MSU Women’s Ultimate Club Embraces Fun And Sport’s Positive Spirit
The Ultimate club, which has been at MSU since 1981, creates a legacy of sportsmanship, competition, and yes, a moose.
EAST LANSING, Mich. – At one point, the Michigan State women’s club Ultimate team was infamous for changing its team name every year. They just couldn’t settle on a name that would stick…until one name found staying power. The players turned indecisiveness into a mantra, calling the team “Infamous Ultimate”, donning a jerseys emblazoned with moose (as in infa-moose), and creating an Infa-moose cheer.
The sport used to be known as “ultimate frisbee”, but has evolved to just being known as Ultimate. It is a non-contact team sport, using a flying disc to score on a soccer pitch.
It is highly competitive, but never combative. as heavy emphasis is placed on competitive character while maintaining a code of sportsmanship and mutual respect.
The sport’s spirit stresses cooperation and sportsmanship, as it has no referees. When a dispute occurs on the field, the players involved work out a solution.
“The sport itself is completely different from every other sport I’ve played, with the spirit of the game,” junior captain Maketa Mattimore said. “The community itself is very unique in the way that people interact with each other, it’s always welcoming.
“We welcome anyone even if they don’t have any experience, but this year we have some athletes who are converting into ultimate. It’s really a lot easier to teach an athlete how to catch a frisbee rather than teach someone who has no experience.”
The team, which is open to all female MSU students, trains 2-3 days per week. Their competition schedule takes them around the country, primarily the Midwest, to tournaments in the fall and spring.
MSU has a long history with club ultimate, with the women’s team starting play in 1981 after breaking off from the men’s club.
“A lot of athletes who have played previous sports already have field awareness,” Mattimore said. “Soccer players already pretty much know how to cut to open space and how to create distance from their defender.”
The dedication and the love for its spirit is part of what drives the team pay out of pocket for their jerseys and to attend tournaments.
“I think (MSU ultimate players) all sort of start in the same position where we walk by or hear about it and we’re like, ‘Wow that looks like fun’. I joined because I wanted to get exercise and meet some people and I think that’s pretty much everyone’s case,” Mattimore said. “When you join you kind of realize how strong of a community we are. We’re all friends, we all live together, we all spend a ridiculous amount of time together.”
The team is working on a new line-up, having lost four of seven starters to graduation last spring. Newcomers are working their way into play, and so far, seem promising.
“I felt personally we were pretty dependent on those four girls that we lost, but I think it’s going to be really good for the team to sort of learn how we work without them,” Mattimore said. “Our rookies are looking really impressive this year, they’re learning pretty quickly.”
Captain Amanda Decker has seen the Infamous got through significant changes since she started. Ultimate has room for newcomers, as well as veterans, to play together and have fun.
“It’s a very different team than I have played on the past two years,” Decker said. “The team predominantly my first two years of playing has been comprised of vets and people who have played frisbee before, and this year it’s kind of flipped.”
“A lot of people who want to play sports can’t in college because you had to be so good for however long, (in ultimate) everybody kind of starts in the same spot. It doesn’t matter if you got to play in all these clubs in high school or if you just played high school sports, everybody is on the same page.”