Sports Spring Sports Ultimate

Manifesting the Spirit of the Game: Inside the Ultimate Frisbee Post-Game Serenading Tradition

Singing improvised songs and cheering for the opposing team, Andover Ultimate showcases the highest level of sportsmanship with a sense of humor. As each competitive game comes to an end, the team rejoices and is given a song written by the team managers to memorize and sing to the competitor. According to Head Coach Scott Hoenig, the tradition of coming up with a cheer for opponents is a staple of the game and relates closely to the standards that players are expected to play by. With no referees, honesty and respect is crucial to fair play which the cheering tradition aligns with. “It is something that I came upon when I first started playing ultimate back in 1994, so it is a tradition that has been with me since then. It all stems from the fact that ultimate is a self-officiated sport and for that to work, players need to take a lot of personal responsibility when it comes to the rules and also when it comes to respect for opponents. There is a lot of trust between opponents and between teams. There has always been that special aspect of the sport and one way that it plays out is a little more camaraderie between teams than you might find in some other sports,” said Coach Hoenig. According to Co-Captain Kam Saalfrank ’21, the outcome of the game is set aside and the teams come together to have fun while singing to each other. He mentioned one of the recent songs that the managers adapted lyrics to be ultimate terms. “The spirit of the game is a big part of ultimate. There is a good relationship between both teams before and after the game and you show respect to who you are playing. At the end of the game, win or lose, to keep the spirit up, our managers write a song. Our last one was to the tune of Let it Go from Frozen. Our managers make up the lyrics with ultimate phrases. It’s really fun because both teams exchange it. The managers draft lyrics either before the game or during the game and after the game we go into a huddle and learn the song really quickly,” said Saalfrank. The level of respect is shown through lighthearted songs drafted by the managers and the gift of an Andover frisbee to the other team, according to Ben Perez ’23. Perez said, “We also give away one of our discs which has the Andover logo on it. If one of the players did something crazy, we usually give it to them as a memory. It is a really good environment because it sets an example to show appreciation for the other team. The older players are keeping up the tradition. It is just a really good time and at the end of the day, it is about having fun.” According to Oscar Bunting ’21, the younger members of the team have quickly picked up on the tradition and have made it a fun experience that brings everyone on the field together. “The younger players get really involved with it. Ultimate frisbee is all about respecting the opponent and in other sports, you have a different relationship with your opponents. You may not like them and only care about beating them whereas ultimate is a little different and this tradition is definitely evidence of that. The younger players are definitely intrigued by that and like getting involved just by bringing their energy,” said Bunting. According to Coach Hoenig, the tradition of cheering after games is not just unique to Andover as it has been occurring in the sport through his experience as a player. “In the mid nineties, I do think [the post-game tradition] was still going on because it is part of the culture of ultimate. It wasn’t just something I came up with. When I was playing, whenever I went to tournaments, there was some kind of a post-game cheer, so I just made sure that we continued that when I took over as the coach here years ago,” said Coach Hoenig. According to David Owyang ’21, he has embraced the tradition in his first year on the team and looks forward to continuing it through the remaining games this season. “This is my first year on the team. I have only done it two or three times, but it is just about having fun at the end of the game. Even though we are really competitive during the game, afterwards we are all cool again. It is about sportsmanship and we don’t dislike each other because we are on different teams. We have a game this Friday in the stadium under the lights and hopefully I’ll be able to close out the season with a few wins in a fun way in my Senior season,” said Owyang. Andover Ultimate will look to secure a victory and provide a new cheer against Pingree at home on Friday at 7:00 p.m.