By Jenna Notarfrancesco, Staff Writer
People often associate playing frisbee with a relaxing day at the beach or a light toss at the park with friends, but at Hofstra, frisbee is no casual game play. The women's ultimate frisbee team, M45, takes the idea of throwing a frisbee "just for fun" to the next level. It is fun and they are playing amongst friends, but the ladies of M45 are acclimated to a more rigorous form of the sport.
Walk by the Intramural Fields anytime of the day and chances are you will see a disc in the air and fourteen people running after it. With practices four days a week, the girls work diligently to hone their throwing and handling skills, defensive and end zone drills, as well as other elements used on the field during a game. This includes practicing making clean cuts, or faking right or left in order to deceive an opponent and be open to receive the disc.
"Practices are two hours, but they usually run over because we love it so much," said returning sophomore Kristin Sprague.
M45 even practices in the rain, which can make playing frisbee messy because of the mud. With dirt lines around the ankles and elbows and bloody scrapes and burns from the field patching their shins, players look as if they had just fought a war instead of having participated in an ultimate practice or game. That is what makes these women so dedicated and truly hard core. Blood, sweat and tears may be the outcome of a particularly hard practice or tournament, but it is worth it, according to junior Megan Mackenzie, one of the team's captains.
"I usually get scrapes and scars from sliding or get cleated. I get cleated a lot. Basically you are sacrificing your body when you lay out for a disc. A lot of contact is your body with the disc or your body with ground," said Sprague.
Unlike soccer or basketball, frisbee is a low contact sport between players. It is also a self-officiated sport, so injuries do not result from player-to-player contact due to the violation and the fact that fouls can be called.
The M45 captains have a lot of events planned for the season, the first of which hopefully should occur Friday. It is tradition for M45 to delegate one or two incoming freshmen or, "Frisbuds," to each returning veteran player, explained Sprague. This week, the veterans will hand out their frisbee profiles, a piece of paper with their name, major, fun fact about them and contact information. The girls are not bound to their vets, but it gives freshman a specific person to go to if they need to talk to someone about a frisbee related issue or if they just want to hang out. It is similar to a sorority's "big" and "little," and a way to make the freshmen feel welcomed to the team.
"It is just someone that you get to know and hopefully by getting to know one person really well you will branch off of them and get to know others," said Sprague.
This Friday the team also plans to tie-dye tee shirts for their fundraiser at Coldstone the following week. Because the team plays at out-of-state tournaments throughout the semester, it requires more funding for multiple weekend trips and hotel accommodations than what SGA's budget could provide. According to Mackenzie, the whole team will go to Coldstone, with half the girls standing outside drawing people in and the other half behind the counter actually making the ice cream for customers.
"We get all the tips that night and a small percentage of what they make in profit, which is usually few hundred dollars," said Mackenzie.
With the huge influx of freshmen to the team, these events will help foster the type of team bonding needed before a big tournament. The first tournament is scheduled for October 16 and 17 at The College of New Jersey, where they will most likely be competing against NYU, their biggest rival, who finished ahead of M45 two years in a row.
M45's coach and captains are trying to prepare the freshmen by throwing and running drills as much as possible, but is it at a tournament when they get to see everything put into action.
"The whole first tournament is going to be a completely new learning experience. The fall season, once they go through these three tournaments, then they will be more prepared," said Mackenzie.
But what about M45? What does that stand for? In short… "It refers to M45, like the constellation. It means the seven sisters—there are seven players on the field and we are like sisters," said Mackenzie.