From Leisure Activity to Champion Sport
You may think – where’s the kick from throwing a flat round plastic object into the air and then scrambling with others to catch it? The answer is best summarised by the founder of ultimate frisbee, American Jared Kass, who said: “I just remember one time running for a pass and leaping up in the air and just feeling the frisbee making it into my hand, and feeling the perfect synchrony and the joy of the moment, and as I landed I said to myself, 'This is the ultimate game’.”
Ultimate frisbee players from Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) will surely echo that ‘this is indeed the ultimate game’ for them. Otherwise, NYP Ultimate, as the team is called, would not have reigned as the undefeatable champion of the game ever since its inclusion into the POL-ITE Games, an annual sports competition between the polys and ITE.
The dominance was not achieved overnight. Benjamin Ho, the team’s current coach, tells the story. Back in 2004, when he was a student pursuing the Diploma in Business Management, he only managed to introduce frisbee as an activity under the NYP Sports Club. It was not recognized as a competitive sport even until he graduated. But he continued to push hard as an NYP alumnus and eventually it was incorporated as a proper sport, and not just an activity.
Since its inception, NYP Ultimate has won all six seasons in POL-ITE Games, and seven out of 10 in the Inter-Varsity-Polytechnic Games. In March this year, the team flew to Perth, Australia, to compete in the University of Western Australia (UWA) Ultimate Frisbee Invitational Exchange Program. The overseas experience gave the team exposure to playing in different climatic wind conditions, which will be critical when they take on overseas matches.
Some may see frisbee as a leisurely game, which you can also play with your pet dog. Even the current captain of NYP Ultimate, Navanetha Krishnan, or Krish as he is affectionately called, once thought so. “I saw it as a leisure sport where you just throw a disc with your friends and family. However, when I got into Ultimate, it was a whole new ball game! The intensity, skill level, athleticism may even exceed other sports!” says the final-year Diploma in Food & Nutrition student. A good player needs to jump high, run fast, and have lightning quick reflexes.
The team, with close to 90 players, trains for about four hours twice a week. Their body and minds have to be in peak condition, in order to perfect their techniques in the game.
Another critical factor for the team’s success is the intense bond amongst the players. “The bond we have is our biggest asset and we will never lose it. Coach Benjamin always reminds us that after graduating from NYP Ultimate, we will not only become better players but better people too!” says Krish.
This is one sport where the alumni would regularly go back to campus to guide the current team.
During the orientation camp for new players, the alumni and senior players would mentor their juniors to ensure that even with new members, the team remains tightly knitted, and will adapt to the NYP playing style.
With grit and an unbreakable team spirit, NYP Ultimate will surely continue to dominate the ultimate frisbee scene here.
Because We Can
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