I am a proud member of Oberlin’s Men’s Ultimate Frisbee team, the Flying Horsecows. In our first tournament of first semester at the end of the first week of school, I tore my ACL and medial meniscus. To make a long story short, this meant the end of Ultimate for me for the whole school year.
I couldn’t possibly stand to stay away from the guys who had been a fixture in my life at Oberlin since orientation. With the blessing of the Horsecow’s captains, I decided to coach the B team (the equivalent of JV). Teaching Ultimate proved to be almost as fulfilling as playing it, though it was hard to be out on the ultimate pitch and not running down a floating disc.
Towards the end of the fall season, the A and B teams planned to have an optional training practice together, so I, unable to train for anything, stayed in my room to plug away at some end-of-the-semester work. About ten minutes after my roommate (also a Horsecow) left for practice, I heard a knock on my door. I opened it to find every single Horsecow who had come out to practice that day staring back at me.
The team shuffled into my room silently, refusing to respond to my confused queries. Once they had all entered, I was presented with a beautiful letterman’s jacket, custom-made with a Flying Horsecow on the back and “Coach Herrine” written on the sleeve. They said it was to thank me for staying with the team, as if I would have had it any other way.
The Flying Horsecows are about more than playing Ultimate. They’re about making everybody love to play Ultimate, even when you can’t. That’s what a college Ultimate team should be.