While many students jump at the chance to return home for spring break, the Springfield College Ultimate Frisbee team had other ideas; they would go to play at the 20th Anniversary of High Tide.
High Tide is an annual Ultimate Frisbee tournament held in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. where hundreds of college teams come to enjoy the game of Ultimate as well as their spring break. The event is run by a group called Disc-iple sports, whose mission is to share the love of Jesus through the game of Ultimate. “When I was a college Ultimate player on spring break, I was focused on anything but honoring God, because I had no idea who he was or why he cared about me. But once I realized that Jesus loved me regardless of what I had done and offered me a new life of fulfillment with him at the center, I knew I needed to share it through my passion, the sport of Ultimate,” said Ed Pulkinen, founder of Disc-iple sports and event coordinator for High Tide.
The team’s plans commenced at five in the morning on Saturday, March 12th where all team members woke up to a desolate campus with a destination of South Carolina. The 1 hour car ride consisted of many hours of sleeping, listening to music, and communicating with the other team vans, through Voxer, a smart phone application that let’s users communicate via walkie talkie.
After arriving in sunny South Carolina from the brisk conditions of Massachusetts, the team settled in and prepared for their last practice before the tournament. Springfield worked hard to make their strategies and plays second nature so they could perform to the best of their ability and make a run for the championship.
Week four of High Tide began on Tuesday, March 15th where Springfield would play three games per day and remain undefeated until their defeat in the Championship with a 13-10 loss to Skidmore posting an 8-1 record for the tournament. “Our energy was at its peak both on the field and off, everyone was focused on the game and the entire roster played to their best ability,” sophomore AJ Vazquez said. “Games that are close from start to finish are the most exciting to compete in, and despite losing to Skidmore in the final, it was our most challenging game to date because it caused us to make onthefly adjustments.” Other than the loss in the finals, Springfield dominated their bracket defeating teams such as Lehigh, UMass, Bentley and Princeton, while outscoring their opponents 103-43 throughout the course of the week.
In addition to playing ultimate, the players on the team are still college students that need to enjoy their time off. Down time was spent by meeting new people, going to the beach and relaxing at the house, but most importantly, to form a familial bond. “High Tide helps the team become a more cohesive unit. Spending a week living together and doing everything together brings all of us a lot closer,” team captain Cody Ross said.
For the rest of the year, the Ultimate Frisbee team will look to participate in a few tournaments as well as practice every week. The team welcomes new players of all skill levels to join them for practices on Schmid field from 7-9 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday.