GUM Blog

Mixing It Up: How Playing Mixed Improved My Womxn’s Ultimate Game

My name is Emily Komie, and I am a recent graduate from Colorado College, where I had the immense pleasure of playing ultimate Frisbee. During my time in college, I played for both our womxn’s team, Strata, and our school’s inaugural mixed team, Wastrabi. In this post, I will talk about my experience playing in both formats and how those opportunities have contributed to my overall game.

Upon arriving at college, I quickly fell in love with ultimate through playing with my incredible womxn’s team. Learning and loving the game of ultimate alongside some of the most inspiring womxn I have ever met was an integral part of my college experience. Coming from a small liberal arts school, our team prided itself on being able to compete with and even beat some of the larger state schools we faced at tournaments. We were, and still are, a small but mighty team focused on lifting each other up with positivity and love.

Going into the fall of my senior year, I was given the opportunity to captain our college’s first-ever mixed ultimate team. As a mixed captain, I was hoping to carry some of the magic I felt from playing womxn’s into this new format, and I knew that my co-captain from the men’s team was hoping to do the same. Combining the names of our men’s (Wasabi) and womxn’s (Strata) teams, we aptly named our new team Wastrabi. Thus, a movement was born!

After practicing once a week for a few weeks and attending a lighthearted mixed tournament in Fort Collins named Fright Flight, our team attended USA Ultimate’s inaugural South College Mixed Regional Championship over Thanksgiving break in Dallas, Texas. Overall, the tournament was a great experience for our scrappy crew of 16 players, filled with growth and celebration. We were greeted with extremely windy (you could hold the disc flat against your palm vertically) conditions during pool play on Saturday, but we managed to go 3-0! Needless to say, we were extremely hyped headed into the championship bracket on Sunday. Luckily, we were greeted with much less windy conditions going into our first game against Oklahoma State. Unfortunately, my weekend ended on a sour note when I broke my collarbone from colliding with an opposing male player. Ouch! Pick! As I headed to the emergency room, our team wrapped up the rest of our games and ended up finishing in eighth place. Even though the result wasn’t what we had hoped for, we were extremely proud of the respect our team exuded for one another and this great sport we get to play. Also, we were proud of the way we incorporated all of the players on our team, not just working the disc down the field through the men – a trend we saw far too often with teams we played against.

Reflecting on my college ultimate Frisbee career, I feel immense gratitude for the opportunities I was given to play in the different formats. I have no doubt in my mind that my game grew from my time playing across the gender line, and I also gained six screws in my collarbone (#bionic). From learning to play with a broad range of capabilities/styles to understanding the different ways that teammates communicate with one another, the depth that playing mixed adds to one’s ultimate IQ is palpable. I think this depth can only add to womxn’s and men’s regular season play, and I hope that more players will consider playing in the mixed format in college and beyond.