“The Haverford Ultimate Team is a group of guys just wanting to have a good time,” Sixth Former and captain Matt Franz said. “We don’t go into games expecting to win—just to have some fun.” Ultimate Frisbee is, at its core, a lighthearted game, and most of the team seems to enjoy their time on the field.
This game was different.
On Wednesday, April 29, Fords Frizz was set to play against Springfield Ultimate Association. Although it appeared as if it were about to storm, the weather held out. As the teams walked onto the field, it was obvious which team was more organized. While Springfield looked more put together, the Fords showed more athleticism.
Fifth Former Connor Gillespie, the team handler (disk thrower), said before the game, “I’m feeling good about this one, we might be able to scrape out a win.”
In the first possession, Springfield scored. It didn’t even take a minute.
In the second possession, the Fords made an incredible march downfield, making quick passes, swinging it across the field, and then bombing it deep into the backline. Fifth Former Brady Miles, the other handler of the team, made a laser from 60 yards into the endzone. But as the frisbee came down, Springfield called a foul: pick.
A foul is rarely called in frisbee, let alone this call. It means that the offense physically blocked the defense from running to the disc. Many of the Fords found this call weak.
The Fords stayed silent.
“That was [BS]. I had him beat by a mile,” Sixth Former Cole Pressman said,
This foul soon became the downfall of the Fords.
Frisbee has no refs. It is governed by the players and “the spirit of the game.” When a foul is called, the play is automatically reset, and the penalty is decided amongst the players. As long as both teams are good sports, it runs smoothly, but it also gives players the ability to abuse this power.
It seemed like there was a foul in every possession. Not a single foul was called by Haverford on Springfield. Every deep bomb there was a pick, every short pass was a double team, and every score wasn’t quite in. Springfield played a tight, regimented game.
By halftime, the score was 3-8, Springfield up. As it started to drizzle, the Fords shared their frustration.
“We can’t make a play without them calling a foul,” Miles said. “It’s impossible to do anything.”
Other Fords shared this opinion, noting that Springfield was beatable.
Dark clouds began to set in as the game progressed. Haverford was not able to score a single point for the rest of the match.
And Springfield kept calling weak fouls.
“The worst part is that they are winning by ten points. They don’t need to be doing this,” Sixth Former Ebaad Khan said. “Playing against this team is just infuriating.”
“While some of these calls are valid, a lot of them are… iffy,” Coach Andrew Fenton said,
By the end of the game, the final score was 3-15. It began to pour as the teams lined up to shake hands.
The Fords stayed silent.
“That didn’t feel deserved,” Sixth Former Willys Silvers said. “That was the first frisbee game I played [where] I didn’t have fun.”
For the first time in Fords’ Frisbee history, every single player left the game looking upset. Haverford Frisbee is no stranger to losing by ten or more points, but this game was different.
The Fords walked off the team not only losing the game, but losing their spirits.