Rowan Ultimate Frisbee’s Stephen Burner Talks About Being a Part of the Team

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The Rowan Ultimate Frisbee team on the day of a tournament. The team competes in multiple tournaments throughout their season. - Photo / Rowan Ultimate Frisbee

If you want to learn to strategize, push yourself to new limits and get a workout all at the same time, Rowan’s Ultimate Frisbee team may be the sport you’re looking for. 

Ultimate Frisbee is a club sport here at Rowan and is robust and active, with guidelines implemented from other sports. 

“Frisbee is like a game of football and soccer mixed together with a few extra rules,” junior finance major and marketing minor Stephen Burner said. 

Burner was influenced by his older brother to join Rowan’s Ultimate Frisbee team and eventually fell in love with the sport himself after joining during his sophomore year in September 2019.  

“I was always fascinated by the sport and definitely looked up to my brother when he played it. I always thought it was so cool how players could do all kinds of different things with the disc that normally people would think was unimaginable,” Burner said. “I also really wanted to get involved with more clubs and activities at school as well as meet and make a ton of new friends.” 

Roughly 40 people are involved in the Men’s Ultimate Frisbee team every year, leading to many opportunities for students to meet new people and create friendships. Rowan also has a Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team.

Not only can friends be made, but according to Burner, it’s a fun way to spend your time. 

“The best part about the team is how much fun we have,” Burner said. “We have an absolute blast playing each other and traveling to tournaments. You also get killer cardio workouts all while hanging out with a great group of friends.”

Normally, the Men’s Ultimate Frisbee team plays in three tournaments in Vineland. The Frisbee team plays a variety of schools on the East Coast such as Columbia, Cornell and American. A team that Rowan has combated for years is the Rutgers Ultimate Frisbee team, and they are considered Rowan’s biggest rival. 

“These tournaments are usually two to three days long on the weekends and we can play upwards of four games a day. It’s a blast,” Burner said. 

The Ultimate Frisbee team normally practices two nights a week on the soccer field, and during the spring semester they have 6 a.m. conditioning as well as regularly scheduled practices. Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, their Rowan sanctioned practices have been cancelled along with the tournaments. Although the pandemic has made being involved in the team much harder, the team morale has stayed up. 

“It [COVID-19] was a huge blow to our team and recruiting new players,” Burner said. “But we have for sure made the best of it.”

In Ultimate Frisbee, coaches are optional. Rowan’s Ultimate Frisbee team doesn’t have a coach, which makes this team unique from Frisbee teams that you may see at other schools. 

“Here at Rowan, we rely on the experience of our captains and have trust and respect for their word. I feel that this sets us apart from other programs because it teaches our guys resilience, respect and a will to get better,” Burner said. “Ultimate Frisbee games are also self-officiated, and there are unwritten rules of good sportsmanship that gives the sport a good culture.”

He believes the strategy of using a captain instead of a coach has been successful, and that they’ve done a tremendous job at turning teammates into contenders. 

Ultimate Frisbee practices and plays tournaments in both the fall and spring semesters, and as for Burner, he’ll be joining again next year. 

“I would not want to miss one event or opportunity to have fun with my teammates,” Burner said. “I’m really looking forward to making the best out of my last three semesters.”

Rowan’s Ultimate Frisbee team is always looking for new members and everyone is welcome to try out for the team. If you’re interested, contact Burner, or any team member, or visit @rowan.ultimate on Instagram to get in touch. 

For comments/questions about this story, email sports@thewhitonline.com or tweet @TheWhitOnline.

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