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By August 10, 2017 General, Sports

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The Ultimate Passion

By August 7, 2017 Sports

Trying new things can be scary, but in Corrine’s mind, she sees it as an opportunity to grow and learn.

While the wind whistled by outside and the chill kept our hands wrapped around our coffees at the Happy Goat Café, she told me more about her final semester of school, her passion for sports and how she strives to be the best at what she does.

She has now graduated from the University of Ottawa after earning a degree in environmental sciences with a specialization in geochemistry and ecotoxicology and is training for the World Under 24 Ultimate Championship. For those of you who don’t know what this is, keep reading!

When we did the interview and she told me she would be trying out for the Ultimate Canada mixed team in the spring, I was impressed, but then she explained that she’s only been playing Ultimate Frisbee for three years. Three years and she was already trying out for the national team. I couldn’t wait to learn more about her Ultimate Frisbee career.

 Dream Job

When asked what her dream job is, Corrine said she would love to buy a Volkswagen van and drive across the country. She explained that school and work are extremely stressful and ‘I just want a vacation.’ I laughed and heartily agreed. She went on to explain that she is extremely interested in GIS or Geographic Information System, a mapping software that puts ‘data into a map form’ that she used for her honours project looking at how lake area changed over time in Yellowknife.

When asked about the possibility of playing Ultimate Frisbee as a career, she explained that it wasn’t an option. Ultimate Frisbee is unfortunately not a lucrative career option. The only current pro leagues are the American Ultimate Disc League and the MLU or Major League Ultimate where players make approximately $25 per game. It’s almost hard to believe a pro athlete is making so little when says the average salary in the NHL is 2.9 million dollars each year.

Ultimate Frisbee Career

After her first year of university, Corrine went looking for something to do. She considered cheer leading, cross country running, ultimate Frisbee, gymnastics and soccer. Corrine said she’s always played sports growing up and after adjusting to the university life, she wanted to play again.

She went through the motions of making a decision on which sport to invest her time. She explained that while she liked cross country running and gymnastics, they didn’t fit.

‘I wanted to do something physically active, I wanted to be a part of a team.

When she tried out for the university’s Ultimate Frisbee team, she had never played before, but quickly excelled and became the captain of the Geegees. For anyone who doesn’t go to the University of Ottawa, a geegee is the first horse out of the gate and our school mascot.

Corrine says she loves the spirit of the game and the rivalry between teams that pushes her to new lengths, but remains friendly off the pitch. After her first year of playing she was introduced to other teams in Ottawa. Generally, the Ultimate Frisbee community takes time off during the winter, but because Corrine was playing with three different teams, she played year round and ‘I haven’t stopped playing.

After her successful tryouts this spring, she will be heading to Perth Australia next year, where she and her 25 other team mates will compete in the World Under 24 Ultimate Championship.

 The Sport of Ultimate Frisbee

Other than a couple of gym classes and passing a disc, or frisbee back and forth with some friends, I knew very little of the sport before sitting down for coffee with Corrine. The rules, she explained are extremely simple.

The goal of the game is to gain points by passing the disc into end zones at the opposite end of the field. Unlike football, players cannot run the disc into the end zones, or at all for that matter and also unlike football, it is a non-contact sport. Once a player has the disc they are permitted to pivot (which is much cooler than it sounds when you watch an expert like Corrine do it) and then they throw it to another player who is usually moving up the field towards the end zone. The opposing team attempts to defend the disc and knock it from the air.

When the disc is knocked from the air, there is a ‘turn over’ where the other team gains possession. They then start the play from where it was dropped and attempt to go in the opposite direction, towards the opponent’s end zone. When a point is scored, teams return to their end zones and the team who was scored on begins the play.

        The players

This is where the handlers, who usually have the better throws of the team, throw the disc as far as they can down the pitch towards their opponents. The play then begins.

The cutters are the only other position in the sport and they are the runners who snag the disc from the air and make the catches in the end zone. They are usually the faster runners. Corrine explained that she is a cutter., explains that Ultimate Frisbee is a self-refereeing sport where teams referee and maintain the code of conduct known as ‘the Spirit of the Game’. From what the website explains and how Corrine talks about her experience, this works extremely well. I can’t imagine this working for many other sports, especially the ones I play like hockey or baseball, but it’s incredible that it does.

If you would like to see what a competitive game of Ultimate Frisbee really looks like, check out the link below for the 2015  Ottawa vs. Guelph  game.

I would love to try ultimate out and Corrine and a quick Google search tells me that there are plenty of different leagues that are willing to teach a beginner how to play. Unfortunately most leagues are now in the middle of their summer season, but there are drop in leagues in both Ottawa and the GTA.

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