The Spirit of the Game
a graphic novel by Kathy Dobson
KYLA, the narrator, gets hit by a frisbee while running at track practice in the spring of 8th grade. She meets FINN, a high school student who threw the errant disc, and is immediately smitten with him. The next day, while Kyla is waiting for her best friend EMILY after track practice, Finn invites Kyla to play pick-up frisbee with him in the summer.
At summer pick-up, Kyla meets ANGELA, a senior, who takes Kyla under her wing to teach her how to play ultimate frisbee. She also meets MAGS who warns Kyla not to get too involved with Finn. At the end of the summer, Kyla is sad when she and her parents take BRIELLE, Kyla’s sister, to college.
In the fall, Mags invites Kyla to Huck-tober Fest, a co-ed frisbee tournament. Kyla and Mag’s team, which includes Finn, end up winning the loser’s bracket “Chumpionship” and everyone has a great time. A bit later, during Thanksgiving, Kyla is disappointed when Brielle does not come home for the break. Brielle comes home for winter break but is often moody and constantly talks about her boyfriend.
In February, Mags holds a pre-season meeting but not enough girls show up, so Kyla makes posters to advertise the new frisbee team. Just before the first practice, Kyla is devastated when she overhears WHITNEY, a frisbee teammate, talking about how she is dating Finn.
At their first tournament, Kyla’s team is stunned by the competition - they realize they are out of their league. When Mags runs off the field after losing their 4th game, the rest of the team finds a way to step up and win their last game.
Over the next month, the team practices a few times a week and bond by discussing acne, strange eating habits, and life ambitions. At regionals, they play well. During the game to go to states, TISH, a tall senior and dominant receiver, tears her ACL. The team ends up winning the game but everyone is bummed about Tish. Later, they visit Tish in the hospital after she gets ACL surgery. While injured on the sidelines, Tish teaches Kyla how to catch discs in the air so that Kyla can fill in her role during states.
At states, the team overperforms expectations but they end up losing in the finals to the perennial favorite. At the end, the girls are happy and hopeful and they all take their cleats off and dance barefoot on the frisbee fields.