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Team players

11:55 AM  Jun 17th, 2014
by Megan Garrison '14

Their favorite Flyers may be a team you’ve never heard of.

Ghetto Force, the University’s men’s Ultimate Frisbee team, has a fan base close to home in their families, whether created by blood or by common bond.

Joel Jira ’69 and his wife, Debbie, for example, are no strangers to UD or its athletics teams. Joel’s father, Joseph Jira ’31, played football for the Flyers for four years and was named to the Small College All-American Team in 1930. The couple’s son, Stephen Jira ’14, carried on the family tradition on a different field.

“Stephen loves Frisbee,” Debbie said, noting that they’ve donated funds to the team since 2009. “He loves the camaraderie with the other players. We often drive to watch him and his team, and team members have stayed at our house when they play nearby.”

Paul Kosmerl ’05 and Emily Puchala Kosmerl ’07 also frequently support the team’s efforts after experiencing firsthand the difficulties of keeping a sports club afloat.

Emily, a former member of the women’s Ultimate Frisbee team, remembers how hard it was for the group to fundraise for the team’s many expenses, including travel to and from games. As a graduate looking to give back to UD, she knew where she wanted it directed.

“Traveling to Frisbee tournaments is so fun, and we wanted to make sure that continued,” Emily said. “Paul and I have been in the habit of donating, be it our time or funds, since before we left UD — we have to credit our parents, who taught us well. We feel really grateful for the things we’ve been given, and we know that
we should pay that back or forward when we have the chance.”

The Kosmerls aren’t the only ones; this year, nearly 100 UD alumni and parents have supported
the University through hobbies and interests that match their passions with student needs.

Groups like the student rescue squad, waterski team and math club have also benefitted, allowing
them to buy equipment, offer training and attend conferences. Often, these donors are as mysterious as they are generous.

Alexander Hunton ’14, a member of the University’s aero design team, can’t recall the amount of support
alumni have given his group, but he can tell you exactly how much it has helped.

“With the funds, we’ve purchased materials and aircraft components we wouldn’t have otherwise,”
Hunton said. “Donations have also helped us attend competitions, like the American Institute of Aeronautics
and Astronautics Design, Build, Fly competition, and the Oklahoma State University Speedfest competition, where we placed third last year in our first showing.”

Go, team.

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