2 years ago
Pablo Juarez
Sports Editor
Yash Musalgaonkar
Mercury Staff

Ultimate team members bring passion to new sport

For ITSS junior Steven Borik, there’s nothing quite like seeing a Frisbee glide through the air, travel 60 or 70 yards and witnessing two people going up and fighting for it.

Borik currently plays on the men’s ultimate team. He joined the team during his first semester at UTD. However, he experienced some rough patches during his transition to the competitive sport.

“I remember I came to the first practice, which are usually three hours long, and I was super excited,” he said. “It was a grueling three hours for me. I was so out of shape I was like, ‘I don’t think I want to do this anymore,’ but I told myself,  ‘I’m going to give myself one week to get back into shape — if I don’t like it, I’ll quit.’”

Borik currently serves as a captain and is the club’s president. He said ultimate’s uniqueness lies in how it draws in key elements from a wide variety of other sports. He believes that’s what intrigues newcomers, along with the accepting ultimate community.

“The ultimate community is a little weird, but at the same time everyone is super nice and friendly,” he said.

During her freshman year, biochemistry senior Madison Tomasek played on the men’s ultimate team, but she quickly decided that a women’s team needed to be established.

Prior efforts had been made to start a women’s team, but none were successful. Tomasek learned from the mistakes of others and with the help of some mentors, founded the women’s team during her sophomore year. She now serves as a team captain and club president.

“The second semester on the guy’s team I started to recruit,” she said. “Previous girls had tried to start a women’s team, but they didn’t organize as well, so knowing that I tried to cover a lot of different grounds — posting flyers and having recruiting events.”

Tomasek picked up the sport during her sophomore year of high school. Initially, she had been torn between starting a women’s ultimate or lacrosse team upon coming to college.

“The guy’s lacrosse team was just getting started, so that would have been hard,” she said. “It’s much easier if you have an established team and then branch off of that.”

Tomasek believes that ultimate is unlike any other sport, particularly in the manner that it’s played.

“Well, it’s self-refereed, which is the biggest thing,” she said. “Ultimate has the entire sports aspect, but it also has respect and spirit of the game tied into it heavily. The end goal is maybe to win, but a lot of people work on respecting (others) and being able to communicate. It’s more about discussing, learning and collaborating.”

As with any other sport, Borik said ultimate takes time commitment. He said having refined time management skills is essential in order to balance schoolwork and extracurricular activities.

“The only time it can become particularly problematic is when we go out of state or to a place that we have to rent a hotel for because we have to make a lot of reservations beforehand,” he said. “That whole weekend, you’re playing 90 minute games, eight games (in total). You’re absolutely exhausted, so no homework is getting done at these tournaments.”

As Tomasek passes on the torch this semester, she hopes to see the team and the sport as a whole grow on campus. Some of her fondest memories are ones where she isn’t even on the field.

“I personally get really excited when I’m not playing and we score, because for the last couple of years I’ve basically been at the center (of it all),” she said. “When they can do it without me, even if we don’t score, but the chemistry is obvious, I know that it’s eventually going to come together.”