Brandolph ’13 Makes Final Cut for Philadelphia Spinners
By Chris Macchi ’12
The Philadelphia area has a new professional sports team and with it, Arcadia University has a new professional athlete on campus. Junior transfer David Brandolph was recently named to the roster of the Philadelphia Spinners (philadelphiaspinners.com), the city’s first professional ultimate disc team, and played in its opening game. The Spinners are one of eight teams competing in the American Ultimate Disc League—the nation’s only professional ultimate league.
The game often mistaken as “that hippie sport where you throw a frisbee to dogs,” as Brandolph puts it, is actually quite the dynamic and exciting. The game borrows elements from rugby, football and soccer, creating an electrifying sport where diving catches and “top plays” are the norm. The field and game play resemble those of football, as teams pass the disc downfield to score in an end zone. However, players are not allowed to run with the disc in their hands, putting a premium on throwing skills and the ability of receivers to run clever routes downfield. Part of the excitement is the fact that in ultimate, there are not established positions like in football; every player has to handle the disc like a quarterback and run cuts like a receiver.
Fittingly, the English major and Secondary Education minor’s ultimate career began in high school where he played basketball and soccer, but needed something to do in the spring of his senior year. It was then that friends convinced him to give the game a try. Since then, he has been playing club ultimate, including two seasons with Southpaw, a Philadelphia club playing at the Elite level. Prior to the development of the AUDL, this Elite level of club was the top of the national pyramid. As a testament to their ability and hard work, Brandolph and his Southpaw teammates finished in the top eight at USA Ultimate Nationals each of the past two years.
Though he is now considered a professional athlete, Brandolph says not much has changed from his old routine. “I still have to go to class and do my homework. Nothing has really changed, except that now we can say that we play a professional sport and we’re professional athletes—andwe have to train like professional athletes.”
The main difference lies in the dedication to training, though he notes that the benefits outweigh the extra training requirements. “The beauty of this sport is that for so long, all of us paid to play it. A lot of money every season was paid to travel to tournaments, paying for jerseys, etc. It’ll be nice to not have to do that, but at the same time, we would obviously play this game for free.” The fun is what got Brandolph playing originally and is also what he hopes to emphasize in anticipation of the Spinners’ first game.
“We get to play in an awesome stadium, and it would be great to have support of people coming out to watch. Ultimate is a really fun sport to watch, and it’s a really fun sport to play. You just need a Frisbee and any kind of field space.”
Though any kind of field space would suffice, Brandolph and the Spinners play their home games at Franklin Field, the historic stadium on the University of Pennsylvania campus that was once home to the Philadelphia Eagles. In their inaugural game as Philadelphia’s newest professional sports team, the Spinners faced defeated the Buffalo Hunters on on April 14 in front of nearly 2,000 fans.
The team plays its next home game against the Connecticut Constitution on Saturday, April 21, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $14. Contact Brandolph for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy Philadelphia Spinners