Running on Empty
Getting There from Here
Full Steam Ahead
Beyond the Bluster
Cashing in Her Chips
The Art & Science of Diversity
Twins Be Nimble
|The Ultimate Sacrifice
This alumna's love of Ultimate Frisbee almost cost her a job
|–Hannah L. Drake ’06
“AT ONE POINT I WAS so possessed with Ultimate Frisbee that my employers basically said, ‘Look, you either focus on your job, or you’re not going to have one,’” says Suzanne Fields ’77.
Over the years, Field’s career often took a back seat to her love of the game, but that obsession had its own rewards. In 2004, Fields was inducted into the Ultimate Players Association (UPA) Ultimate Frisbee Hall of Fame. She also held the indoor distance throwing Guinness World Record for a decade.
Fields started playing Ultimate on a pick-up men’s team at UMass Amherst. “I was shorter and slower than the guys,” she says, “but my disk-throwing skills were better than some of the men, so I had that advantage early on.” And, admits Fields, hanging out with “athletic, very fun” guys wasn’t all that bad, either.
Players began organizing Ultimate Frisbee leagues in Boston in 1980, and Fields favored playing on the men’s team, raising the ire of some female peers. “But once I saw the opportunities of getting more playing time and growing the women’s division, I was fully committed to the women’s game,” says Fields.
And how: She organized the UPA’s first Women’s Division and became its first National Director. In the fall of 1981, Fields’ team, Boston Ladies Ultimate, won the first-ever women’s national title. She also organized the first female team to play at an international level, and she and her teammates represented the United States on the first Coed Masters team; both teams won their respective championships.
Fields kept busy off the playing field, too. She designed community exercise programs, fitness centers, and corporate employee health and wellness programs for Johnson & Johnson. She married an aspiring professional windsurfer and moved to Maui.
“I struggled and had all sorts of jobs,” says Fields, “but continued to play Ultimate, to windsurf, boogie-board and scuba dive… the things that you do when you live on Maui.”
Today at age 52, Fields has survived both a divorce and breast cancer. And while she no longer competes, Fields still plays recreationally several times a week. “It keeps me focused on continuing to stay fit,” says Fields. “It’s not a bad life, I must say.”
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