Convocation and Reunions 2011: Of ultimate things and frisbees

By Casey Cep ’13 M.Div.

In a week filled with discussions of ultimate things, one small group came together around Ultimate Divinity. No, that’s not a new theological term, but Yale Divinity School’s own ultimate frisbee team. Still enthused from their unexpected 15-11 triumph over Harvard Divinity School’s Veri-TOSS in last year’s first annual game, Ultimate Divinity held a “Game for the Ages” on Monday of Convocation.

Current players joined aging alumni for a pickup game on the Quad, followed by a few ceremonial pictures and an important presentation. Peter Panagore ’86 M.Div. represented the alumni players by presenting the current team with new jerseys based on the original design from the ‘80s, when the team was created.

Frisbee“We’re just glad the game is still being played,” Panagore said, speaking for frisbee alumni from around the country who donated funds to buy the jerseys for the current team. Former players from Connecticut to Hawaii rallied around the opportunity to clothe the current generation with blue jerseys emblazoned with “Ultimate Divinity” on the front and, on the reverse, some words of Frisbee wisdom handed down by late Professor of Old Testament R. Lansing Hicks: “It's not just a game—it's a way of life.”

Describing the spirit that animated the original team, Panagore said: “We worked together better than most churches do. We built community, and burned off steam.”

His description was echoed by Hayley Johnson ’12 M.A.R., who said frisbee is a mindful activity that allows her “to compete and excel, without being malicious.” Johnson, who played in last year’s game against Harvard, looks forward to playing again this spring when Ultimate Divinity takes on Veri-TOSS once again.

Up for grabs will be the gilded trophy Harvard handed over to Yale last year. Until then, that trophy stays happily in New Haven, where it can be seen in the YDS Common Room. On Monday of Convocation week, though, it gleamed brightly in the sunshine as a dozen enthusiasts and supporters commandeered the Quad for a “Game for the Ages.”

For any frisbee fans who could not make this year’s reunion, Panagore encourages them to look for the Ultimate Divinity Facebook Page where they can order their own jersey and connect with other players.

Posted: 11/06/2011