Walk past Haverford’s Merion Field on any given weekday afternoon during the spring or fall and you will encounter flying discs, a stream of shouts and laughter, and forty-five women clad in bright shirts with big yellow birds on the front. This is “funtensity,” and the women who practice it every day proudly call themselves The Sneetches.
The Sneetches, the Bi-Co all-female ultimate frisbee team, has been a club since 1993. The team is named after the diverse yellow creatures who learn to become friends with one another in Dr. Seuss’ book The Sneetches and Other Stories.
“Ultimate is very much about the “spirit of the game” and I think that the Sneetches exemplify what it means to be an intense and competitive team while also prioritizing fun and sportsmanship during every game,” said Marina Relman HC ’15, one of the senior captains.
This past Sunday, the Sneetches, which split up into “A” and “B” teams every spring, competed in the Pennsylvania DIII Championship Tournament hosted by Franklin and Marshall College. Unlike varsity sports, any school with under 7500 students is considered a DIII team. Thus the ten teams within the PA DIII conference represent a wide variety of schools; from Swarthmore College to Philadelphia University.
Haverford’s A Team defeated Lehigh University to win the conference title, while the B Team won a game for the first time in its history. The A team, which is currently 17-5, was undefeated in its six games over the weekend leading up to the championship game. The A team will compete in the Regional Championships in Westerville, Ohio next weekend.
The Sneetches attribute ‘funtensity’ to their success. “We embody everything that makes ultimate stand out as a sport: raw athleticism, “spirit of the game” (sportsmanship), and frisbee-handling skills,” said Adriana Cvitkovic HC ’16, a junior captain who played competitive ultimate for seven years before coming to Haverford. “That’s funtensity.”
Being a club team allows the Sneetches unique privileges that varsity sports might not have, such as choosing captains by consensus and making up their own practice schedule. But there also are drawbacks.
“One of the main things I’ve noticed when it comes to the disparity between club sports and varsity sports is that we don’t get as much recognition for our accomplishments. Not only do we work incredibly hard and succeed at a national level but we do it without the help of coaches or team managers,” said Relman of the A Team, which placed third at DIII nationals last year.
Romi Laskin HC ‘15, another senior captain, cited less access to a trainer and difficulty getting funding as other downsides to being a club sport.
“There is a club sports trainer who comes once a week for three hours which is new and great this school year, but we would love access to medical opinions more than once a week,” said Laskin. “Our captains also have to spend a lot of time securing funding. Student Council funds most of our season, but it is a burden on them to budget for all club sports.”
While funding is always a question for the Sneetches, the team’s positive effect on its players is not.
“I have been playing with the Sneetches for four years, and it has had an amazing impact on my experience at Haverford, and also on who I am as a person,” said Laskin. “I deeply value our supportive, empowering and fun team.”