The Ball State Ultimate Frisbee team waits to start playing. The Wizardz will compete in the “Hucks for Dayz” tournament on Sept. 20 and 21 at Indiana Wesleyan University. PHOTO PROVIDED BY THE BALL STATE ULTIMATE FRISBEE CLUB
Ultimate Frisbee club continues to gain interest
Tim Perkey traded in his shoulder pads for a Frisbee when he came to Ball State last year.
Perkey, a sophomore business administration major and president of Ball State’s Ultimate Frisbee club, is part of an increasing number of college students who are joining the “Ultimate” ranks.
USA Ultimate, the governing body of the sport in the U.S., has seen its college membership rise in the past decade from 9,951 members in 2004 to 16,885 in 2013.
Overall membership in the United States has more than doubled, rising from 19,204 in 2004 to 46,520 in 2013.
The room for players of all skill levels to play Ultimate is attractive to those who want to stay physically active, Perkey said. He said Ball State’s team, known as the Wizardz, has a welcoming atmosphere.
“The main thing we try to do is make everyone feel at home and make sure they have friends coming into college,” Perkey said. “If someone comes in who has never thrown a Frisbee before ... we can teach them that. And if they already know how to play, that’s great too.”
Perkey said he joined the Wizardz during his freshman year, after he realized he would not be able to play football and compete at the Division I level for Ball State. He said he was drawn to the team aspect and safety of the sport.
“I had multiple concussions throughout high school playing football,” Perkey said. “Ultimate is, plain and simple, a safer sport. And I think a lot of parents like that.”
J.C. Swartling, a junior telecommunications major and captain for the Wizardz, said he thinks the sport is growing in popularity because people are starting to see it on a more prominent level.
In June, USA Ultimate became a United States Olympic Organization member as a recognized sport organization.
And last year, USA Ultimate secured a multi-year agreement with ESPN to have the sport’s major events broadcasted on ESPN3 and ESPNU.
“It helps that ESPN is showing notice into Ultimate ... along with Ultimate being in the Olympics soon,” Swartling said. “Also, I think it’s becoming more popular due to the social aspect of it. People invite their friends and family for the tournaments. It’s a fun time.”
The Wizardz will compete in the “Hucks for Dayz” tournament at Indiana Wesleyan University on Sept. 20 and 21.
In addition, they will compete in a tournament on Sept. 28 at Ball State.