ARLINGTON, Va. - While most school districts are cutting extracurricular activities to save money, Arlington Public Schools is adding one to its roster for middle and high schools – Ultimate Frisbee.
The school system made the move just in time for the first day of school, which starts in two weeks.
“You try to throw it to someone at the end of the field and if they catch it, it's a point,” said Kyle Roisum. “You try to aim your throws right and get it to the end zone pretty much."
Roisum would know.
“When I was in school, it was more of a club sport and it wasn't seen as like a real sport in high school,” he said. “But I'm glad it's becoming because I guess a lot more kids these days are willing to play Frisbee and it's being taken as a real sport.”
The now-college senior played Ultimate Frisbee long before Arlington Public Schools gave the sport the green light last Thursday and added it to its official athletic activity list.
The difference between Frisbee and Ultimate Frisbee is the latter keeps score, has teams and winning requires practice.
“And they play on more like an organized field, with end zones and there's a lot more coordination compared to regular Frisbee, which is like for the fun of it, you know, just throwing with their friends,” said Roisum.
“I would definitely go to an Ultimate Frisbee game,” said Gretchen James, a sophomore high school student. “It's such an interesting sport. If you go to football games, there are so many people there to watch and everyone cheers together and you maybe wouldn't expect it to be the same at an Ultimate Frisbee game, but it is. People get so into it.”
Arlington Public Schools says practice starts next month, games start in October and the search is on for players, trainers and coaches.
“A lot of sports that people do is part of club systems, so all the funding has to come from the players, all the funding has to come from the families and a lot of time that can deter people and make people not as eager to participate,” said James. “But when it becomes part of the school and other people can get involved and the school can have a large say in what goes on, it makes it more intriguing and welcoming to people.”
Even so, Arlington Public Schools says on its website that there are some challenges ahead, including the availability and access to field space, transportation costs and travel between schools.
Arlington Public Schools’ faculty will discuss more details at a staff meeting on Thursday at 11 a.m.
The estimated annual budget for the sport is reportedly $92,000.