University of Chicago undergrads are a notoriously intellectual bunch. As a third-year biochemistry and chemistry double major, Angel Barragan is no different. But when Barragan’s not in the lab conducting research on antibodies and structural biology, he’s working on his greatest nonacademic passion.
“My one unofficial goal for the next two years is to catch a handblock,” he says.
If you don’t understand Barragan’s reference, fear not. Members of UChicago’s Ultimate Frisbee community use a vernacular that rivals the southwest corner of the quad in indecipherability. Don’t let goofy-sounding terms like conservation of greatness and scoober fool you though. Despite a popular perception of Ultimate as a slacker’s game, the women of Supersnatch and the men of Junk and Hedonism Bots—UChicago’s three Ultimate Frisbee teams—are serious about their sport. (Full disclosure: sometimes, they are serious enough to write online articles about said sport.)
“You work to craft what you want to be,” explains Barragan, who can be found practicing throws and running sprints year-round. Between summer club play, winter tournaments in California, and springtime college playoffs, there’s never an off-season for the College’s Ultimate athletes.
Fourth-year Supersnatch captain Madison Moore has spent her summer packing in as much Frisbee as possible. “I practice Saturday and Sunday for my club team [Chicago Nemesis], and then during the week I just try to make it out to pods when I have time,” she says.
Pods—or impromptu practices—are a near-daily Hyde Park Frisbee staple. They’re opportunities to work on all aspects of one’s game, from the nuances of footwork to the basics of throwing and catching. Anyone can send an email to call a pod, and once the message is out, all are invited to join at Washington Park.