The spirit of the team


Carli Godorhazy (Senior)

Westerville North students show dedication after their Frisbee tournament. Everyone is showing their unity.

Sophie Bordron (Senior), News Editor

   What allegedly started with Yale students throwing pie tins around campus in 1940, is making its way into Westerville North. Westerville North is home to the ultimate frisbee team—The Westerville Airbenders. Ultimate frisbee in high school is a self-officiated, non-contact sport, and is run through the Columbus High School League.

   Matthew Whistle, an engineering teacher at Westerville North, has been the ultimate frisbee head coach for almost five years.

   “A really big thing about ultimate is that it puts the game in the player’s hands. They have to take a lot more responsibility in knowing the rules,” Whistle said.

   The goal of the game is to throw a frisbee from one end zone to the other in order to score. As the two teams play against each other, the players are not allowed to touch their opponents, only the frisbee. 

   Due to other schools not having ultimate frisbee teams, the Airbenders are made up of students from across Columbus, including all three Westerville city schools and Gahanna high schools. 

   Max Lee (12) has been playing with the Airbenders for three years, alongside his two brothers.

   “The end zone system is very similar [to football]. The major difference is you’re not allowed to run when you have the frisbee,” Lee said. 

   Asa Knapp, is a high school junior and is home schooled. Knapp has played ultimate frisbee for five years and with the Airbenders for three. 

   “It’s very easy to pick up and [students] should come out and play…The people and the spirit of the game [sets ultimate frisbee apart from other sports]. We try to really support each other…I’ve gotten to meet a lot of amazing people,” Knapp said. 

   Many things set ultimate frisbee apart from other sports, one of which is the culture. At the end of the game, the teams hand out “spirit awards” to players on the opposing team who best exemplify the spirit of the game. Usually these awards are small tokens of appreciation like candy or bracelets.

   “It’s kind of a goofy, hippie game. We’re just being silly, everybody is just trying to have fun,” Whistle said. “Everybody likes to get better and everybody likes to feel like they belong.”

   This year the team has started off their season undefeated, beating Bishop Hartley, Gahanna, Walnut Ridge, Olentangy Berlin, and Upper Arlington. Similar to other school sports, the Airbenders will participate in playoffs following the end of their regular season.

   “We’re planning on winning the city tournament, or at least second [place] and then advancing to States,” Lee said.

   Although the team has high hopes for the season, their main focus is improving and growing as a team.

   “My goal is for everybody that comes out to have fun,” Whistle said.

   Besides ultimate frisbee, Lee runs track, has a part-time job, and participates in other clubs.

   “It’s actually difficult [balancing everything] because track and frisbee [overlap] a lot but I try to prioritize frisbee over track, ” Lee said, “It’s a low stress environment and an easy going sport.”

   “I think [in] Columbus, it would benefit hundreds if not thousands of kids. I think it’s a great way to spend time, stay in shape, and make friends. I think it’s done a lot for the kids that do it,” Whistle said.

Upcoming games for the Westerville Airbenders.