October 2, 2017

The Current

In this week's edition:

  • Letter from the Editor
  • #CheatWeekVAN
  • Oh Yes She Did! Weekly Highlight Clip
  • Announcements

Letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

A year ago, in my first semester of business school at the University of British Columbia, I stood up to present on this random idea called “The National Ultimate League.” With a disjointed set of slides and a wavering tone in my voice, I talked for the next 15 minutes about the possibility of paying women in ultimate.

Like most millennials, I graduated college in 2014 with an unsatisfying job and misguided ambition. I worked long hours in the nonprofit sector, watching my coworkers burn out from emotional exhaustion. I partied, I played ultimate, I joined the White Noise Collective of Rhode Island to learn how to use my white privilege for change, and I contemplated what to do with my life. Even though I had played sports all my life, (in fact, it was the one thing I consistently did), I assumed that the professional sports world was not for me.

And who’s to say it is? When I go to watch professional sports games in local bars, I’m reminded about the misogyny of sports culture; a culture that encourages men to play for the excitement of the money, the cars, and the women; a culture that allows men to beat up women and get away with it; a culture that wants to talk more about a women’s femininity than her success; and a culture that focuses so much on the gender binary that we attack Trans people for trying to gain a competitive advantage.

Many slide decks and nervous presentations later, I still struggle to explain what life is all about, and what the heck does Upwind do with it? I often feel like I’m running into a wall; being a woman in the business of women’s sports feels like trying to sell organic eggplant to McDonald’s. I often question if any of this stress is worth it and if I’m actually making a difference that isn’t just deeply stabilizing the systems I live in. For example, am I actually using my social location of privilege to make the world a better place? Or am I stuck in a white savior complex just looking for my kindness to be rewarded? Am I fighting the patriarchy if I have short hair and wear suits to business events? Or am I deeply entrenched in a patriarchal system where I believe that the man in the suit is the person to be? When I wear a #BlackLivesMatter headband and kneel for the national anthem, am I helping to dismantle the cradle-to-grave prison pipeline or just trying to be cool?

Upwind Ultimate today is far from the company we’ll be in years to come. As its founder and CEO, it’s these questions I’ll keep coming back to as we look to use business as a tool to achieve social change in sports. However, I haven’t done all this alone, nor will I be able to do so moving forward. I’d like to take this moment to thank everyone who has helped me over this past year (and past many years) to bring Upwind to its current state.

Thank you to Qxhna Titcomb for your leadership in the All Star Tour and for being an early soundboard to my wild ideas; to Travis McGrath for your expertise in Google forms and your courage to ask for feedback; to Jesse Shofner, for being our first feature; to Anna Nazarov and Loryn Kanemaru, who gave me feedback on my earlier presentations; to UltiPhotos for letting us use their photos at a discounted price; to Luke Johnson of Fulcrum Media for your advice on what’s possible and your energy to work beyond that limit; to the other Luke Johnson, my lovely cohost for The Upline Cut, for your editing skills and willingness to embarrass yourself with me; to Lili Gu, Julia Johnson, Mia Greenwald, and Brittany Kaplan, for looking at equity through a beautiful, creative lens; to Michelle Ng for founding Without Limits, Hana Kawai for founding AGE UP, and Zara Cadoux and Heather Ann Brauer for creating the Girls’ Ultimate Movement – thank you for showing the world that women can make organizational moves in ultimate; to my current Board: Chip Chang, Claire Chastain, Zara, Rena Kawabata, and Hannah Leathers, for your continuous feedback and energy to keep me honest and reasonable with my expectations; to Jenny Fey and Jen Pashley, who, as former player advisors, have been fantastic resources in the past; and to my family, both biological and chosen, for still loving me through my sleep-deprived, hangry, and stressed freakouts of being an entrepreneur.

Finally, thank you to those who I have not named and who are rarely named for their work, to the women who have been spoken over by their male counterparts and yet, still continue to speak out; to Trans and gender nonconforming people who constantly challenge the binaries in our lives; to people of color who exist and thrive in a world perpetuated by white supremacy; to disabled bodies who refuse to limit themselves by what people tell them they can’t do; and to other targeted oppressed groups who are still kicking ass and taking names while staring adversity in the face.

We’ve come a long way, and still have a lot to do. Stay tuned and join the crew!

Laurel Oldershaw
Founder and CEO, Upwind Ultimate LLC.


vancouver cheat week instagram.jpg

The season is over and you no longer have to be on that strict diet nor your same workout schedule. Let's celebrate together over food, drinks, and dancing! Check out the full schedule here, and if you're in Vancouver be sure to come by! #CheatWeekVAN

Week passes on sale now! Pick one up today to receive a discounted price for attending all of our events. 

Highlight of the Week


Angela Zhu of Boston Brute Squad is going for her third national championship in a row (2016 club champion & 2017 college champion)! Good luck to all college players back in town and good luck Angela on your quest for 3 in a row!


  • Just a couple more days to sign up for Upwind Academy! Our first course is Understanding Whiteness, taught by Board Members Chip Chang and Zara Cadoux. 
  • We'll be at USAU Nationals! Keep your eyes out for fun events we're planning.

Questions? Comments? Email us at upwindultimate@gmail.com.
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