LASA Ultimate Frisbee Season Cancelled

Norah Hussaini, Staff Writer

Ultimate frisbee has been a popular sport at LASA for years now, bringing together new and experienced players in the up-and-coming sport. For the second year in a row, their season, which runs from March to May, has been cancelled due to COVID-19. Even though games have ceased, practices have continued. At practice, players follow CDC mask and social distancing guidelines.

In order to safely continue practices, the team established a pod system among teammates. The pods are arranged based on neighborhood for each player’s convenience. According to junior captain Catie Graves, the pods were arranged in September and have been in use since then.

“We sent out a survey back in September to all the Ultimate kids and we said, ‘Hey, roughly where do you live?’” Graves said. “We set up pods, which are little individual practices that you can go to.”

Junior Caroline Stone has been participating in the northeast Austin pod so she can continue practicing with her teammates. Although Stone is grateful that she’s able to practice, she said there have been some downsides.

“A typical game of frisbee is played with seven people on each team, and the pod numbers aren’t big enough to play seven v. seven,” Stone said. “I’ve definitely gotten out of the hang of playing seven v. seven, which is pretty detrimental.”

Graves leads one such pod practice, which consists of 7-8 people. The pods were set up so that players could feel safe while still keeping their ultimate frisbee skills sharp. 

“With pods, we’ve been able to keep numbers under 10 because guidelines say gatherings under 10 are okay, and we’ve also been following mask rules,” Graves said. “Even though it’s not the same, it’s still somebody to throw with, and you’re still running drills. We’re still trying to do things.”

According to junior Marta Knoll, who has been playing ultimate for four years on and off, there have been advantages with pods that normal practices didn’t have. She said the pods have been great for getting closer with parts of the team in a more intimate setting.

“Having smaller practices has helped us get to know the people in those practices a lot better than if we were to just be in regular practices,” Knoll said. “Some of the people in my practice are freshmen, so I was able to get to know them a lot better.”

The team was able to try a new way to practice this year, but they weren’t able to do so when their previous season was cancelled in 2020. Because of the season being cancelled two years in a row, Graves worries they may be put at a disadvantage once games are played again. 

“All of the freshmen last year that are now sophomores have never played a legitimate game, and freshmen never played,” Graves said. “Our senior class last year was a pretty big class, and we lost a lot of them.”

In addition to having lots of members that haven’t played and losing many members of their team that graduated, the team has another significant problem: they haven’t been able to gather many new freshman members. 

“We have basically no freshmen on our team this year because we weren’t able to advertise,” Graves said. “We weren’t able to really do Club Fair, we weren’t really able to do morning announcements, we couldn’t really get the word out that Ultimate was a thing.”

Knoll still believes the team will be able to function fluidly once competitions begin again, but says that it might take a little time. Recently, the whole team has been meeting up all together more often to scrimmage.

“I think it’s going to take us a second to get used to playing with the whole team again just because we haven’t seen each other in a while, and a lot of freshmen don’t know the upperclassmen,” Knoll said. “The scrimmage that we had last weekend helped to foster more spirit as well as having weekly games, so I think we’re going to be able to start off next season pretty nicely.”

Stone also thinks that next season should start off well. She said that this is because the players on the LASA ultimate team in the junior class are some of the best players in the state.

“We just found out that our state tournament got cancelled after our spring season was cancelled, but I think as a grade, we’re very strong,” Stone said. “Next year is definitely going to be hard because we lost two good years of practice, and so that’ll hurt, but also we’re very strong as a team, so I think we’ll still be very successful next year.”