In Defense of Ultimate Frisbee

Despite what many of its most faithful practitioners tell you, Ultimate Frisbee is not a sport, and it is precisely for this reason that you should play it.

The great political philosopher Eric Voegelin argues that humans exist in a fundamental tension between two poles of existence. We experience both finitude and infinity-immanence and transcendence. Borrowing from Plato, Voegelin calls this permanent state of tension the metaxy. For Voegelin, this tension is not only irresolvable, but the very horizon of possibility for human experience. To be human is to embrace this tension, to live within it. Voegelin argues that any attempt to dissolve this tension-to gravitate toward either one of the poles-is to be fundamentally disassociated from human consciousness. Any attempt to escape the metaxy is an attempt to not live in reality, to not be human.

Ultimate Frisbee, more than any other athletic activity embraces the metaxy. It is half way between a mere game and a sport with a capital “S.” To be an Ultimate player is to embrace the fundamental human experience. The Ultimate player refuses to live in ideology, in an incomplete reality. Instead, she leans into the tension; she uses it as a source of strength and enjoyment. So, while the Ultimate player may not enjoy locker rooms, athletic trainers, or even field space, she does enjoy not being disillusioned.

If you are interested in finding out what it means to be human in your athletic pursuits please send an email to We can’t wait to welcome you into the metaxy.

Nathan Farris is President of the Eastern Ultimate Club

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