Emerson Skunks compete in ‘Huck for Hope’ charity tournament

The college’s ultimate disc club, the Emerson Skunks, participated in the sixth annual Huck for Hope charity tournament on Sunday at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Skunks and four other teams—Harvard University, MIT, and two from Boston University—each paid $200 to enter Huck for Hope. The teams’ admission costs pay for field space and equipment, and the remaining amount gets donated to a charity of the winning team’s choice. The Skunks lost to a club team from Harvard, the winners of the tournament, in the semifinals.

The Skunks became a club sport four years ago and now have 22 players on the roster. The team tries to practice up to four days per week and typically enters tournaments each weekend during the spring season. Since the team does not receive funding from the college, the Skunks pay their expenses with GoFundMe donations and out-of-pocket money from players and parents.

Junior co-captain Kate Nelson said she enjoys the challenge of leading an independent program in a sport she started playing in high school.

“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Nelson said. “It’s so hard to organize everything, and we have no support, so it’s literally on us.”

Nelson said although the ultimate disc teams typically play less competitively during Huck for Hope, the Skunks always seek improvement on the field.

“Ultimate comes across as being super fun and chill because that’s the vibe people give off,” Nelson said. “Your spirit of the game is really important in ultimate, but we’re also here to play, here to win, become better athletes, and become better players.”

Sophomore co-captain Cam Barth said balancing his roles as a friend, a coach, and player is his favorite part about being a captain.

“I enjoy the interpersonal stuff,” Barth said. “It can be tough to be a captain and still be friends with players because you have to get on them once in a while. I feel like it’s giving me a lot of organizational experience for when I go looking for a job.”

The Skunks brought the most players out of all the teams at the tournament. MIT junior Helen Li helped coordinate the tournament and said the friendly atmosphere draws teams to Huck for Hope each year.

“It’s nice to get people together and play disc on a nice spring day,” Li said. “A lot of the season is super competitive so it’s nice to just play some mixed disc and have some fun. Of course, it goes to charity, and I think that’s why people come to play every year.”  

Nelson said another reason she appreciates ultimate disc is because of the accepting atmosphere within the sport. In the Huck for Hope tournament, each team must include an equal number of male and female-identifying players on the field during games.

“It’s the most inclusive sport I’ve ever played as far as gender goes,” Nelson said. “It’s the most fun and challenging sport I’ve ever played. It’s something I think everyone in the world should take more seriously.”

Sports Editor Aaron J. Miller could not edit this story due to a conflict of interest.

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