By the time that things returned to somewhat normal after more than a year of COVID-19 restrictions in the Fall of 2021, many clubs and athletic teams were still feeling the lingering effects, and things have been no different for Ohio Wesleyans men’s ultimate frisbee team, known as the Firedogs.
“It was pretty sad, I mean, last year was my first year so I had really no prior experience to ultimate frisbee before that or the club sport in general, but we didn't really compete at all, we kind of practiced just to practice” said Alex Nordlund, a sophomore.
With very little actual experience in the 2020/2021 academic year, it was difficult for the members of the team to adjust to tournaments and scrimmages with other schools.
This issue was exacerbated by the fact that the team had very few players who had been around long enough to remember what the college club competition was like. One of the few seniors on the team, Spencer Queen, shared his feelings on the state of the team and how he feels leaving the future of the Firedogs in the hands of newer faces.
“I feel really, really good. We’ve had more numbers in the past, but I think now we have more people who are really, really committed to being on the team, and the people we have now, especially our underclassmen, really seem pretty intent on building the team, expanding it, and putting work into it. my freshman year we had bigger numbers, but less energy devoted to frisbee. We’ll be in good hands,” Queen said.
The inexperience of the team was made apparent last weekend, when the Firedogs traveled to Oberlin College to compete in sectionals. Inexperience combined with lower numbers resulted in a last place finish for the firedogs, but despite this, the team feels confident that they will be able to use this year’s experiences to their advantage in the upcoming seasons.
“The players we have now don't really have any context, we have a lot of people who are in their first or their second year of playing so all they've gotten is the opportunity to practice with their teammates and not go into competition. We finally got to taste that at sectionals, and I was very proud of us being able to just complete the tournament, especially since we didn't have a ton of people going. I think it will help propel us moving forward now that people have an idea of what other teams look like, how they handle things, what the level of competition is, etc” said Kyle Murray, the current coach of the firedogs and an OWU alumni.
He makes it clear that although most of the players on the team are inexperienced, he is optimistic about their ability to improve now that things are starting to pick up again in terms of competition.
Although COVID and its many restrictions may have thrown a wrench in the competitive progression of the firedogs, the new and inspired members of the team are ready to emerge from the flames of defeat and carry on into new seasons, hungry for victory.