Every Friday afternoon at Erickson Field, rain or shine, UMBC’s frisbee players gather for their “ultimate” experience.
Ultimate frisbee has been around for decades. But according to USA Ultimate, the national governing body for the sport, it remains one of the fastest growing sports in the world, with more than 800,000 people playing regularly each year. UMBC has fielded an ultimate team (“Booya”) since the 1990s, and players wearing hoodies emblazoned with the team’s trademark pink elephants are a regular sight on campus.
Until recently, UMBC’s Booya ultimate frisbee team was a co-ed experience, with men and women playing together. But last autumn, the team’s six female players formed their own team (“Shazam Blue”) under the auspices of Without Limits Ultimate – an offcampus organization that promotes women’s participation in the sport.
Dozens of women at UMBC have joined Shazam Blue, and the team now competes in a local women’s league. Shazam Blue captain Kim Haines’12 says that her first experiences with ultimate led to her deep involvement with UMBC’s team.
“The people who played really won my heart,” Haines says. “Experience didn’t matter as much as wanting to improve.” Since becoming captain, she adds, cultivating that same spirit among her teammates is a top priority.
And despite the formation of a women’s team, that co-ed spirit persists in ultimate at UMBC. Booya and Shazam Blue still mingle at each other’s practices and participate in pre-tournament traditions involving pink hair dye and mohawks before they divide for actual competition.
— Monica Berron ’13
Aspiring actors and videographers often yearn to be discovered. But three recent UMBC students and alumni aren’t waiting around for a big break. They’ve made their own success by collaborating on a comedy web series called Monday Wednesday Friday (www.facebookwastaken.com).
The skits are performed by former UMBC student Darrell Britt-Gibson (who also appeared as “O-Dogg” in HBO’s The Wire) and Joe King ’09, mechanical engineering, and produced by Tal Levitas ’08, political science and media and communications studies. Each episode is a freestanding story, but there are running themes to the sketches, with Britt-Gibson and King appearing as pilots, sportscasters, CIA agents and even wild animals.
“For the animal shoots, we had to be in make-up for twelve hours,” quips King.
The team for Monday Wednesday Friday is based largely in Los Angeles, the better to be close to the entertainment industry. The series started in January and recently wrapped up its third season of videos, but they are already drawing in other UMBC alumni to the process – including Adam Kurtz ’09, visual arts, who designed the show’s Tumblr website.
The Monday Wednesday Friday trio is also garnering kudos from even better-known UMBC alumni such as Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman ’97, history, who gave the show a shout out in a recent appearance at Auburn University.
Levitas says that the Monday Wednesday Friday team wants “to create sharp, funny comedy that is written, acted and produced well. We don’t want to present slow, long performances and we’re really serious about tackling this in a new modern medium.”
— Monica Berron ’13