Team Player: Ben Feldman
Ben Feldman x’10 always knew he wanted to come to Wisconsin. Both of his parents and his sister are Badgers, making it, he says, “kind of a family tradition.” When he began playing Ultimate Frisbee as a sophomore at his high school in Minnetonka, Minnesota, Feldman also knew he wanted to play the sport for as long as possible.
Luckily, his family tradition and favorite pastime complement each other well. Wisconsin’s Ultimate Frisbee club, the Hodags, is among the nation’s best. The team has qualified for the national tournament the past nine seasons and has won the championship three times.
Ultimate Frisbee is a game in which a team tries to pass a Frisbee down a soccer-sized field without running if holding the disk. The UW sponsors the sport, but only to a certain extent. Feldman estimates that although the team receives a few thousand dollars in support, each player shells out around $2,000 out of pocket each year to cover travel expenses and tournament entries.
However, the costs and time commitment — a few practices a week with weekend tournaments held as far away as California — are all worthwhile, Feldman says, especially with nationals coming to Madison (technically, Verona) in 2010.
Feldman, a receiver or “cutter” on the team, says that all the hard work they’ve done this year will pay off if they can win a championship in front of their own fans. “It’s very motivational for the team, knowing that what we’re working for during the season is going to be on our home turf,” he says.
Although being part of the Hodags has consumed much of Feldman’s college life, he’s grateful. “My whole college experience has revolved around the team, and my memories from college are going to be what I did on the Hodags,” he says. “It’s going to be an experience and a regimen that I’m going to miss.”
Published in the Spring 2010 issue