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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Have you ever heard a Banshee shriek?

Published: October 28, 2005
Section: Opinions

If you had told me a couple years ago that I would be playing ultimate frisbee when I got to college, I would have told you that you were crazy. Everybody knows that ultimate frisbee isnt really a sport. Ive been on soccer, basketball, softball, and volleyball teams for as long as I can remember. Those are real sports, requiring skill, stamina, and accuracy. Theres strategy in those sports. Frisbee doesnt have any of that. When I thought of frisbee, I saw images of people casually tossing a disc around in the park.
Even now Im not so sure how I ended up on the team. I remember walking around with my friend Keren during the Activities Fair trying to figure out what to join. As we were looking at the different clubs we came across Katie, who was standing behind the Banshee Ultimate Frisbee table telling us we should sign up because she got a dollar for every name on the list. Keren suggested we both sign up and try it out together;

her Orientation Leader was on the guys Tron team and said it was fun. When it came time for the first practice she couldnt make it and she said I should go and tell her what its like. Now its nearly two months later;

shes never stepped foot on the field and I am still on the team.

That first practice changed a lot of the things I thought about the game. Who knew that there were multiple ways to throw a frisbee? And that I couldnt do any of them.
Im still learning how much there is to know and figure out. In our first tournament I thought I was going to pass out because I didnt have the stamina I needed to follow the person I was defending, make quick cuts, and run back and forth up and down the field. During all the sports I played in high school, I had never had that problem. Even if I did have the endurance needed, there was so much else I had to learn.

Every day, every practice, every player teaches me something new about the game. And thats saying something, since the team meets five times a week. Rooney can run farther and jump higher than I ever thought someone short could. Morgan has given me a whole new definition of speed: Three seconds to get down the field. Hammy demonstrates to me just how graceful and ballet-like you can be while playing. Malaika and Katie are the only reason I can throw flick at all. Sequel taught me how to play dump. Hilarys shown me effective cutting. Michal has taught me to sing Seize the Day from the Newsies. Daniele always has a word of encouragement and lets me know that messing up a few times is okay.

But the most important thing Ive discovered since joining the team, in addition to how fun frisbee can be, is a bunch of great friends. I know it sounds corny. Its one of those things people always say, but the thing is, until this year I have never been in a community that wasnt made up solely of modern Orthodox Jews and I cant say I wasnt more than a little nervous for this year, even if this is Brandeis and every other person I meet is Jewish. But the Banshees have shown me that theres nothing to worry about. The entire team is accepting and accommodating. Even though Im religious, Ive never felt left out or treated differently. I often have to miss practices, games, and tournaments because of Shabbos and holidays, but they dont make me feel bad about it. Theres always someone willing to explain and demonstrate and answer my questions. We have parties, we hang out and bond, we throw around for fun even when we dont have practice. Ive found a group of over twenty girls who I can just be myself around while getting in a good workout and playing a real sport.

Frisbees an intense sport that the Banshees take a step further. Have you ever heard a Banshee shriek? You dont want to.