"ULTIMATE HAS THE POWER TO OPEN UP CONVERSATION IN A WAY THAT NO OTHER SPORT CAN. "
A couple of months ago a Seattle frisbee friend of mine reached out to me and asked if I'd be interested in traveling to her college in Clinton, NY to present to the community there about my experiences. She said that her school, Hamilton College, would cover my travel and lodging expense and that I had pretty much free rein to present on whatever I'd like.
My immediate response was YES. Absolutely YES.
After a couple of emails back and forth with some details getting ironed out, it started to sink in that the trip was truly happening. And two specific things hit me:
The first thing was a realization that the administration of this particular college saw value in bringing in a speaker to address a growing club sport that has traditionally been viewed as a hobby and not a sport. I don't know exactly what their thought-process was, or how the captains of the ultimate team sold me, but it was an eye-opening moment for me to see an example of ultimate coming more into the main-stream.
The second thing that hit me was that I had no idea what I was going to say - I had basically blindly accepted, without thinking about what I could add to their community. I put off preparing for the talk for a shockingly long time. Right down to the wire, I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to say and still figuring out what value I could bring to them.
What ended up happening?
Well, I worked really hard to find what I wanted to say, but I also realized that what was going to be most powerful was to get the community talking. So, while I spent the first section of the talk discussing some of the challenges of being an elite female ultimate player and the creation of the All-Star Ultimate Tour, the second section was designed to allow the audience to split into smaller groups and explore the topic of gender.
When we came back together after being split up, I could tell that there were lots of meaningful conversations that took place. People had all kinds of ideas and reactions to gender in sports. I concluded the talk with a small request:
KEEP EXPLORING IDEAS AND SEE WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PROMOTE THEM.
On the whole, the experience was eye-opening for me, despite getting a bloody nose 3 minutes before my presentation started. I realized that ultimate has the power to open up the conversation about gender in a way that no other sport can.
Qxhna Titcomb is the Creator and General Manager of the All-Star Ultimate Tour
Qxhna Titcomb became enthralled in ultimate at a young age. Her passion for the sport has driven her beyond just the ultimate field - you'll find her meeting new people on the sidelines of tournaments or championing for gender equity in our sport. She enjoys reading books and mayonnaise, and is terrified of steam in the shower.
Is there an ultimate story, or cause that you are passionate about sharing? Consider being a guest writer for us! Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your idea.