Frisbee Culture

Whizzing through the crisp air at around 25 miles per hour, this eccentric floating disk may seem odd to the common man, yet for some Paly students, it is a way of life.
It is no surprise that the game of Ultimate Frisbee has picked up steam in the last couple years due to its laid-back style and its absence of multiple necessities; all that is needed is a frisbee and some open space.
Because of Paly’s large and spacious campus it was only a matter of time before the floating disks began sailing across the Quad. Every Tutorial, Thursday and Friday after school the same group of people run back and forth on the Quad tossing the frisbee, trying to get better. These students are the members of Paly’s Ultimate Frisbee Club which has existed at Paly for around the past 10 years.
“Right now, it’s mostly pick-up games,” junior Samuel Mignot, co-president of the Frisbee Club, said. “[We’re] just trying to get some people interested in the game and teach them the basics through small games.”
Mignot is no stranger to the frisbee field. He has been an avid member of Paly’s club and even played as young child with his older brother, Xavier Mignot.
“Outside of school, it was just a few pick-up games here and there that I’d tag along to,” Mignot said. “At school last year, I joined the club and luckily we got a great coach, Mr. Farina. He really helped organize ultimate [frisbee] at Paly and that’s what led me to begin playing at school.”
Starting last spring, Chris Farina, a history and psychology teacher at Paly, began helping the club out by running practices and signing the team up for multiple tournaments.
“In the fall we sometimes play against Gunn and MA (Menlo-Atherton) students,” Mignot said. “During the spring we play in tournaments against other schools. Mr. Farina really helped us last year by communicating with the local groups and making sure we went to tournaments, run by ‘USA Ultimate.’”
The club intends on forming its own team under the direction of Mr. Farina this spring and participating in multiple tournaments. The alluring aspect of the game of frisbee is the way it differs from all other common sports.
“I like how the frisbee moves and how it differs from the movement of the balls used in other games,” Mignot said. “I think the different [options] one has in throwing it and catching it adds a lot to the game.”
Looking back at the past couple years at Paly, a sharp contrast can be seen regarding how the sport has evolved.
“It [used to be] pick-up frisbee on a small field,” former Paly Alum, John Xia, said. “[The games were] lots of fun and turned out to be a great introduction to frisbee. Not super competitive at all.”
Xia, who graduated in 2010, was an avid member of Paly’s Frisbee Club and was one of the main proponents of evolving the club and the sport’s popularity to the entire student body.
Junior Bryant Vergara recently moved from Vancouver, Canada to Palo Alto. As an avid frisbee player, Vergara has noticed that there are many differences between the frisbee played in Canada and in the U.S.
“Frisbee is relatively popular in Canada,” Vergara said. “I think that people here are a lot more passionate to play frisbee.” What is different between Paly and Vergara’s former school is the fact that Vergara’s former school had its own ultimate frisbee team and  ultimate frisbee was considered sport throughout the entire school.
“We had around 20 people on the team, including myself,” Vergara said. “However, we didn’t have a lot of people that knew how to play. It was more of ‘join if you’re okay.’ Here people are actually good.”
Members of the Paly Frisbee Club share the greatest bond simply in their desire to promote the sport they love.
“I believe that frisbee is under the radar to the majority of Paly students,” Vergara said. “It would be cool if we became a recognized team and sport.” And his teammates agree.
“I would like to see Paly become a credible sport at Paly,” Mignot said. “I think it is an important goal. The main goal at this time is simply to get people to try out the game and see if they like it. Once we get there we’ll see where it goes.”

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