Change is good, even when it comes unexpectedly. For fourth-year ultimate frisbee club president Alex Grimm, these changes are bringing about exciting times for the club, as its identity is shifting and new recruits are lining up to join.
After receiving a notice from USA Ultimate, the governing body of competitive ultimate frisbee, about changing their name from the “Long Beach Stalkers,” Grimm saw his opportunity to make his mark on the team.
“I just didn’t really feel comfortable wearing ‘Long Beach Stalkers’ across the jersey,” said team member Freddy Buchanan. “So now I feel like I have something I can actually brand that promotes our team.”
The new name of the team is the Long Beach State Pyramid Scheme, tying in the university’s iconic Walter Pyramid into its identity.
“I started a group on Facebook with every single alumni that I could find and current players,” Grimm said. “Then we started adding submissions and from there, we went to a poll then Pyramid Scheme won.”
With a new name for the upcoming season, the Pyramid Scheme can already can see its plans coming to fruition.
“Of course the alumni understood there wasn’t much that we could do,” Buchanan said. “It wasn’t a [voluntary] rebrand, another team said ‘Stalkers’ wasn’t [appropriate] and it made sense. But going through the rebranding process, it also gives us a fresh start, especially going into mine and [Grimm’s] second half of our eligibility, so it’s refreshing in the sense that it’s a new team almost.”
With Grimm’s mark already being made aesthetically, he is also doing more to expand the club’s outreach on campus.
“Other than [renaming the team], I’m changing the recruitment process and just getting people in,” Grimm said. “We’re trying to get more people than ever to join the team.”
Grimm’s go-getter attitude isn’t the only thing that got him elected as club president, he worked hard to gain the club’s respect through his actions on and off the field.
“Club presidents really have to be passionate about the club and on top of administrative-type stuff,” team coach Jacob Baumer said. “It’s pretty obvious to the team how committed Alex is to them, so choosing him wasn’t much of a surprise.”
Joining the club in the beginning of his second year from a soccer background, the business-turned-history major quickly fell in love with ultimate frisbee and the team.
“Ever since I graduated high school I didn’t have a team, so it felt good being back on one,” Grimm said. “It made me enjoy college. In my freshman year, I didn’t enjoy college. … I felt like I was in the bottom and I never saw the ending getting there, but [then] I saw a lot more opportunity.”
Grimm never had any competitive experience handling a disc before joining the team, but knew ultimate frisbee interested him after enjoying tossing a disc on the beach with his cousin and being prompted by his aunt to look into playing ultimate frisbee.
“The first day [of] Week of Welcome, I walked up to the booth and I signed my name,” Grimm said. “And after the first practice I’m telling my parents, ‘I’m sticking with this, this is awesome. I’ve been missing this. I’ve been missing a team.’”
By seeing the hours of hard work put in and his never-say-never attitude, Grimm’s play on the field began to drastically improve, showing his worth to the team on the field as well.
“He’s constantly trying to make himself better,” Buchanan said. “Even the jump from his sophomore to junior year … he dropped 20-something pounds. I think it’s affecting the team in the sense that they see captain, captain, president all working their butts off and I feel like that sets the precedent for what people should be doing for themselves.”
According to Baumer, seeing this level of effort put in for the team is what has made the Pyramid Scheme’s bond unbreakable.
“They’re family,” Baumer said. “In the way that you feel safe and protected and loved. That whole ‘blood is thicker than water’ thing.”
Being a third-generation CSULB student, Grimm wants to contribute to the university’s legacy when representing the Beach on the field.
“I’m the most equipped, and I care about this team and want this team to grow,” Grimm said.
Once Grimm graduates with a degree in history, he plans to become a high school teacher, which he attributes to being inspired by his favorite teacher growing up.
“High school is where it is,” Grimm said. “I’ve been told that I can listen to everyone. I’m very patient. That leads to the ability for me to listen to all people, and if I’m teaching, I’d want to help everyone learn.”
With the preseason and recruiting taking place now, the ultimate frisbee team will begin gearing up for USAU sanctioned tournaments against the likes of Cal Poly and UCLA in the spring semester.
“I see ourselves record-wise, about .500, depending on how many rookies that we’ve gotten out to stay,” Buchanan said. “I think we could make it to regionals, and if we do make it to regionals, maybe [upset] a win or two to ruin someone’s chances at nationals.”
For Grimm and the rest of the Pyramid Scheme, ultimate frisbee is more than just the number of points at the end of the game.
“If you’re looking for a good group of guys to bond with and play a sport with, this is your team,” Grimm said. “Because again, I went to one practice and I was hooked. I threw the frisbee a little bit in high school, but … I was a soccer player. So joining this team brought me back the joy of being on a team.”