Putting a spin on team unity
So what’s so great about playing for the Rider Ultimate Frisbee (RUF) team?
It might be the T-shirts and team jerseys. It could be the love of the game. It could be the fan support.
For freshman Tom Wospil, next year’s club president, it’s the tournaments.
“Tournaments are always a great time,” he said. “You meet tons of people from different schools, which is always interesting. Also, when you put all of us in a hotel we always find fun things to do.”
The members of RUF have had their fair share of tournament misadventures. Wospil’s most memorable trip was to New York in February.
“My favorite tournament so far was the ABC tournament in Garden City, N.Y.,” he said. “It was for the rookies of the teams along with some more experienced players to guide us. Although the conditions there were freezing and windy, the night we all spent together was one of the best nights I have had at Rider.”
This weekend, it’s the team’s turn to host a tournament, taking place on the Intramural Fields behind Daly’s. Twelve schools, one from as far away as Connecticut, will be competing in RUF’s 3rd annual Huck of the Fools, which starts Saturday. The competing schools include Rowan University, University of Connecticut, Princeton University, Millersville University, Montclair University, Middletown Community College, Ramapo College, Drew University, Steven’s Institute, Stockton College and St. Joseph’s University.
“More than anything else I am looking forward to just playing,” Wospil said. “The current executive board has worked really hard setting this up, and as a team we will not disappoint. I am also looking forward to meeting new people from all the incoming teams.”
Sophomore Krys Wilkie, who serves as public relations chair for the team, said she loves how tournaments strengthen the team’s bond.
“For a short time on weekends we play together, eat together, rest together, drive together, get lost together and breathe together,” she said. “It is crazy, but we are together and are sharing the same passion for Ultimate.”
This tournament will be especially significant for the seniors on the team, according to Wilkie.
“This is the first two-day tournament that RUF has hosted,” she said. “Also, this is the last home tournament before the original founders of the team graduate, and it is awesome for them to be here to see the tournament grow to be two days.”
RUF had its start more than four years ago, at senior Zach Aguanno’s summer orientation. He and nine incoming freshmen started tossing a Frisbee around, and by the end of the night they wanted to start a team in the fall.
“We said, ‘Hey, we should make a team when we get to school,’ and when we got there, I actually followed through,” he said.
There’s a lot to be said for a team that grew from a small group of friends to one of the most popular intramural sports on campus, according to freshman C.J. Nolan.
“This tournament shows everyone how the team has grown from playing no rules on the campus mall to being one of the better younger teams in the area,” Nolan said.
As Aguanno looks back, he remains confident RUF is going in the right direction for years to come.
“I’m very excited to see how things turn out in the future,” he said. “I think everything has a really good basis and grounding and things are really going to start taking off.”