Good ideas are often spontaneous creations. Just ask Phil Stratigis ’09 and graduate student Ryan Perry. Their brainchild, a precarious charity Frisbee golf tournament coined ‘Frolf this Way,” currently in its third year, was conceived while they were in a state of insobriety.
‘We got hammered and thought it would be a good idea,” Stratigis said, chuckling.
‘Yeah, most of our good ideas come when we’re not sober,” Perry added.
OK, so they’re not the most serious entrepreneurial pair they would probably even call into question their status as entrepreneurs. And Frolf this Way, taking place this Sunday at Ellison Park, is certainly a bit disorganized, though still undoubtedly jovial.
Stratigis still does have a trunk full of T-shirts from last year’s event. And as for the direction of the event well, the pair is pretty noncommittal.
But no matter how laid back and nonchalant the founders act about the event, Frolf this Way in its current state seems to be a perfect combination of altruistic intentions, laissez-faire fun, community involvement and, of course, Arnold Palmer’s that cheap and delicious mixture of lemonade and iced tea that Perry and Stratigis claim is necessary when Frolfing. They even provide each Frolf this Way participant with a can from Sonny’s Deli the place where it got started in the first place.
Frolf this Way now has seven sponsors, but Sonny’s Deli was the original. They were the first ones Stratigis and Perry even asked. The small, unpolished deli and Frisbee disc shop located down the street from Ellison doesn’t look like much. But it is the perfect place to pick up a cold drink on your way to play Frolf. And it is an even better place to grab a monster slice of pizza made right in front of you by Andy, one of the co-owners.
Stratigis and Perry quickly became regulars of the deli on their way to Frolf. And there’s been a lot of give and take in their relationship with Sonny’s: from Stratigis joking around with Andy while eating a slice of pizza to the small store helping advertise for Frolf this Way with a large poster propped up on the Frisbee disc shelf.
Sonny’s, however, is not the only organization that Stratigis and Perry have formed a relationship with. Three years ago, the pair’s fraternity, Sigma Nu, was looking for a more local organization to support: FoodLink, their previous donation recipient, was becoming too big, too impersonal for the fraternity. So the group turned to what might seem like an unlikely organization Alternatives for Battered Women.
‘I thought it was really nice to set up a relationship between a fraternity and a battered women’s shelter,” Stratigis said. ‘It shows that not all guys, especially fraternity guys, are your stereotypical jerks.”
That relationship has also grown. ABW, which is in the early stages of moving, has told SigNu of its new location and asked them to help clean up and prepare the house. ‘It shows a lot of trust,” Stratigis said.
The real purpose of the event, however, is the Frolf itself. ‘It’s fun, but not as serious as golf,” Perry said. Meanwhile, Ellison, one of a handful of Frisbee golf (not disc golf) courses in the area, is beautiful and expansive. Walking through the park in itself is worth it.
In its third year, the pair have accomplished both a lot and very little with Frolf this Way. From the first year to the second year, they saw an increase of about 25 participants to around 50 last spring. They raised only a modest sum (around $150), and Stratigis still does have a trunk-full of T-shirts.
But for Frolf this Way, it’s hardly about the results. It’s more about the enjoyment of partaking in a round of 18 while sipping an Arnold Palmer, knowing all the while your money is going to something that matters. And the pair is hesitant, if not down-right uncommitted, to expanding the event too much beyond that.
Frolf this Way is this Sunday at 12 p.m. at Ellison Park. The cost is $12 for students. Tickets can be purchased at the Common Market in Wilson Commons.
Hilfinger is a member of the class of 2010.