‘A change of scenery’
Published 5:56 pm Saturday, March 19, 2016
Chloe Tillman is a freshman at Florida State University with a busy schedule in athletics that takes her from state to state as she competes with her team.
Some might assume she continued on in soccer or basketball, sports she participated in at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, but they would be wrong.
“I’ve pretty much played sports my entire life, and I didn’t want to do soccer or basketball anymore,” Tillman said. “I don’t know why. I just wanted a change of scenery.”
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At an involvement fair at Florida State, Tillman noticed there was a group encouraging girls to come out and play Ultimate Frisbee. Those interested would have to try out, and so Tillman did.
Now, she is a member of the Seminoles Ladies Ultimate Team, a club squad that competes against the club squads that many other colleges have.
Entering the world of Ultimate Frisbee means navigating relatively uncharted territory for Tillman, but a hint of her potential in the sport manifested itself when she was in eighth grade, and her physical education teacher Kim Aston made note of it.
“She was the first to say that I should have been on an Ultimate Frisbee team, because I was pretty decent throwing a disc,” Tillman said.
Aston, who was later her varsity basketball coach, recalled that some of her students in P.E. would have a tough time throwing a Frisbee, but Tillman was an exception.
“Chloe was throwing passes behind her back, bouncing them off the pavement, throwing them between her legs and bouncing them off the pavement, and I was super, super impressed,” Aston said.
Tillman said her only prior experience throwing a Frisbee had been with her dad and uncles at Thanksgiving time.
But given the display of ability in P.E. class, Aston was not surprised that Tillman was picked to be on the Seminoles Ladies Ultimate Team.
“You could just tell — kind of like a Macy Mears — that Chloe could do a little bit of everything,” Aston said.
Mears is a former NSA softball player, basketball player and cross country runner who now plays racquetball at James Madison University.
As for Tillman, “I always called her a Jack-of-all-trades,” Aston said. “So, kids like that sometimes get introduced to sports later in life. I think it’s really cool that she’s been able to go to Florida and been able to stay in shape and continue with athletics.”
After trying out for Ultimate, Tillman went through what was called “The 12 Days of Frisbee,” during which she learned the rules of the game and was taught the different throws by veteran players.
It turned out that she was nicely prepared in key ways for Ultimate Frisbee by her experience in basketball and soccer.
“It’s probably one of the best transition sports from those two, because it has the defense and formations of basketball, but it’s a lot of the endurance and running of soccer,” Tillman said. “So, I actually kind of used both skillsets from both sports. The transition was pretty easy.”
She noted there are two roles that players can fill — handlers and cutters. She started off as a cutter, who is responsible for running and making cuts to get open in order to receive the disc and move it up the field.
Toward the end of the season, she has spent some time as a handler, who, similar to a point guard in basketball, is the one making most of the throws to the cutters.
Among the schools that Tillman has traveled to with her team for games are the University of Notre Dame, the University of Alabama, Auburn University, Georgia Southern University, Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University and the University of Florida.
When the teams face off as a game gets under way, “It’s very fast-paced, but it’s super fun,” Tillman said.