Senior Captain Sophie Taylor-Havens K’16 has been playing Ultimate Frisbee for nine years. While this number would be considerable in any sport, it is especially rare for Frisbee players, who often begin their careers in college.
“I enjoy the spirit of the game. It’s really important since we don’t have refs to call fouls, that if you call a foul you can talk about it on the field with the other team. There’s a lot of communication involved,” said Taylor-Havens. She is one of the captains of the Queen Beez, Kalamazoo College’s women’s Ultimate Frisbee team.
In addition to not having referees, Ultimate Frisbee teams typically do not have coaches. It is the responsibility of the captains to handle recruitment, create team bonding events, register for tournaments and plan fundraisers.
As a captain, the inclusion and development of new players is very important to Taylor-Havens. She considers this crucial to the team’s success. Many K Frisbee athletes have never played Ultimate Frisbee before attending college.
“It’s so fun to see our new players get so good all of the sudden. That’s one of my favorite memories from our first tournament this year,” Taylor-Havens said.
Taylor-Havens says one of the biggest challenges in developing a women’s Frisbee team is intensity level. It can be hard to teach new players how to play the sport aggressively. She also cites finances as another difficulty the team faces.
“Since Frisbee is a pretty new sport, a lot of schools aren’t willing to think of it as an actual sport,” Taylor-Havens K’16 says. In the past, the college has granted the team funds as a Student Organization, and the players have supplemented the rest of their expenses through fundraising.
This year, Taylor-Havens has her sights set on Regionals. It is the deciding factor for which team advances to nationals, and therefore the most important tournament of the Frisbee season. While the Queen Beez have never gone to nationals, the team gets closer and closer each year, says Taylor-Havens.
“One of my goals this year is to get us at least that much closer to nationals, if not there,” Taylor-Havens said.