The Riot-Fury rivalry has defined the entire women’s division of ultimate for the last decade. Any current player in the division has been touched by it in some way – either competing against one of the teams in all of their excellence, witnessing some of the thrilling games, or simply catching it through hearsay before cameras were there to capture the battles.
Personally, I can connect with all three scenarios. I’ve lined up across some of the star Fury players such as Claire Desmond and Maggie Ruden, I’ve watched my long-time Riot-playing sister, Rohre Titcomb, battle against Fury year after year, and I’ve heard of the thrilling matchup between Gwen Ambler of Fury (at the time) and Miranda Knowles (previously Miranda Roth) of Riot told as if it were the battle between good and evil.
What makes the rivalry between Fury and Riot so unique is that it is based upon mutual respect and a competitive spirit. Every time these two teams take the field, each team expects the other to bring its best. Both teams recognize that by mutually pushing each other, every player improves and we elevate the standard of play for our entire division.
I saw these two rivalries come together for a very special occasion this past weekend in Phoenix, AZ – the WUGC 2016 team USA tryout. Riot and Fury were not the only teams with a history present at this tryout by any means – national rivals, inter-regional rivals, and college rivals were all present in both the women’s division and the men’s division. But I felt like the nature of the Riot-Fury rivalry set the tone for the entire tryout.
I saw the Riot-Fury rivalry most notably present within the coaching staff itself: the assistant coach Andy Loveseth is the current head coach for Riot while Matty Tsang, the team USA women's head coach was Fury’s head coach for many years. However, Matty noted just how unique it was for us all to be working together towards the common goal of creating Team USA. During our first team huddle on Saturday morning, he jokingly used Riot as an example of a team he hates but is equally excited about putting aside a legendary rivalry with to build success as team.
In every drill and scrimmage, on every sideline, players put aside their team allegiances and enjoyed the company of the most talented female athletes in the country. We were all high-fiving, cheering, and working off each other's energy regardless of our respective club teams.
And that's what's so great about this community. Our rivalries are our biggest assets and our enemies our best friends. We push one another to be the best athletes and people we can be, raising the level of play and sportsmanship in the process.
The East coast tryout takes place this weekend in Orlando, FL and all I’d like to say is this: East coast, you’re in for a treat.
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.
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