It's about time I did this post!
Before I left for Barcelona I did some research about frisbee in Barcelona. I've ranted and raved about how everyone all over the world should play frisbee because it makes it easy to make new, super awesome, friends. Believe me, this method is tried and true. It worked when I came to Knox, when I went to St. Andrews, and it worked here in Barcelona too. I'm even visiting a girl in Paris who I met while playing frisbee this summer. Frisbee makes the world smaller, and better.
Between orientation and getting lost trying to find the fields, it took me awhile to get my frisbee legs when I first got to Barcelona. But now it's all good. I play pick up once a week, train with a club team (Patatas Bravas), and I've joined a hat league. I'm even going to Santander for Women's Nationals. Everyone I've met has been so welcoming and they've been really patient with my lack of Spanish skills. Playing frisbee in Barcelona is one giant crash course in Spanish. When I first joined, a lot of players weren't back from their summer travels yet, so the group was small and everything was mostly explained in English. I was a little disappointed because I wanted to work on my language skills, but also a little relieved because I could follow along with everything just fine. But this week everyone is back and suddenly everything has been switched to Spanish. Frisbee is sometimes hard to follow in your native language, so imagine learning new drills and playing a full game in a language you're just starting to fully comprehend. It was daunting at first, but now I can understand pretty much everything. Communicating myself is the next problem I'm tackling.
Like I said, everyone is really nice and welcoming. Since I'm not the first study abroad student they've had join the team, they understand that I want to work on my Spanish. They are really patient when we have conversations and are always ready to help with vocab questions and sentence structure. They also take it as an opportunity to practice english. By the end of practice a mix of Spanish, English, French, German, and more, is flying around the field.
Another exciting thing about frisbee in Barcelona is beach ultimate. It's actually a thing here. Like regionals, nationals, and other tournaments are held on the beach. It's more popular than playing on a grass field. I was super excited when I first got here to play frisbee on the beach and work on my tan at the same time, I quickly realized though, that frisbee on the beach is hard work. It's harder to cut and run fast. It was frustrating at first, but now I've gotten used to it. I just keep telling myself how great my legs will look by the end of my time here.
An interesting thing about frisbee here is the age range. I'm one of the youngest players on my team. Frisbee at the college level isn't popular here at all. The majority of the people who play are young, recent college graduates (23-30) who have moved to Barcelona for work. Almost everyone speaks fluent spanish, but it's rare to find someone originally from Spain. Ultimate here is also pretty disorganized. There is a governing body like USA Ultimate but it's less organized. Frisbee is less popular here and less people are frisbee obsessed (you know what I'm talking about). The few people who are truly passionate about frisbee hold the three club teams together here and organize the practices and events. Unfortunately, work has to come first.
I could go on and on about how happy I am that I joined frisbee and how it's opened a whole new range of opportunities while studying abroad, but I feel like this post is long enough as it is. Suffice it to say, I'm so happy that I'm meeting people outside my program and am getting the opportunity to experience the culture outside of the classroom.