Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Chicago Union and Kaylee Kowalski

How did I go so long without hearing of the Chicago Union Ultimate Frisbee team? The team debuted in 2013, but I just saw my first game a couple weeks ago.
The Union play in the Ultimate Frisbee Association, a league comprised of 24 teams across the country. It is pro frisbee (meaning players are paid).
My first impressions was great. The entering process was easy and fans were greeted by a live band. Playing on Northwestern's lakefront athletic fields gives a beautiful backdrop for the game. All of the seats face east, allowing for those views, while keeping the sun behind the fans. 
Beyond the far end zone is a huge area featuring merchandise, a kids' zone, a few dining options and a few other adult games. Of special note are the several nice options for gear.
The game is played 7-on-7 on an 80 yard field. There are four 12 minute quarters. Play starts with an opening throw. Then the receiving team has unlimited time and plays (throws) to get the frisbee into the end zone. Play stops when a score is made, a frisbee is dropped or intercepted or a penalty occurs (such as running with the frisbee). 
This game saw the Union hosting the Madison Radicals. By game time, the stands were filled (more than 1,000 fans), mostly with Union fans, but a few cheeseheads were there, too. 
The Radicals scored in 18 seconds to start the game. The Union responded about 30 seconds later. Then scoring slowed a bit. The union won 20-19 to move into sole possession of first place in the UFA Central Division.
I moved around throughout the night to get views from everywhere. At one point, I found myself sitting next to the emcee (also in-game entertainment coordinator) Kaylee. Never one to waste a selfie opportunity, I politely asked and got a very energetic pic.
Energetic is a great way to describe the whole night. Kaylee led the crowd, but they seemed loud all on their own. The players have to be full o energy to keep going that long. It's quite an aerobic workout.
This was my first game, but it won't be my last. Sat tuned for more coverage of the Chicago Union.
Go to for more info on the team and league.  I wrote more in depth about the actual game at Chicago Union Ultimate Frisbee on
Kaylee Kowalski and me in Evanston, IL-June 2024.

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