Ultimately not a sport

Lack of state recognition hinders frisbee teams


Abigail Keller

Junior Isabel Nathan practices throwing a frisbee during ultimate practice April 13. Due to lack of MNHSL distinction, ultimate frisbee is not categorized as a sport.

Jacob Khabie and Modesty Manion

As spring begins, Park’s ultimate frisbee teams yet again begin its seasons as clubs, without the distinction of being called a sport. According to junior Greta Runyan, this re-categorization would benefit the team greatly.

“It’d be pretty cool to see it as a sport so that it’s recognized by the rest of the schools as a sport,” Runyan said. “It’s definitely way more of an athletic activity than a sport like golf. We’re doing way more running than golf ever will.”

Both the boys team, Crush, and the girls team, Orange Crush, are considered club sports, according to Park athletic director Andy Ewald. Despite calls to re-categorize, Ewald said the distinction between sport and club is made by the state, rather than the school.

“Our office only oversees (sports) that are Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) sanctioned activities,” Ewald said. “Ultimate is not a Minnesota State High School League activity. So until it becomes a Minnesota State High School League activity, it wouldn’t fit into this office.”

Because of this, Park is unable to consider ultimate frisbee a sport. According to Runyan, this strips the team of resources available to activities considered sports, such as bussing.

“They get bussing to any other tournaments,” Runyan said. “That’d be pretty beneficial, so people don’t have to worry about getting rides.”

Ewald himself said he considered ultimate to be a sport despite the lack of MSHSL distinction, and said ultimate not being credited as a sport should not hinder the team’s success.

“Sure, ultimate is a sport. No different than rugby is a sport, or badminton is a sport,” Ewald said. “Rugby would be a good example, because it’s not recognized by the High School League. But it’s a sport. And I know Hopkins has a club [rugby] program.”

Junior Rachel Katzovitz said she already sees ultimate as a sport, so recategorization of the sport would help more people see the commitment of the sport. 

“It would give the ultimate itself more credit where it’s due, because right now it’s just seen as an activity that you do for a few days after school, but it’s a lot more of a commitment than that,” Katzovitz said.

Runyan said that due to the presence of both Crush and Orange Crush, acknowledging ultimate frisbee as a sport would not cause any gender-equality issues or concerns.

“We have both a girls and boys team, so it would still be an equal amount of sports, because I know a lot of schools don’t like having more sports with one gender,” Runyan said.

Although ultimate frisbee is not considered a sport, Ewald said he admires the dedication and perseverance of the teams.

“They’ve done a really good job of growing and showing sustainability over the years,” Ewald said.