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Five Ultimate Blog

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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Here’s why it’s important to celebrate the 2020 US National Team — now more than ever

Here’s why it’s important to celebrate the 2020 US National Team — now more than ever

© Jolie J Lang for UltiPhotos

© Jolie J. Lang for UltiPhotos

On March 11, USA Ultimate officially announced the athletes who would represent the United States at the 2020 WFDF World Ultimate and Guts Championships (WUGC) later this summer in the Netherlands. Just days later, it became clear that the games would not be happening as planned. COVID-19 was taking our world by storm, and Ultimate right along with it. The World Flying Disc Federation announced that they would be postponing or cancelling all world championships for at least the next six months.

While the games may be postponed, we’re not ready to close the book on the 2020 U.S. National Team — and neither is the Ultimate community. “For many of these athletes, representing the United States in international competition is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and one of sports’ most prestigious honors,” says USA Ultimate’s Andy Lee. “Despite the unfortunate circumstances resulting in the cancellation or postponement of WFDF events in 2020, it’s important to recognize the accomplishment of being selected to the U.S. National Team and acknowledge the significant commitment athletes have made in pursuing their dream. While we can’t guarantee playing in a world championship tournament, we hope to replicate as much of the U.S. National Team experience as possible, which includes having a uniform and apparel.”    

After trying out in 2016, Five Ultimate co-founder Qxhna Titcomb was thrilled to make the womxn’s team for 2020 — and devastated when she heard the news about the WUGC postponement. “I woke up to a text from my sister [USNT coach Rohre Titcomb] of an emoji with a broken heart. Once I opened Twitter and saw an article from Ultiworld, I understood what the emoji meant. I hadn't gotten out of bed yet and was stunned. My partner Ben wrapped me in a hug and didn't need to say anything — he knew that it was a complete shock. I was frustrated and angry. Something I had worked for so many years for was no longer going to happen.”

Like the rest of the world, Titcomb and other USNT players have gone into isolation in an effort to help stop the spread of the virus. During this time, Titcomb has struggled with conflicting feelings of sadness, frustration, and guilt. “So many other people have been much more impacted by COVID and this pandemic,” she says. “Not playing ultimate is just not that big of a deal. When I think about all of the first responders and health care workers that are counting on society to stay socially distanced, it just feels like playing is not worth it right now — it's not worth the potential extra stress on the healthcare system at all. And I'm also realizing that it's OK to feel both of those emotions — frustration and guilt. They are conflicting, inform each other, and are both valid emotions.” 

Despite the events of the last few weeks, the womxn's team has been setting up virtual meetings, checking in with coaches, and splitting up into groups to brainstorm ways to create connections with each other and the wider community. “We all talked about how we just wanted to build connections with each other in these really difficult times,” Titcomb says of a recent call. “We acknowledged that before connecting with the wider community, we would want to start by getting to know each other better first, understanding our own values, and building our own team identity. We thought that connecting with the wider community after doing that could be possible.”

The USNT players are being encouraged to proudly wear their uniforms, despite the fact that they may not be able to play together. “It’s unique in the sense that this gear may never be worn on the field of play, which is disappointing of course, but also is a collector’s item in a way,” Lee says of this year’s USNT collection. “It carries with it a special significance and marks a distinct time in our nation’s history. And it’s hopefully something our U.S. National Team athletes can wear proudly and say ‘I represented the United States.’ That’s something that can never be taken away from them.”

New this year, players and fans can purchase special Pride-themed USNT gear. “Equity, diversity and inclusion are foundational guiding principles of our sport, community and organization, which includes efforts to support LGBTQ+ initiatives and programming,” Lee says. “We have a history of partnering with Five Ultimate in support of those issues. Creating a ‘pride’ edition of a U.S. National Team jersey, which can hold dual significance, can help raise awareness of, and funding for those efforts.”

Check out the 2020 U.S. National Team collection at FiveUltimate.com. On sale through May 15.

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Even without games, an ultimate team is still a team

Even without games, an ultimate team is still a team

Rohre Titcomb

With the Ultimate world on hold due to COVID-19, Five Ultimate co-founder, Seattle Cascades co-owner, and USNT coach Rohre Titcomb has been thinking a lot about her teams — and leaning on them to get through this difficult time. Keep reading for Rohre's thoughts on what it really means to be part of a team.

Ultimate has been a consistent thread in my life since I was 8 years old. It was always there for me. At first, it was pickup in Seattle and the inaugural Spring Reign, and then it was throwing between AP US History and Geometry classes at boarding school. Then, it was bleeding green for Dartmouth, proudly helping us earn our first-ever quarterfinals appearance at College Nationals — back then, Dartmouth used to be fighting just to make Nationals. Then it was commuting from Maine to Boston to play my first club season with Brutesquad. In 2010, after a cross-country return home, I found my heart with Seattle Riot, where I’ve played, captained or coached since

The corresponding life milestones that others (read: non-ultimate fanatics) might be looking at would be graduations and first loves and first jobs and life moves. But to us ultimate players, the cadence of our lives is measured in tournaments played, throws mastered, new teammates found, personal bests in the gym, and roster spots earned. Club or college or high school seasons mark the years, as do friendships forged on tracks, tournament victories, ACL tears (three for me), and for the lucky who earn it, medals and championships, too. Each group we work with is something unique and special and inimitable: a team.

Us ultimate players, we’re measuring our lives in teams. And in seasons with those teams. 

There is something special about being on a team. You go from being an individual to being a teammate. When you sweat or bleed or puke or suffer alongside someone in pursuit of a goal greater than the both of you, there is a bond formed that is unlike any other. The connections between teammates are unique and unlike any other. The best teams embrace differences, viewing them as opportunities to bring out the best in everyone. They strive to maximize the superpower of every individual involved, and they work relentlessly, unified, toward a common goal. In that pursuit, each individual finds a way to contribute to the success, and they get the gratification associated with the work they put in. Being a great teammate, that means something.

My favorite part of the Team USA application this year was, “who is your favorite teammate, and why?” Reading all the responses brought so much joy, and said so much about the applicant. Each person’s answer spoke to their values, to their aspirations, to what truly matters to them. There are many ways to be a great teammate, and teams help us discover the best in ourselves, as well as giving us an opportunity to work on our growth. 

Teams provide structure and meaning and depth to our lives. But at its core, what is a team? What makes a group of people a team? Without a season, without practices or games, is a team still a team? 

Throughout the last month, I have been musing on this. With both the WUL and AUDL seasons postponed and WUGC canceled/delayed (which of the two it is, we still don’t know), I’ve seen all my coaching commitments and the ultimate community put into a state of flux. My teams, stripped of their immediate competitive context, have looked to me, to our leadership, and to each other, to wonder what's next.

In each conversation, I’ve come back to the fact that a team is not just about the ultimate we play on a field. I have been reminded constantly that a team is much more than the medals it tries to earn. It’s the sum of all the relationships formed between all individuals. It’s the sum of each step sprinted, burpee jumped, and disc thrown. It’s the cumulative hours of warmups completed, songs sung-along to in the car, film watched to scout, and so much more. 

Right now, this week, the Cascades open players are shining a light and lifting me up. A few weeks ago, we proclaimed, yes, we are a team, and will continue to be one. Sure, we’re building relationships differently, virtually, than we might otherwise. For example, we have a Slack channel (#plantsclub) where we post pictures of our plants and give advice when needed. We run practices where we watch film or discuss our mental toughness goals and how to stay accountable to maintaining our fitness. We lift, we watch film, we run stairs, and together, collectively, we yearn for the day we get to put our cleats on again. Only time will tell how we look when we take the field, but my challenge to our players was this: let’s be the most fit, most-tight-knit AUDL team out there. This, we can control.  

This does not come without its challenges. But like every other season, like every other competitive context, I keep going back to focusing on the controllables. (Is it an understatement and probably insensitive to compare COVID-19 to forehand-defeating wind at regionals? Yes. But the fundamental response I have as an athlete is the same: focus on controllables.)

My controllables? My hydration, my sleep, my consumption of news, my nutrition, my workout routine, my posture at my desk, who I reach out to, my Facetime dates, what film I watch. The focus on those controllables is what gets me through these dark times. 

I awaken each day with fear a-plenty, but thanks to ultimate, most days I can focus on what is within my control. And in doing so, I find a lift in my heart thanks to the resiliency our sport taught me. 

I hope you too can find that lift through this community, and through this incredible sport. 

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COVID-19 and Five Ultimate: Our response to Coronavirus

COVID-19 and Five Ultimate: Our response to Coronavirus
As major sports institution-partners, like USA Ultimate and the American Ultimate Disc League, continue to release announcements regarding cancellations and postponements, all of our brands are working diligently to ensure that you have what you need to be ready to hit the fields when it is safe to do so once again. Stay healthy. Look out for each other. Continue reading