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Ul(Tully)mate player: Daniel Tully finds a new field

Karen Funaro ’16 , Assistant News Editor
October 29, 2013
Filed under Fall 2013 Interview Edition

Daniel Tully, ’16, is not your average athlete. He does not play baseball, basketball, or football. He does not have coaches to tell him what to do, nor are there referees to watch over the games. His team practices in the dark.

Tully is part of the Saint Joseph’s University’s Ultimate Frisbee squad.

Tully was not always a Frisbee player. He played rugby and ran track in high school, but when he got to college he wanted to try something new.

“I love the fact that Frisbee is so different,” he said. “That’s why I do it and that’s why it’s fun. It’s not something people do every day …  I personally think that it’s a lot more challenging than a lot of other sports because there are no pauses between plays. It’s almost like football, except without a break.”

Tully’s position on the team is the cutter. Ultimate games are typically played to 13 points and it is the cutter’s job to score points by catching the Frisbee in the end zone. The game is extremely fast-paced. There is only one in-game break at halftime, which occurs when one team scores eight points. Games can take up to a maximum of two hours.

The team practices this process and many other skills late at night, from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., sometimes literally in the dark. The field is booked until that time each night, and it is quite common for the lights to already be shut off by the time the players take the field.

“I think the whole game is a lot of fun, but I guess practicing in the dark makes it more entertaining, more of a challenge, and makes for a funny story,” Tully said. “We kind of just have fun with it. So when people say to me ‘You practice till one in the morning,’ I always go, ‘Yeah and in the dark too! Literally without lights!’ But it would be nice if they left the lights on.”

Tully’s lighthearted demeanor is also noticeable off the field. Describing himself as a “very laid-back person who enjoys making people laugh,” Tully considers himself to be a “glorified prankster” who will “go a long way for a good laugh.” For example, he enjoys scaring his roommates on a regular basis just to see their reactions.

“It’s like my own little game where I try scaring my roommates as much as possible by popping out of places,” he said.

Tully’s laid-back personality is helpful when playing Ultimate, especially when it comes to interacting with other teams. Unlike many sports, Ultimate does not have referees, leaving players to settle disputes themselves. If you are not willing to be relaxed, Tully says, there can be issues.

“You have to be laid-back and understanding, especially when it comes to fouls,” he said. “There are no referees, so we are responsible for calling our own fouls. If you are not understanding and laid-back, you won’t have fun and that really takes away from the whole point of the game.”

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