Kate Tian knew nothing about Frisbee when she joined UR’s Ultimate Frisbee team as a freshman three years ago. Neither did sophomores Laura Mendomo and Fayth Kim, who joined the squad last fall.
Now, they couldn’t imagine life without the sport, or, more importantly, their team.
But their lack of experience isn’t uncommon within the Rochester Erogenous Zones (EZs); in fact, most team members didn’t know how to throw a disk before being taught by their teammates.
With fall season fast approaching, these now seasoned veterans are preparing to pass on their expertise to a new group of eager athletes. No experience is required, Tian, Mendomo, and Kim insist.
“We’ll teach you everything you need to know to be a baller on the field,” Kim said.
Having never played the sport, what enticed these three and many others to join Ultimate?
Mendomo was intrigued by a quirky email she received after the Fall Activities Fair. She showed up to practice and never looked back—she had found her family in the unconventional bunch.
Tian, who never considered playing sports while in China, describes the team as a haven for misfit athletes: the spirit of the EZs is unmistakably unique and welcoming to all.
“The community is what got me started playing and what kept me playing,” Kim said.
Most EZs end up with nicknames, and some of the origin stories are raunchier than others. This practice of uncensored nicknaming might be expected from a team with a name like “Erogenous Zones.” At her first practice, when Mendomo’s name was incorrectly auto-corrected on a teammate’s phone, she was christened with her Ultimate nickname, “Larry.” Tian is known as “AK,” short for “Asian Kate,” to avoid confusing her with another (non-Asian) team member with the same name.
Other nicknames are products of late nights and debaucherous shenanigans at the off-campus Frisbee house. The house doubles as a concert venue for groups including UR Ultimate’s very own 90’s cover band, “Love Detective,” affectionately referred to as “Love Dick.”
Despite fostering a laidback and fun environment, the EZs take their sport seriously. They compete in Division I, and finished 65 out of 253 teams in the nation last spring. Led by talented and disciplined captains, the team embodies the common motto “work hard, play hard.” An example of this was when the team learned “The Wobble” as a warm-up for competition in the spring.
“Frisbee is a perfect balance between casual dance parties and playing a competitive sport,” Kim said.
The Ultimate Frisbee spirit is one of respect and sportsmanship, as the game is played without official referees. It is played for the love of the sport. As an international student, Tian credits the diverse EZ crew with exposing her to new perspectives. Ultimate also inspired a passion for sports she didn’t know she had.
“Even after you graduate, you belong to something bigger,” the senior said.
“These girls are not only my teammates; they’re my closest friends,” Kim said. “My teammates are always there, whether I need a shoulder to cry on, a study buddy, or someone to demolish a tub of cookie dough with.”