Tuesday Tips: How To Live With An Ultimate Player, As A Non-Ultimate Player

Ten witty tips for living with an ultimate player!

Richmond player Ellie Curtis goes for a run through D against Brandeis Banshee during pool play at the 2021 College Championships. Photo: Paul Rutherford — UltiPhotos.com

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I might not have a lot to offer in terms of how to perfect your hammer or how to train for a big tournament. In fact, I have never played a single game of ultimate, but I will say I am a seasoned pro at being peripherally involved in the ultimate community.

After five years of living with ultimate players, I’ve compiled this handy list of tips that you can send to your non-ultimate friend or partner, just in case you’re planning on signing a lease with them anytime soon.

  1. There is a three-hour grace period from when your roommate gets home from a tournament, during which you can’t ask them to please do their laundry. Give them a chance to eat and shower and maybe even take a brief nap before making the request.
    – Please note: the three-hour grace period becomes a two-hour grace period if it is above 80 degrees and the cleats/clothes are sitting indoors.
    – The two-hour grace period becomes a one-hour grace period if it is above 80 degrees and the said cleats/clothes are muddy and wet from rain.
  2. Be prepared for them to come home with a moderate to severe injury but note that this does not insinuate that the game went poorly. It doesn’t matter if it was a championship game or a summer league game. Either way, they could have laid out for the best D they have ever had in their life. This will mean that they are in pain, but it’s been numbed by Advil and euphoria. Offer to have a beer with them. Or maybe a Gatorade.
  3. Prepare to watch the college nationals on TV on that Saturday in May (or, you know, December in 2021) because this typically packs all the excitement from a typical season of football or basketball into one afternoon. Be prepared to answer folks when they ask, “What are you doing this weekend?” with a confident, “We’re hosting an ultimate frisbee watch party, wanna come?”
  4. Refer to tip #3 except replace college nationals with club nationals in October. Expect a watch party of a comparable size and equally confused looks from other non-ultimate friends when they ask what’s on the weekend agenda.
  5. Plan to allot at least one hour following a tournament for a comprehensive debrief. Plan to ask a follow-up question about the strategy behind O-line/D-line. Plan to ask a follow-up question about a zone, even though you are unsure of what a zone actually is. After the debrief, you’ll likely be off the hook for any further social interaction as your roommate should be asleep shortly.
  6. You might be tempted to offer to throw with them. Don’t be offended if they get tired of throwing with you or if they politely decline the offer. (My range personally maxes out at around 10 yards and that gets old pretty fast, or so I’m told). If you’re more athletically inclined, you likely have some more wiggle room here, but expect unsolicited tips on how to improve your form.
  7. Always ask before borrowing jerseys even if you frequently share clothes. Next thing you know, you’re just coming back from a run and your roommate is tearing up their wardrobe looking for their only orange article of clothing for a Halloween hat tournament or the only clean white jersey left in their drawer and… you’re wearing it.
  8. Brace yourself for a health kick preceding club tryouts in the spring. If you’re feeling extra motivated, you can offer to go on a run with them. They might tell you they’re only running three miles to keep it easy for you, but in reality you haven’t seen them go on a run since last club season.
  9. Have an excuse ready when you’re approached with: “Hey, my summer league team just needs one more lady on the field since someone cancelled, can you make it? All you’d have to do is be a body on the field.” My personal favorite has been, “Sorry, I’m watching the neighbor’s fish this afternoon and he’s a real handful.”
  10. Recognize that at the end of the day, this community is full of kind and passionate people who are ultimately (ha!) sharing an important part of their world with you. Granted, you may appreciate this less when you’re 40 minutes into a 60 minute tournament debrief, but it’s true nonetheless.
  1. Katherine Murbach
    Katherine Murbach

    Katherine Murbach graduated from the University of Richmond in 2020 with a degree in English Language and Literature. Now, she works in SEO Outreach and is based in Durham, NC. You can follow her on Twitter @katmurbach

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