Every so often, a new school policy or plan released by Lakeside administrators embroils the entire student body in fervent discussion. Luck-based outdoor trips, Trace app e-dating, and the upcoming 2022-23 sonnet schedule: the topics of interest range from the silly to the serious. This latest decision is no different–indeed, it has the whole campus up in arms.
Just a month after Lakeside’s ultimate frisbee teams officially joined the sports roster, the Athletics Department reported its removal from the list. The move was decided at a midnight Zoom call between Director of Athletics Chris Hartley and Head of School Bernie Noe on March 24th. The day after, an email was sent to all ultimate team members, citing “departmental financial issues” in the decision and asking everyone to “keep quiet” until a more detailed public announcement could be made.
To no one’s surprise, the ultimate athletes have not kept quiet. Less than an hour after the email was sent, Tatler received a record 861 poll responses from various accounts, each completely blank except for an angry rant submitted under the ‘Grateful Lion’ section. “This decision was UNFAIR and had no input from the ultimate team,” wrote one anonymous junior across 39 responses. “It’s just another example of Lakeside’s long-standing tradition of athletics bias and discrimination,” another complained 77 times.
Outside of the immediate members of the ultimate team, several students have expressed disappointment. Others said that the continued existence of the Lakeside’s ultimate frisbee club was nothing out of the ordinary. “It’s always been this way, unfortunately,” a senior told us. “Since the beginning, Lakeside clubs have been thwarted from achieving their stated purpose: debate can’t debate, and ultimate can’t frisbee.” When asked for their name, the senior responded, “Not Ethan D.”
We sat down with Coach Hartley to hear more on the issue. He explained that reversing ultimate’s status was not a decision he enjoyed making; rather, due to funds being diverted from the Athletics Department, there was no choice. (Various sources point an accusing finger at the cost of mandatory plastic surgery for students.) “I know I said that ultimate was in, 100%. Following our re-evaluation, however, we found errors in our initial estimate. It was actually 99%, ha ha!” Outside the conference room, captains of the boys ultimate team held picket signs and paced around in jerseys and skirts. Commenting on the protest, Mr. Hartley told us that “it’s been going on all week.”
Demonstrations like this one have popped up around campus. The quad has become a landmine of tents, each with ultimate members who haven’t gone home for nearly seven days. Before the end of the week, the girls ultimate team had even organized a new inclusion to the WCC: a booth selling boba and baked goods, plastered with signs screaming “FUND ULTIMATE”. From the way their sales are going, perhaps the financial crisis behind the cancellation of ultimate may be resolved soon.
On an unrelated note, the Athletics department seems to have been inspired to improve their winter sports offerings. Barely a week rafter ultimate was canceled, a new promotional email went out to the student body: “While ultimate will no longer be a sports program, Lakesiders will still have things to look forward to next year. We’re pleased to announce that bobsled, speed skating, downhill skiing, and figure skating will be joining the list of Lakeside’s sports programs, and encourage you to sign up if you are interested.”