Holliston Ultimate Frisbee and The Season that Wasn’t

Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer
Covid-19 put a kibosh on Holliston’s Ultimate Frisbee season this year, but athletes are making the best of it.
Issue Date: 
June, 2020
Article Body: 

During their pre-season meeting in February, Holliston Ultimate Frisbee Coach Chris Levasseur and his team were in good spirits about the upcoming season, despite having a somewhat younger team. As a Coach, Levasseur was psyched to get onto the field and see what all the new athletes could contribute to the team this spring.
“I felt that last year was a rebuilding season where we endured a lot of growing pains,” the Panther Coach said. “I was really excited to see what the season would hold, but when we were told that the season was suspended, I remained hopeful we’d have at least a shortened season at some point.”
As a teacher in another school district, Levasseur didn’t get to interact personally with his athletes. All he could do was have them continue working on their running and possibly throwing the disc around with a sibling or parent. He made it crystal clear to the captains that they could not long hold practice until the MIAA deemed it ok to do so.
“Team sports like ultimate frisbee are hard to get ready on your own outside of cross training,” Levasseur said. “I eventually told them to put some targets around their yards and work on their throwing techniques, like they’d do if we were in practice throwing to a teammate.”
As a first-year senior captain, Ian Shaw was hoping that he would be able to help the younger athletes with their skills this coming season. Unfortunately, he was limited to communication only through their Facebook group. Prior to the restrictions set forth by the MIAA the team was participating in small pick up games, honing their skills for the upcoming season.
“The week before everything went down, we were all working out at captains’ practices and feeling very excited about the season,” Shaw said. “Then, within a span of a week, we lost everything. With the suspension of the season, we knew that it was going to be a short season with limited games. We never thought we’d lose the entire season.”
As things continued to progress and no word was coming from the Governor nor the MIAA office, Levasseur was feeling anxious about a season at all.
“It was not a good sign as things went on,” the Holliston Coach said. “Eventually Governor Baker made the announcement that no one wanted to hear, that the spring seasons were cancelled. It was obviously a big disappointment, and I felt really bad for the seniors.”
According to the Coach, a couple of his athletes had spent time attending the National Ultimate Training Camp in Amherst with Tiina Booth. Booth, the UMASS Amherst Ultimate Frisbee Coach, is considered one of the Countries best coaches in the sport. The athletes attending the camp were excited to bring back to Holliston what they learned in Amherst and share it with the team. Unfortunately, they never got the chance.
“I was looking forward to the seniors bringing in an institute of knowledge to the newer younger athletes, but that has all been lost due to the situation at hand,” Levasseur said.
In addition to Shaw, who the Coach considered a vocal leader that is willing to help anyone that needed his help, Holliston also had returning seniors in Nico Doyle, Brendan Irons, Henry Tate, and Matt Whiting. Senior Jacob Maxwell was hoping to play his first season on the ultimate frisbee team this spring.
Last season, Doyle tore his meniscus and was not able to take to the field and help his Panther teammates. Despite not being able to play, he did attend almost every single practice to support the team. Early this year, he found out he had to have another surgery and would once again be out for his senior campaign.
“Nico embraces the spirit of the game and weas looking forward to playing this season, but with his injury he was going to become our team manager,” the Coach said. “Although he wouldn’t be able to play, he was very excited about doing anything that he could to help this team become a more cohesive unit. He would have been a huge help had we had the season.”
While Levasseur is hoping that some of his athletes go on to play ultimate in college, he is also hoping that all the new athletes that signed up to take on the challenge this year return to the team next spring. Shaw, who is going to attend the University of Hartford, will continue to play ultimate frisbee on a club team.
“Having lost the season means I won’t be in the best of shape when I get to college, but I’m only going to be playing on a club team,” he said. “I feel bad for all the kids who are moving on to play on the next level. I am also hoping that all the young talent that were going to play on the team this year comes back next year and works hard at returning Holliston to a top team.”
While it hasn’t been set in stone, Levasseur has heard that Boston Ultimate Disc Alliance (BUDA) is trying to put together a fall season, but the Panther Coach doesn’t see it being fruitful, especially in Holliston where a lot of athletes that play frisbee play other sports, especially in the fall.