Dauphinee finds her ultimate thrill
On most college campuses, the familiar games of football, basketball, and soccer can be found, but there is another sport that is continually gaining momentum - ultimate Frisbee.
Ultimate has an extensive club network and is played throughout the world in youth, collegiate and adult leagues. Players use terms like throws, hucks, stack it up (an offensive formation), and lay-out D's (diving defensive block) to describe this fast-paced, no-contact sport.
Former islander Amanda Dauphinee is a member of the San Francisco Bay Area club team Fury and will be heading to the Ultimate Frisbee World Championships in Vancouver next year.
She started playing Ultimate as a sophomore at the University of Rhode Island after trying "most other sports," joked Dauphinee. She started on URI's club team, called RIUT (Rhode Island Ultimate Team), which has since grown from one small squad to three larger teams.
When asked what she loves about Ultimate Frisbee Dauphinee said, "It is a fantastic community. Everybody knows everybody and the competition is intense." Dauphinee has also been co-coaching the Stanford Women's B-team for the last two years, and is just heading into her third season.
Dauphinee grew up in Burrillville and spent many summers in Jamestown working at Slice of Heaven and the golf course. At Burrillville High School she played field hockey, golf, and was a founding member of the school track team. She rowed crew her freshman year at URI but missed the running games, so sophomore year she joined RIUT and never looked back. "I love it!" she exclaimed.
After graduating from URI in 2002, Dauphinee headed west to work at Stanford University as a project coordinator studying tobacco advertising and its effect on middle school kids. Upon arrival in California she tried out for the Fury and made the team in 2003 after a year on the practice team.
The team won the 2006 UPA (Ultimate Players Association) Club Championship title. They returned to Sarasota, Fla. to defend their title on Oct. 25. In the quarterfinal match against Backhoe, Dauphinee was instrumental in helping her 23-member squad advance to the semis with a score of 15-7.
The final game was a re-match between the Fury and Seattle-based Riot who have been rivals since 2002. The Fury were prepared to defend their national title and won by a landslide with a score of 15-6 to capture the crown.
As the winner of the 2007 Club Championships, they have earned a spot in the World Flying Disc Federation World Championships in Vancouver in Aug. 2008. The Worlds are held every four years, with the prior year being the qualifying year. Dauphinee went to Fin- land for the Worlds in 2004.
Ultimate Frisbee is a fast-paced game of 7 vs.7, which combines the running of soccer with the passes and strategy of football. There is non-stop movement and plays are made by throwing the disc among teammates. The game is played on a football-sized field and the object is to catch the Frisbee in the opponent's end zone. A player must stop running once the disc is caught but may pivot and pass to any other players on the field. Unlike other sports, the game is monitored and refereed by the players themselves in what they call the Spirit of the Game, which promotes fair play and sportsmanship. According to Dauphinee, "Ultimate is getting really big in Europe because it teaches kids sportsmanship and how to resolve conflicts. In soccer there are cheap shots and you can't do that in Frisbee because you can't get away with it."
The game is typically played to 15 points and usually lasts for 90 minutes. A heavier and sturdier disc is used, not the recreational type. In 2001 Ultimate Frisbee was added to the World Games, however it is not an Olympic sport yet.
When asked to sum up her thoughts on Ultimate Frisbee Dauphinee replied, "It is super competitive, you devote your life to it, and it is so much fun."
For more information on the sport, visit www.upa.org.