Every year, while most Goucher students return home for spring break, the Ultimate Frisbee team instead packs their bags for an ultimate frisbee tournament down in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Called “High Tide”, the tournament is the definitive highlight of the frisbee year. The tournament takes place over spring break with the Open Team for male-identifying students and the Femme Team for female-identifying students playing against the male and female equivalent teams from other colleges and universities. Both Goucher teams are also open to non-binary students who can choose whichever team for which they want to play.
The High Tide tournament is not a typical frisbee tournament. Jonathan “Guts” Jefferson ’19, a captain of the Open Team explains:
“…It’s longer than a normal tournament, which is just two days on a weekend, but this tournament gives you four days of playing. [The High Tide tournament] gives you a lot more experience…and it’s a great place where you can face teams that want to have fun as well as have a high level of competition.”
There is also a critical component of team bonding at High Tide. Elysia “Piglet” Hempel ’19, one of two captains of the Femme Team, was asked by the Q about the role of team collaboration and team spirit at High Tide. Hempel elaborated:
“I think High Tide is one of those places where people really recognize and understand what ‘Spirit of the Game’ means…we stick to each other and support each other through all of the different things that we do. We are a team that is a family and family that is a team.”
“Spirit of the Game” is an idea that is found exclusively within frisbee. Unlike other in other sports, Ultimate Frisbee is self-officiated and relies on players to call their own fouls and to play fair. There is an atmosphere around good sportsmanship through congratulating other teams on well-executed plays and learning from each other. Both Hempel and Jefferson explained that there is more emphasis placed on playing hard with effort rather than on playing with skill.
The High Tide tournament is also an environment for rookie team members to be given time and experience playing. There were several new players to the Ultimate Frisbee team who had never previously been to a High Tide frisbee tournament. Ana “Splitz” Brown ’22 is a first-year student who had never played frisbee prior to joining the team for the spring semester. Brown explained her experience at High Tide playing for the Femme Team:
“I was a first-year, so my main experience was mainly trying to bond with everyone… [I think] I got to know everyone better, a better level than just practicing with them…I learned it’s really important to have a close group you can trust and now I know I have support after spending a week with them.”
It was also the first time at High Tide for sophomore Tsivi “Tsivi-che” Laurence ’21, who also played for the Femme Team. When asked about what she had learned, Laurence responded:
“I really wasn’t that close to very many people before. Afterwards, I felt like everyone had my back, we were all much closer, and we could communicate better…We all had a better understanding of each other’s boundaries and what needed as people and what we needed as friends.”
The same experiences as a rookie player for the Goucher Ultimate Frisbee seemed to translate to the Open Team as well. First-year Elijah Haller ’22 detailed his memories from his first High Tide tournament:
“I had been to many tournaments in high school, but it had always been stricter…but it was more relaxed…We had a lot team bonding together but it was also a more of an opportunity to make more personal connections with people I hadn’t spent as much time with at school.”
This year’s High Tide tournament took place from March 16 through March 24 over spring break. The Frisbee team is open to all student regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, gender, or skill and runs in two seasons in the fall and spring semesters. The team prides itself on being a welcoming family which strives to compete at the highest level possible. Tournaments such as High Tide look to promote long-lasting friendships, foster healthy competitive relationships, and to create found memories for the teams who take part.
April 22nd, 2019.
Minor punctuation edits were made and names added to the group photo.