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Ultimate Pride: On pushing forward and uplifting all members of our community

Ultimate Pride: On pushing forward and uplifting all members of our community

This post was written as a part of our Guest Blogger Series for Pride 2020. This month, we're stepping back and lending our platform to voices in the LGBTQIA+ Ultimate community. Their words and experiences are so incredibly important and valid and too often overlooked.

Our first guest blogger is Seph Tacular. 

Seph has been part of the Ultimate community for almost 20 years, after being sired into the fold by a college friend. While he has played in tournaments all around the world, both for fun and to try his hand at being competitive, you'll usually find him trying to take yet another LGBTQIA+ team to the nearest place that allows costumes and temporary tattoos as part of the game. If you happen to encounter him in the wild, feel free to ask for a hug. It may be the best one you've ever had. 

Seph Tacular Five Ultimate LBGTQIA+ POC Inclusivity in Ultimate Pride Month Blog Post ArticlePhoto by Kat Overton

I am very proud of who I am, but that is a relatively new and growing aspect of my life.

I didn’t have pride for most of my life. I’m big, I’m Black and Asian, I’m queer, and I stick out like a horse trying to blend in among dogs. Mere acceptance, let alone pride, seemed like an impossible task when I was younger. 

I wasn’t born thinking to myself “brrp rrgr rgug urbirrup,” which is baby for “I know exactly who I am and I’m proud of the life I’m about to live.” I first had to struggle with my identity and embark on my journey of acceptance despite societal biases and roadblocks. Only then did I start building pride in the person I could become. 

I didn’t get here by myself. I am lucky to be “perched on the shoulders of giants.”

The reason I mention this 12th century quote is because the pride I have now is possible only because others established a hard-won foundation on which I could build.

I look to pioneers that give me pride, give me strength, and show me that a world of acceptance is something not just to hope for, but to fight for.

I’m emboldened by Marsha P. Johnson; a woman who fought for equality while also showing kindness, compassion, and strength to the drag queens, homeless youth, and trans women in New York City.

I’m encouraged by James Baldwin. In a time when it was dangerous to be Black, and dangerous to be gay, he was proudly both. He knew it was worth fighting for a world where people could live the life they wanted without having to prove their right to be there. He also taught patience, knowing it would be a long fight, but still worth it.

I am empowered by Bayard Rustin, a trusted advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and key organizer of the March on Washington. A lot of people are in the field fighting for the rights we all look to have, and even more are supporting from the sidelines. We all have a job to do.

These and countless others show that I don’t have to be perfect to be proud of who I am. What is important is that I keep fighting, keep pushing, and keep encouraging others to do the same.

So, what’s all of this have to do with Ultimate?

Well, I’m glad I’m pretending that you asked.

Our times of chasing a polymer disc, donning costumes, and chanting team cheers are so much more than just games. In Ultimate, we have a special privilege — we get to be ourselves. 

Few other areas, let alone other sports, allow people of so many varied backgrounds to come together and enjoy spirit and competition. 

Those with higher privilege may not fully understand or appreciate how amazing it is to actually get to be yourself, without excuse, in a place where strangers outnumber you 1000:1. In a world full of everyday obstacles and heartache for those of us with less privilege, such as those like myself who must investigate race or queer relations in a country where we’re hoping to attend a tournament, the Ultimate field and community represents space striving for the ideal — where playing and living authentically without fear is not only accepted, but celebrated. 

That’s not to say that Ultimate is perfect. As with many areas of society, we have work to do to improve and build equity in terms of gender, LGBTQIA+ openness and participation, and representation from People of Color. The work continues. We’re still pushing forward and building.

We better our community when everyone — with and without privilege, on and off the Ultimate field — works together. Especially for those with privilege, it is important to continue to educate and leverage that privilege to help others. Open yourself to ideas that aren’t your own. Welcome and engage with people that make you feel a little uncomfortable. Prime yourself to fight for and uplift people of all kinds. Keep building an environment that encourages people to be themselves.

We are all here because of the work done by those before us, and it’s up to us to take advantage of that strong foundation.

Accept yourselves.

Look to the future.

And realize that pride has not come easily. It has been fought for and built despite the destructive acts of people who believe that some are not worthy of humanity.

I don’t just write this to tell you some random facts about people you may or may not have heard of. I do it to ask you to join the fight in any way you can.

Whether by donating, protesting, or finding ways to support those who are doing the more “visible” work, it’s on all of us to make this world a place for everyone, a place more like the one we’ve built together on the field.

A place where people can live proud.



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The Austin Ultimate community is coming together to help Texas recover from COVID-19

The Austin Ultimate community is coming together to help Texas recover from COVID-19

UPLA Ultimate Players League of Austin Texas Ultimate Frisbee Community Quaranteam Fundraiser

Five Ultimate is teaming up with Aria Discs to help raise funds for local Ultimate non-profits like the Ultimate Players League of Austin (UPLA). These organizations have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, being forced to cancel all their spring programs and events, and potentially their summer ones as well. These events are not only important to their local Ultimate communities but are critical for raising necessary funds that allow them to operate. 

During these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever for us to come together as a community and make sure we all come out the other side of this stronger than before. Five Ultimate’s Quaranteam partnerships and limited-edition line of products are our way of giving back to these amazing organizations that do so much for their communities. Austin Ultimate is taking this partnership even further by donating funds raised through the Quaranteam to organizations in Central Texas that are helping with COVID-19 relief for under-served communities, particularly their Black and Latinx neighbors. UPLA will be donating all of the proceeds and matching up to $1500 to All Together ATX, a partnership of the United Way for Greater Austin and Austin Community Foundation helping those who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

We spoke with Stacey Nava, the Executive Secretary of the Board for UPLA, to learn more about how the global pandemic has affected their organization and community, and how they’re weathering the storm. Read on below to learn more about the wonderful work they do and how joining the Austin Ultimate Quaranteam can help.


Savage: How has the COVID-19 pandemic been affecting you and your organization? What programs and events have been affected? How does this affect your overall mission and the work you do for the Ultimate community?

Stacey Nava: The pandemic has effectively shut our organization down. We have not been able to provide any programming, so we have not been able to adhere to our mission (to serve the greater Austin Ultimate community by organizing, promoting and developing the sport and spirit of Ultimate for all ages and levels of competition).


Other than not being able to get on the field and play, what’s been the biggest challenge during this?

SN: Our biggest challenge has been that the state government has opened Texas but the disease has not slowed down. This has created a lot of mixed feelings and uncertainty regarding our programs that we so badly want to host, but only under safe circumstances. 


How are you getting through this difficult time?

SN: Self-care is essentially the most we can do for ourselves and our mental health.


What’s the vibe in your city/community like?  

SN: Torn — many community members want to return to play, but we need to have a larger/more long-term view of the pandemic before we can safely host our programs. We all miss being out at Zilker playing pick-up or scrimmaging with our teams. 

Ultimate Players League Austin Texas Ultimate Frisbee Community Fundraiser

What are you looking forward to right now?

SN: Returning to play! But only when it is safe to do so. 


How are you hoping to use the funds raised through the Quaranteam fundraiser?

SN: Austin Ultimate will be donating all of the proceeds and matching up to $1500 to All Together ATX, a partnership with United Way for Greater Austin and Austin Community Foundation helping those who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. 


What does being a part of a Quaranteam mean to you?

SN: That we are all in this together and we need to focus on the long game — doing our part to stay distant now so that we can play Ultimate together again when it is safe to do so.


What else can folks do during this time to support the Ultimate community?

SN: Hang in there, keep practicing good healthy habits, stay on top of the news, and do your part for our local elections, take the census, get educated, etc.


If you’d like to join the Austin Ultimatte Quaranteam and help support the Central Texas community, you can order your official gear in the Austin Ultimate (UPLA) Quaranteam shop. Hurry — the store closes June 28. If you’re involved with a local Ultimate non-profit organization and want to find out more about partnering with us for your own Quaranteam fundraiser, you can email kyle@fiveultimate.com.


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Philadelphia Area’s Ultimate Community Comes Together for PADA’s Quaranteam Fundraiser

Philadelphia Area’s Ultimate Community Comes Together for PADA’s Quaranteam Fundraiser

Philadelphia Area Disc Alliance Ultimate Frisbee Quaranteam Fundraiser

Five Ultimate is teaming up with Aria Discs to help raise funds for local Ultimate non-profits like the Philadelphia Area Disc Alliance (PADA). These organizations have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, being forced to cancel all their spring programs and events, and potentially their summer ones as well. These events are not only important to their local Ultimate communities but are critical for raising necessary funds that allow them to operate. 

During these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever for us to come together as a community and make sure we all come out the other side of this stronger than before. Five Ultimate’s Quaranteam partnerships and limited-edition line of products are our way of giving back to these amazing organizations that do so much for their communities. 

We spoke with Elena López, the Executive Director for PADA, to learn more about how the global pandemic has affected their organization and community, and how they’re weathering the storm. Read on below to learn more about the wonderful work they do and how joining the PADA Quaranteam can help.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic been affecting you and your organization?

Elena López: PADA has had to cancel or terminate over a dozen leagues and tournaments over the past two months. The termination of the high school season and cancellation of States has been the most devastating to watch. I especially sympathize with the seniors whose high school careers ended abruptly. 

In addition to focusing on Ultimate, PADA’s mission revolves around fostering community. While we can’t play, we are providing opportunities for our community to stay interactive digitally.

Other than not being able to get on the field and play, what’s been the biggest challenge during this?

EL: As with all Ultimate communities, PADA is not simply dedicated to the sport, but more importantly, dedicated to our community. PADA’s unique culture goes beyond on-field camaraderie and Spirit of the Game. On any given evening after summer league games, teams congregate to grill and chill the night away. Being away from teammates and friends makes this time that much more challenging.

How are you getting through this difficult time?

EL: Since we can’t physically be together, we have been hosting opportunities to keep up the conversation virtually. We are incredibly grateful for social media platforms where members can share content with the rest of the community. A huge thank you to community members who have shared their skills by leading fun activities and challenges including trivia, yoga, cooking, talent show acts, and more. The PADA community is an incredible asset and we are all grateful for our members.

Philadelphia Area Disc Alliance PADA Ultimate Frisbee Summer League Quaranteam Fundraiser

What’s the vibe in your city/community like?  

EL: Members are jonesing to chase discs again, but have been responsible, respectful, and understanding about the current situation. We’re all feeling the frisbee void, but it’s encouraging to see membership banter alive and well on social media. 

What are you looking forward to right now?

EL: I never thought I’d say this, but at this point, I’m even looking forward to getting skyed.

How are you hoping to use the funds raised through the Quaranteam fundraiser?

EL: Adult league revenue is our main source of income, which has come to a halt with cancelled leagues. Overhead expenses, however, remain the same. This fundraiser will help pay our staff, who have slightly shifted gears but have continued working.

Every year, PADA provides financial assistance to help more Philadelphia Area youth participate in the unparalleled experience of YCCs. If the tournament goes as planned, we foresee a greater need for financial assistance this year. We hope this fundraiser can also create a more robust financial assistance fund.

Thank you XII team for this opportunity!

What does being a part of a Quaranteam mean to you?

EL: This is an exciting opportunity to participate and promote global solidarity. Our collective sacrifice to put aside our favorite activities to protect one another has been challenging but is also inspiring.  

What else can folks do during this time to support the Ultimate community?

EL: Take this opportunity to conduct virtual workouts with your team to keep each other accountable, reconnect with old teammates across the globe, and share your (Ultimate and non-Ultimate) skills on social media. If you’re looking to help but don’t know how to, reach out to your local disc organization. We’ll be ecstatic to hear from you, and might be able to find a project tailored to your interests.

Keep morale high — we’re all in this together (responsibly distanced, but together)!

If you’d like to join the PADA Quaranteam and help support the Philadelphia Area Ultimate community, you can order your official gear in the PADA Quaranteam shop. Hurry — the store closes May 17. If you’re involved with a local Ultimate non-profit organization and want to find out more about partnering with us for your own Quaranteam fundraiser, you can email kyle@fiveultimate.com.



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Boston’s Ultimate Community Pulls Together for BUDA’s Quaranteam Fundraiser

Boston’s Ultimate Community Pulls Together for BUDA’s Quaranteam Fundraiser

BUDA Boston Ultimate Disc Alliance COVID-19 Quaranteam Ultimate Frisbee Community Fundraiser

Five Ultimate is teaming up with Aria Discs to help raise funds for local Ultimate non-profits like Boston Ultimate Disc Alliance (BUDA). These organizations have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, being forced to cancel all their spring programs and events, and potentially their summer ones as well. These events are not only important to their local Ultimate communities but are critical for raising necessary funds that allow them to operate. 

During these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever for us to come together as a community and make sure we all come out the other side of this stronger than before. Five Ultimate’s Quaranteam partnerships and limited-edition line of products is our way of giving back to these amazing organizations that do so much for their communities. 

We spoke with Jonah Guerin, the Operations Manager for BUDA, to learn more about how the global pandemic has affected their organization and community and how they’re weathering the storm. Read on below to learn more about the wonderful work they do and how joining the BUDA Quaranteam can help.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic been affecting you and BUDA? 

Jonah Guerin: When the COVID-19 pandemic started to become a major issue, we were in the middle of two winter leagues and finishing registration for all our spring leagues. We made the decision to cancel the remainder of our winter leagues right away, and after gathering more information, we canceled our spring leagues as well. Just last week we made the decision to cancel our two biggest club tournaments, Mixed Easterns and Boston Invite, which would have been in late May and early June. Since running events is core to our mission of providing opportunities to learn, play, and teach spirited Ultimate, we were disappointed to not be able to provide those opportunities. Without those traditional avenues for supporting the community, we've had to get creative. 

Other than not being able to get on the field and play, what’s been the biggest challenge during this?

JG: Staying in touch with the community. BUDA has an incredible community of players, from our U8 leagues to our Grandmasters leagues, and everything in between. We try to emphasize the social aspects of the game by encouraging players to go out after games and by hosting events like BUDA Prom. In an effort to stay engaged with the community, we partnered with DiscNY and created our Remote Community Calendar. This calendar contains a variety of online events that anyone can attend, including yoga, workouts, game nights, and more. While we can't get together on a field for now, we wanted to give people the opportunity to stay connected virtually.

How are you and the rest of the organization getting through this difficult time?

JG: We're hanging in there. It's been challenging to adjust to our new normal, but we're working hard to stay positive, keep in touch with the community, and practice kindness. One benefit I've seen is more communication amongst everyone within BUDA. We're holding more regular board meetings, and staying in touch more often to ensure that BUDA makes it through this pandemic.

BUDA Boston Ultimate Disc Alliance Boston Ultimate Frisbee Community Events

What’s the vibe in your city/community like?  

JG: I think people understand the importance of staying home, so it's pretty quiet right now. No one was planning on spring 2020 going this way, but it's great to see how people have adapted! One of our winter leagues which ended early has held regular Zoom hangouts to stay in touch. One of our Grandmasters teams created a "Remote Ultimate" video and we’ve challenged others to do the same. When we hosted our remote captain's meeting for summer league, I wasn't sure how many people to expect, but 86 people showed up ready to talk about Ultimate! It's clear that people are excited to get back on the field whenever we can safely do so, and that Ultimate is still high on people's minds. It can be a great distraction!

What are you looking forward to most right now?

JG: Personally, there are a handful of things: being able to hug my family, getting to travel, and eating a burrito at Tenoch or ribs at Red Bones. For BUDA, I'm looking forward to getting back on the field, playing with friends, getting to be outdoors with other people, and the camaraderie of a team sport.

How are you hoping to use the funds raised through the Quaranteam fundraiser?

JG: BUDA relies on income from our leagues and tournaments to survive. Without any spring events, and with summer events on hold, we haven't had much money coming in for a while. We plan to use the funds raised through the Quaranteam fundraiser to pay our basic costs such as employee salary, insurance costs, and website fees. Anything extra, we would store away for future use by our youth program. We were so excited to be expanding our initiative with the Boston Centers for Youth & Families this spring, and we will use any extra funds towards growing that program in the future.

What does being a part of a Quaranteam mean to you?

JG: To me, it's about being a part of the larger Ultimate community. While BUDA is a local organization, we love working with other local organizations and companies like XII Brands who share our mission. Being a part of a Quaranteam means supporting each other through this crisis and making sure we all come out on the other side.

What else can folks do during this time to support the Ultimate community?

Keep in touch! We love to hear from folks about their experiences and ideas to improve. And stay engaged with your community. Attend online events, post on social media, watch old footage of games, read interesting articles. And if you have the ability to donate, please do so. Most orgs like BUDA are non-profits who rely on the community for support. Donations help us stay afloat until we can get back on the fields!


If you’d like to join the BUDA Quaranteam and help support the Boston Ultimate community, you can order your official gear in the BUDA Quaranteam shop. Hurry — the store closes May 10. If you’re involved with a local Ultimate non-profit organization and want to find out more about partnering with us for your own Quaranteam fundraiser, you can email kyle@fiveultimate.com.

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Quaranteam Q&A With Rusty Brown from DiscNW

Quaranteam Q&A With Rusty Brown from DiscNW

  DiscNW Five Ultimate Aria Discs 209 Ultimate Frisbee Tour 2019 UltiPhotos

Five Ultimate is teaming up with Aria Discs to help raise funds for local Ultimate non-profits like Seattle’s own DiscNW. These organizations have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, being forced to cancel all their spring programs and events, and potentially their summer ones as well. These events are not only important to their local Ultimate communities but are critical for raising necessary funds that allow them to operate. 

During these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever for us to come together as a community and make sure we all come out the other side of this stronger than before. Five Ultimate’s Quaranteam partnerships and limited-edition line of products is our way of giving back to these amazing organizations that do so much for their communities. 

We spoke with Rusty Brown, the Director of Operations for DiscNW, to learn more about how the global pandemic has affected their organization and community and how they’re weathering the storm. Read on below to learn more about the wonderful work they do and how joining the DiscNW Quaranteam can help.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic been affecting you and your organization? How does this affect your overall mission and the work you do for the Ultimate community?

Rusty Brown: Like most small businesses around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on DiscNW and our community. Due to the stay-at-home order, we've canceled all programming (Youth and Adult) for all of Spring. In addition to this, we've canceled our premiere events for the year, Spring Reign (Youth) and Sunbreak (Adult). These cancellations affected a large part of our operating revenue for the year and if cancellations continue through the summer camp season, we will need to continue to scale back our staffing at HQ. That being said, we believe in our mission and want to continue to serve the Ultimate community near and far. Our staff continue to support fundraising efforts, distance learning, and working with other local and national organizations in strategizing the future look of our sport. DiscNW has had numerous volunteers step up to help fill in for staff and our board and staff are committed to determining the future of DiscNW for the positive. 

Other than not being able to get on the field and play, what’s been the biggest challenge during this?

RB: The biggest challenge for everyone in and outside our organization is the lack of social aspect from our sport and community. It's not just about getting out on the field and exercising/competing; it's also about the small social interactions week in and week out with teammates and opponents alike. Simply being able to see and interact with people is a huge boost to a person's emotional well being.

How are you getting through this difficult time?

RB: Personally, as a father of two, I struggle to be dad, teacher, and partner all while not having time to myself or an outlet for my frustrations, fears, and insecurities (which Ultimate was for me). I've found solace in small projects: art with my kids, little bits of home improvement, cooking, and playing basketball or soccer with the kids. As an organization, being in touch with our board as a staff member is helpful. Even sitting through board meetings and listening to their thoughts and discussing options for the future helps me be connected. Being active in planning for the future of our sport, knowing that it will return someday, and helping to game plan for how to do that in a safe manner gives me hope.

What’s the vibe in your city/community like?  

RB: This is difficult to express as we are in stay-at-home. The vendors I interact with are all hopeful about the return to our sport. The friends I have on social media are all coping in different ways with varying amounts of success. I have seen amazing things come about in this community due to the pandemic and I hope that this spills over to the "normal" of the future.

What are you looking forward to right now?

RB: Right now, I am most likely looking forward to seeing and interacting with friends in person again. Feeling as if I can safely go around or travel if I wanted to. Even if I choose not to, simply having the choice would be great.

What are you hoping to use the funds raised through the Quaranteam fundraiser for?

RB: DiscNW hopes the funds can be used to continue offering virtual programming and priming our organization to be able to ramp back up quickly, once the stay-at-home order is lifted.

What does being a part of a Quaranteam mean to you?

RB: Being a part of Quaranteam means being a part of something bigger than myself. Being able to stay home to keep others safe is imperative to helping our communities survive this pandemic. Being able to support DiscNW while showing that I value the #stayhomesavelives movement is an added benefit.

What else can folks do during this time to support the Ultimate community?

RB: Reach out to your teammates. Share your struggles. Share your wins and losses through this time. Simply sharing with people and showing an effort can mean the world to people. Take care of your community. Ask what you can do to help. If you have time or resources, bring them to bear for your Ultimate teams and organizations.  


If you’d like to join the DiscNW Quaranteam and help support the Seattle Ultimate community, you can order your official gear in the DiscNW Quaranteam shop. Hurry — the store closes May 3. If you’re involved with a local Ultimate non-profit organization and want to find out more about partnering with us for your own Quaranteam fundraiser, you can email kyle@fiveultimate.com.

 

Photo by Burt Granofsky/UltiPhotos

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