FEATURE SERIES: THE 8 PILLARS OF COMMUNITY, #5: SOUL-FEEDING EVENTS
Written by: Zahlen Titcomb, idea maker at Bamboxers.com, co-founder of Five Ultimate, Strategist at the All Star Ultimate Tour, and co-owner of the Seattle Cascades
This article was written by a guest writer. The opinions expressed in the post belong to the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Ultimate Project.
Soul-feeding events are points in time and space where a community gets together and renews its energy. This can come in a group of old friends, or a crowd of complete strangers that share the same energy, values, and spirit. From the game-to-go, to the game-to-go at regionals, to a till-the-break-of-dawn beach party at the Boracay Open in the Philippines, ultimate frisbee is soul-feeding. Whether we cherish the rambunctiously whimsical or the intensely athletic (or both!), a yearning for excitement and the countdown until our next tournament event is a common thing among ultimate players.
That feeling you get when you’ve lost your friends, it’s dark outside, and you find yourself in the middle of a dance-off surrounded by complete strangers? It’s blissful. To feel safe and surrounded by like minded individuals at an ultimate frisbee tournament party, to be comfortable disbanding your inhibitions around people you’ve never met but somehow feel like you’ve known forever, to be filled with electricity, and to feel completely alive. No redbull wings can get you there. The trustworthy camaraderie is rooted in the sportsmanship that ultimate embodies.
A self officiating, co-ed sport attracts and celebrates individuals that want to be part of something positive. Ultimate players feed on the “spirit of the game,” and cherish the healthy competition that peaks when we play tournaments or congregate for any other event with epically diverse yet closely like minded folks. Tournaments are a celebration of coopetition. By coming together and competing to win points on the field, we are actually feeding on the energy produced with every rotation of the disc.
An event doesn’t need to be a grandiose celebration, poppin’ bottles until 3am, even though it sometimes is. An event can be as simple as coming together weekly with a friend to practice long throws, a celebration of the sport through practice and mastery of it’s core elements. It is hard to predict when any individual will get that ‘Aha!’ moment, the epiphany, the goosebumps, the sublime satisfaction of a joyful forehand huck well delivered. These all happen in many sports, or even in everyday life, but ultimate is BY DESIGN, a feel good sport. The strongest showings of this come out in spirited tournament traditions, welcoming pickup games, or inclusive tossing sessions between classes on the quad.
The increase of the heart rate, the beauty of the flight path of the disc, and dare I say the poetry of the intertwining stories of the participants (yup, just said that): these are soul-feeding. We come together because we seek them out, and the world is joining us because they can’t stay away.
What about the other pillars? Check 'em here.
Zahlen is a sibling by birth, an idea maker by nature, and a social entrepreneur by religion. The oldest of five, Z grew up playing disc sports around the world with his siblings. He captained the ultimate team at UChicago back when it was cool to listen to Dave Matthews Band. He was a local boss (without the tattoos) of developing ultimate in China for many years. Zahlen believes ultimate can make the world a better place, and works daily beside his brothers and sisters on Five Ultimate, The All Star Ultimate Tour, the Seattle Cascades, and TUPO to boost the sport he loves.