Iowa City Metallic Wings: untraditional, not unpopular

3 boys divulge into their knowledge of the non-traditional sport Ultimate frisbee.

Emma Miller
The whole Metallic Wings team poses for a picture after a game.

You are walking across the courtyard as the cool Spring breeze hits your face. Suddenly, you see a white and orange disc whiz past your head. “I got it!” Someone calls as they jump in the air to catch the frisbee. As one of the less popular sports at West High, the Iowa City Wings are a tight knit group of friends working hard to make it to the national competition this year. The Wings are currently ranked 25th in the high school frisbee teams in the nation and have won four state champion titles in a row.

Although the team is strong, many people have negative misconceptions about ultimate frisbee as a whole. “I’ve heard people say ‘why are they throwing a dog toy around?’ but to the people who play it means a lot because it’s our passion,” said Ethan Upchurch ‘17. Upchurch has been on Wings for 2 years and wanted a change from traditional high school sports such as track.  Shortly after Upchurch joined the team, Cole Davis ‘17 also decided to join.

“There’s a spirit to the game. It’s not all about competing. It’s about being fair and having the ‘swag’.””

— Ethan Upchurch '17

Since frisbee is such a competitive sport, it’s not just about getting the final point or the best catch. “I think its non-traditional since its self-regulated. We are the refs which means the scores are based on what you saw and your own opinion.” Said Erik Smith 17′, 2 year member of Wings. Student refs are the biggest difference between frisbee and other sports. It can make it more competitive for the teams as they don’t want to get called out on an unfair foul. Each team has more power than they would in sports like football or soccer. The game itself includes 2 final scores: the final score of points and the spirit score. “The spirit score is pretty important. It shows your knowledge of the sport and your ‘aura’ as a teammate. We normally lose the spirit [score] because we are from West High Best High, so we get really competitive.” Upchurch.

Other than the actual game being non-traditional, the team’s practices are more laid back than most other sports. “Practices are hard to schedule since we are in the musical. Plus a lot of people do other sports here so practices are just whenever we have people who are free.” Davis. Because of these outside factors, many of the team’s workouts are done individually. “Since our biggest goal is endurance, a lot of us are expected to run or workout on our own.” Upchurch. But when the team is together as a whole, the biggest goal is working together through tough situations. “I think one of my favorite memories was a meet against our rival team Neuqua, Illinois. Ethan flicked the frisbee up wind and I caught it to tie the game.” said Davis.

Although ultimate frisbee may be considered a “nontraditional sport”, the teams still work hard to fulfill their passions. “Frisbee is a whole different community. Its cool to play against teams with the same passions.” said Upchurch . Working hard and showing good sportsmanship is what high school athletics are all about, traditional or not.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email