Ultimate Frisbee: A Staples Tradition

Image Courtesy of: http://www.ultimatehistory.com/founders/Pg/staples.html

Image Courtesy of: http://www.ultimatehistory.com/founders/Pg/staples.html



Image Courtesy of: http://www.ultimatehistory.com/founders/Pg/staples.html
Image Courtesy of: http://www.ultimatehistory.com/founders/Pg/staples.html

Grace Shay ’10
Managing Editor

Ask veteran math teacher Alan Jolley to describe the game of Ultimate Frisbee. His voice softens, his eyes seem to mist over, and he pulls out a worn manila folder from a drawer in his desk.

“For me, [Ultimate] is a mix between hockey and soccer,” Jolley said, as he opened up the folder. “All you need is a Frisbee and a playing field. It can be co-ed, there are no refs, and it’s great exercise.”

Inside Jolley’s folder is 38 years of Ultimate Frisbee history: news clippings, Xeroxed photos, and old papers. The game was created and formulated at Jolley’s alma mater in New Jersey, Columbia High School; Jolley, who has taught at Staples since 1966, and created the Staples Ultimate Frisbee team in 1971.

The “high point of Staples Frisbee was with the class of 1974,” Jolley said. “Some [members] have been fanatics of Frisbee all their life, not just at Staples.”

In commemoration, on Oct. 10, Frisbee players from the class of 1974 will hold a game on Loeffler field at 12 pm. The game coincides with the class of 1974’s 35th weekend reunion.

Jolley said he wants the Staples staff to play as well, and that the team’s goal is to “to stimulate interest in Frisbee” at Staples. “Hopefully [the reunion game] will get students interested if they see teachers playing. The more people who play, the better.”

In 1970, the first written rules of Ultimate were created. “Staples is one of the first three teams ever to play ultimate Frisbee in history,” said Jolley, and “players from Staples went and formed teams elsewhere, especially in college where Frisbees are ubiquitous on campuses.”

Staples’ original team has played a large part in the history of Ultimate.

“We were the first co-ed team in the history of Staples, and perhaps the first co-ed ever in Connecticut,” said Jolley. The team was also the “first winners of an intercollegiate athletic event in ultimate Frisbee.”

The team was distinguished by its “blue turtlenecks, with a big ‘S’ for Staples,” said Jolley, and the team “hoped it would become a part of the physical education curriculum.”

Connor Einarson ’10 is president of the reincarnated Ultimate Frisbee Club. Along with members past and present, Einarson will be playing in the reunion game.

“[E]ven though I like playing many sports, Ultimate is one of the few where you have to run that much and use hand-eye coordination on the field,” said Einarson. “The different throws and strategies that you can use adds to that, along with how competitive it can get.”

Einarson echoed Jolley’s goal for the reunion. “Our goal for the reunion is to get more people involved with Ultimate as well as having the current and new members learn from the alumni,” said Einarson. “They must have gotten a lot more experience and we hope to improve our game here!”

While the field that the original Ultimate Frisbee club played on has since been replaced with a parking lot as Staples has undergone a few renovations, Jolley’s passion for the sport has not faded. 

Jolley paraphrased an old Frisbee adage. “Frisbees are just beautiful. There’s something very beautiful and simple about Frisbees, the way they float.” Then with a twinkle in his eyes, he added, “Balls dream they could just float like Frisbees do.”