Spin it, wing it

ULTIMATE FRISBEE /// Acorn Sports Island Exclusive



SWEET SNAG—Above, Oak Park High senior honors students Eitan Zarin, left, and Hemansh Richhariya battle for the frisbee during a lunchtime game of Ultimate Frisbee on April 19 on the “Great Lawn.” At left, Richhariya passes the disc. Photos by MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers

SWEET SNAG—Oak Park High senior honors students Eitan Zarin, left, and Hemansh Richhariya battle for the frisbee during a lunchtime game of Ultimate Frisbee on April 19 on the “Great Lawn.” Photos by MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers

Eitan Zarin wanted to try something new.

Zarin, an Oak Park High senior, brought a frisbee to school one day.

Although ball sports on the “Great Lawn” were forbidden, there was no rule about flying plastic discs. Zarin and his friends started hurling the frisbee.

“We broke the barrier,” Zarin said.

This year, Zarin helped create the Oak Park Ultimate Frisbee Club, which has 45 members. About 15 to 25 students regularly play Ultimate Frisbee or three flags up at lunch on the once barren “Great Lawn.”

“I think it’s a great sport,” said Zarin, club co-president. “It’s quite easy to pick up. It’s a relatively simple game. It only takes a few days to learn how to throw it and catching is relatively easy. . . .

“The sport is on the rise.”

Hemansh Richhariya, an Oak Park senior and club co-president, played pickup basketball at lunch with his friends, including Zarin, during his sophomore year.

“We started playing Ultimate last year. we made it a club this year. It sparked a lot of popularity,” Richhariya said. “It’s fun getting to know more people, connecting with more people than before. . . .

 

Richhariya passes the disc.

“Friendship is built by something you have in common. Playing this sport and having fun, it sparked a friendship with Eitan. Now, it’s like I’ve known him my whole life.”

Richhariya, an honors student with a 3.9 GPA, plans to study biology at the University of Pacific in Stockton. He said he wants to join the Tigers’ Ultimate Frisbee club team in the fall. Richhariya’s twin sisters Ahana and Arana are Medea Creek Middle School students who enjoy playing basketball. The senior Eagle is a big Formula One racing fan.

Samuel Zubin, an Oak Park senior, is club vice president.

“I really love coming together with these people who have the same interests as me,” said Zubin, a 4.0 GPA honors student who plans to study computer engineering at UC Irvine. “Ultimate Frisbee is an untraditional sport, but it’s really fun. I think everybody should give it a try.”

Club leaders want the sport to prosper after they graduate.

Zarin’s sister, Liora, an Oak Park junior honors student, is club treasurer who trains in taekwondo. Their youngest sister, Meirav, is a talented freshman sprinter on the Eagles’ track and field squad who plays Ultimate Frisbee. Eitan Zarin, a second-degree black belt in taekwondo, also plays the guitar.

SUPER SNACKS—Oak Park’s Eitan Zarin, left, hands out cookies after a game with the Ultimate Frisbee Club. Zarin is bound for the University of Austin in Texas.

SUPER SNACKS—Oak Park’s Eitan Zarin, left, hands out cookies after a game with the Ultimate Frisbee Club. Zarin is bound for the University of Austin in Texas.

Zarin, a 4.3 GPA honors student, will be part of the first class of students at the University of Austin in Texas in the fall. (Editor’s note: Caitlin Flanagan, the best living American writer, is on the university’s board of advisors.) Zarin eventually wants to pursue a career related to math or physics.

Shravan Devraj, Kailan Amber, Komal Tummala, Joshua Siedelman, Daniel Kim, Chase Parker, Jay Gannam, Jason Xie and David Wan are active club members.

The Oak Park Ultimate Frisbee Club started with one simple act—Zarin bringing a Frisbee to school in his backpack.

ELEVATION—Oak Park’s Samuel Zubin leaps to catch the frisbee.

ELEVATION—Oak Park’s Samuel Zubin leaps to catch the frisbee.

“It was really fun. Day after day, week after week, year after year, we kept doing it, “Richhariya said. “I have a really good feeling that the juniors are going to take over the club and shape it into something better. We hope it becomes part of the school’s legacy.”

And here’s the best part: Ultimate Frisbee is for every Oak Park Eagle.

“Anyone who comes to the ‘Great Lawn’ is welcome to join us,” Zarin said.

Sports editor Eliav Appelbaum is on X @EliavAppelbaum