As all club sports were designated fully virtual during the Fall 2020 semester, the Temple Men’s and Women’s Ultimate Frisbee teams original plans were flipped upside down
Written by Kendra Franklin, Photographed by Grace Woolslayer
On July 15, 2020, Temple University Campus Recreation announced that all club sports would be suspended until further notice due to COVID-19. Of the many clubs affected by this decision, both the Men’s and Women’s Ultimate Frisbee clubs were forced to halt their plans until at least the Spring 2021 semester.
Prior to the COVID pandemic, both teams were hard at work, traveling to several states for tournaments, raising money for their teams, and participating in team bonding activities—all in person. Temple Men’s Ultimate Frisbee were planning on going to a tournament in Virginia the weekend of March 13th, the weekend the country shut down. From here, the club’s entire season was canceled.
Following the disappointing news about the fate of club sports for the fall semester, both teams managed to adapt in their own ways.
“We have been doing strategy talks over Zoom in preparation for spring season,” said Donovan Hugel, a junior journalism major and president of Temple Men’s Ultimate Frisbee club. “We’re kind of doing that so if a spring season does happen we’re not behind the eight ball, but we do know that there’s still a lot of uncertainty around what is actually going to happen.”
Benish Benjamin, the secretary and a captain for Women’s Ultimate, explained how the team decided to run things virtually.
“Normally the season functions pretty much like any other sport, we run practices and we prepare for weekend tournaments,” Benjamin said. “Without that aspect of playing ultimate, it’s a lot to adjust to but we’ve been able to create a hybrid-esque format for the program this year.”
This hybrid format consisted of members working out with those within their “bubble,” whether this bubble was roommates, siblings, or other family members. The other part of this hybrid format was weekly team meetings.
Temple Women’s Ultimate kept their social media up to date despite the lack of a season. On their Instagram, the club posted weekly “TUF updates” for what the club had been up to for the week. These posts included screenshots from the club’s Zoom meetings, pictures from team members, club throwbacks, and more.
The women’s team even kept followers informed on current events and social issues. They posted information on how to vote or become a poll worker for the 2020 election,and hosted a workshop with the IDEAL office discussing anti-racism and racial justice. The IDEAL office, Temple’s Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy, and Leadership, works to bring inclusivity to Temple University.
“Because of everything that’s going on in the world with the election and the movement for racial justice, we’ve been having conversations about that with our team,” said Benjamin, a political science and economics double major and captain of the team. “We’ve kind of chosen to be more focused on internal development, which is actually super cool to see everyone adapt to. We’re still trying to find better ways to help everyone develop in terms of ultimate, but right now we’re taking the time to develop as people and be more in tune with our community.”
Temple Men’s Ultimate has made their own strides as activists as well, donating the proceeds from their logo mask to combatting discrimination within the North Philadelphia community, as well as youth programs in the city.
Other changes to a typical season also included no more team workouts or practices on campus, frozen funds to prevent the club from spending, and no games or tournaments. Despite these changes and the uncertainty of the spring semester, the clubs tried their hardest to stay optimistic and keep pushing forward as teams.