The chilly air of the evening does not stop freshman Roman Pham from joining his teammates on the green. A flying Frisbee cuts through the crisp autumn sky before being caught by junior Zach Praus, the ultimate club co-captain.
It is 5 p.m. on a Wednesday, and it is practice time.
The Viking Ultimate Club (VUC) has been around for eight years and, in that time, its members have travelled to tournaments in South Dakota, Minnesota and Nebraska, competing in sectionals in 2013.
The game was serendipitously created by a group of high school students in 1968 and has gained traction to become a competition-level sport popular among college students due to its simplicity and welcoming nature to novices.
Ultimate Frisbee consists on throwing a Frisbee from one side of the playing field to another. Each team gets a point for every successful pass. However, running or moving with the disc is not permitted.
“Ultimate Frisbee is a phenomenal sport that does not need a whole lot of equipment,” senior Megan Wencl, the club’s co-captain, said. “It can be played just about anywhere, as long as you have a disc.”
VUC intends to create an environment of fun and relaxation for both those who have experience in the sport and those new to it.
“People say ‘I am not an athlete’ and, well, you do not have to be athletic to come play,” Praus, said. “You will learn, and that is what makes it fun. Anybody can play.”
Wencl believes that club teams are important to give students the opportunity to be active without playing a sport at the collegiate level.
“There are so many students on campus that played sports in high school and did not continue on to playing in college,” Wencl said. “Club teams, like Ultimate Frisbee, give students the opportunity to be physically active and feed the competitiveness that they have been lacking since graduating high school.”
Praus agrees that it is the easy-going vibe of the sport that makes it appealing.
“I think [having sports like this] gives people more flexibility, because instead of having a coach be on their backs, they can come and go whenever they want,” Praus said.
However, despite the laidback atmosphere that VUC meetings shelter, the club is scheduled to participate in a tournament in Winona, Minn. on Oct. 28 and 29, with three other tournaments set for the spring.
“We have 15 members this year, both male and female, and we would love to see the team grow even more to increase competitiveness,” Wencl said. “We look forward to competing at at least three tournaments in the spring, and we will be spending the rest of the fall and winter practicing and scrimmaging until then.”
VUC captains and members are available to help the newcomers improve in the game as well as to create a community.
“Seeing people grow is the best thing,” Pham said. “Even if they are not good during the first few weeks, just watching them learn how to play is honestly the best feeling in the world.”
VUC meets every Wednesday at 5 p.m. on the green.
“We’d love to have anyone join us to play,” Wencl said. “We welcome all abilities. Our team is a family and we’d love to invite anyone and everyone to join in with us.”
“If more people come, we will go for ice cream,” Pham said.