When Camille McDonald joined the TCU Ultimate Frisbee Club, only two women were on the team and they played with the men in the open division.
Today, the women still play on the men’s team, but there are seven to 10 women at practice on any given day, the senior Spanish major said.
McDonald said she wants to have a separate women’s team at the university, but the game requires seven people on the field at one time and it’s tough to get enough women to field a team.
“A big part of what I’m doing is trying to set the team up for success in the future,” she said.
McDonald said she didn’t play any sports her first semester because she felt “burned out” from playing tennis, which she played from the age of four through high school.
McDonald’s resident assistant encouraged her to try Ultimate Frisbee, but, McDonald said, she didn’t join the team until second semester of her freshman year.
“She’d invite me every Tuesday and Thursday and I was like no, no, no,” McDonald said. “Finally I started going in the spring and it just was so fun to be part of a team atmosphere again.”
McDonald joined a summer league after her freshman year. That experience gave her more confidence in her abilities with frisbee, she said.
She continued to play for the TCU Ultimate Frisbee Club and joined a team outside of school. During her junior year, she was named a co-captain of the Frogs’ team.
Senior chemistry major Kim Hyde, McDonald’s roommate and teammate, said McDonald wants everyone to play and enjoy their experience regardless of their athletic ability.
She also does a great job encouraging people on the field, Hyde said.
At a tournament in November, Hyde had a friend visiting who told her McDonald’s ability to motivate people really stood out, Hyde said.
“She says what you need to hear to keep you going, but doesn’t just drive the point home until you don’t want to hear her voice anymore,” Hyde said.
Junior criminal justice major and co-captain Michael Matthis said McDonald helps the team get back in the right mindset when they are struggling.
At a tournament in Oklahoma, Matthis said, he tried to motivate the team but they didn’t respond. McDonald would say something funny or encouraging and her one comment made everyone believe they could keep going, he said.
McDonald and Matthis work together to organize tournaments, handle paperwork, plan practices, manage finances and recruit, McDonald said.
The main focus has been on recruitment and trying to build the club, she said.
“When I got on, it was just kind of funny that I was able to find a niche when it was not really anything big,” McDonald said. “With the recruitment that we’ve had, that has caused us, me and Michael, to look at it as what can we build this to become and what are our future plans.”
Matthis said McDonald is always inviting people to join the team and interacting with new teammates to make them comfortable.
“I always say that without Camille the logistics side of the team wouldn’t happen,” Matthis said.
Hyde said McDonald is a great athlete and leads through her athletic ability, something that’s hard to find on a student-led team.
“She really embodies that ideal of fulfilling that role the team needs,” Hyde said. “Whether that’s taking the lead and setting up a drill or being an executor on the team, she really fills that role that’s needed or necessary.”
McDonald does a “tremendous job” balancing her role on the team, classes, a job, and her club team, but she always makes time for friends, Hyde said.
Hayley Dalgleish, a junior Biology major, said although she didn’t join the frisbee team, she still looks up to McDonald as a friend. They met Dalgleish’s freshman year when they lived in the same dormitory and both belonged to Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority.
Even when they don’t see each other for extended periods of time, their friendship isn’t affected, she said.
“She’s just so much joy to be around,” Dalgleish said. “She’s always there to listen and always puts a positive spin on things.”
Dalgleish watched McDonald play in a tournament in Arlington and wants to watch her play again, she said.
“She definitely leads by example and works really hard out there,” Dalgleish said. “It’s just something she loves to do and it’s helped broaden her friendships. I think she’s really gained confidence and leadership from it.”
McDonald said she wanted to get more involved with TCU Ultimate Frisbee Club after her first semester.
That opportunity came during her sophomore year when McDonald was put in charge of paperwork and named an “honorary captain” of the team, she said.
This year McDonald continues her role as a captain while working to build TCU’s club team. She also plays for Grass Fight, a coed club team in Dallas.
Hyde said McDonald does a great job taking care of all the details like paperwork, organizing tournaments and collecting dues to keep the team going.
“We all are so grateful for the effort she puts in because we’ve all grown to love the sport and it’s become a big part of our lives,” Hyde said. “Something that, because of her, we’ll all look back on when we graduate and go that was a really cool thing to be a part of.”