lastly….Gross Summer. 

Julia Schroeder and Julia Hill “playing” ultimate

Laura Sloan

Max Morgan showing some effort on the field, kind of like seeing Hailey’s Comet

Mikey Manning sporting the traditional dress of his home state
            Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, PT and Ultimate have made major changes not only to my college experience, but also to my life as a whole. So whether you are already in love with the sport, need an organized way to get a great workout, looking for a great group of people to hang out with, or just need a break from staring blankly at nerve rootlets, come join us next fall. 

-Zac Johnson 

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