Avocations: Hildo Bijl

Ten years ago Hildo Bijl came to TU Delft to begin his studies. As an undergraduate student, he wanted to pick up a sport and meet people. So through Unit Sports he tried out lots of different options and found an interest in ultimate frisbee.

“I like the physicality of it, that it involves full sprints and strategy,” he said. “It’s like playing chess at a high speed.”

After only a year of playing, Bijl was invited to join the Dutch Under 20 team. “That may sound like a great achievement, but there weren’t that many people to choose from in the country,” said Bijl, who is now nearly finished with a PhD in machine learning. But joining gave him the opportunity to play in international tournaments and his love for the sport grew.

A board member of the Dutch National Frisbee Association from 2012 to 2014, Bijl has also coached the local Force Elektro team for the past seven years. Using his experience as a trainer, he kept notes over the years and put together an online book to teach others to coach. He said within a few days it had reached 40 countries. A unique part of the sport is there are no referees, but instead players practise what they call ‘Spirit of the Game’. Bijl explained that when there are disputes players have to sort things out with each other and respect the rules. “It’s a sport that attracts people that are very open minded,” he said. “I like that it’s a community of people who are capable of listening to each other.”

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