February 7, 2019
In this week's edition:
Message from CEO
Message from Intern
This week in Social Media
Black History in Ultimate - shout out to players on the USA U24 National Teams!
Hey College Students - we want you!
Message from the CEO
Dear readers and followers of Upwind,
Over the last year and a half, Upwind Ultimate LLC. has expanded its reach into many different directions: multimedia, promotion, education, events, and party tournament teams. We’ve had the opportunity to work with ultimate players across the world and different competition levels, and we’ve proudly supported the intersectional gender equity movement in ultimate since our inception.
Although we’ve done a wide range of activities, a history that consequently spread the company too thin, all projects have remained near to our mission of increasing the economic industry around womxn in ultimate. Specifically, that means looking at truly increasing the value of womxn in ultimate, eventually leading to fair compensation for the countless volunteer hours to make intersectional gender equity a reality.
Moving forward, Upwind will branch into two directions. Upwind Ultimate LLC. will continue to be a for-profit entity with the focus on building economic industries around womxn in ultimate. In the short-term, this will look like more events similar to those of The Crosswind Tour, and all events that include alcohol and drinking to explore the totality of the sports experience and environment will be branded under the name Pubwind. Katiana Hutchinson, Upwind’s current student intern, will be exploring the development of the Policy Institute for Equity in Sports (PIES), which will be the non-profit wing of Upwind. PIES will explore policy change through research, education, and civic action. Research will encompass literature reviews and general analysis, while also funding our own research around impactful policy change. Our education wing will make theoretical learning accessible, and our civic action team will make active recommendations on policies and civic engagement. Lastly, PIES will research economic responsibility, with the leverage to hold the for-profit wing of Upwind accountable for its action and investments.
In many ways, the future of Upwind is unclear, much like the future of ultimate. Though the light of Upwind might sometimes dwindle down to a flicker, the bonfire is coming. It’s the work of you all that continues to inspire us and remind us that this movement is not temporary and not satisfied with simple handouts. Progress will come because we as a community decide to make it. And we’ll be there every step of the way.
Laurel Oldershaw (she/her/hers)
CEO, Upwind Ultimate LLC.
Message from the Student Intern
My name is Katiana. I would say I need not a last name, like Rihanna, or Oprah, or Amarosa, because after all, my name ends in an “ahhh,” but just in case one was to mix me up with the other Katiana that they knew, allow me to introduce myself as Katiana Hutchinson, B.A. (P.S. I do not have a bachelor’s degree, considering how I might have forgotten to “officially” apply for graduation last semester, before learning I would be returning for a victory lap). I am a fifth year at University of Colorado (CU) Boulder, proudly playing my fourth year with Colorado Kali.
At CU, I study Spanish. Was this choice made so that someday I might be able to effectively converse with Antonio Banderas or Javier Bardem in all their sexy, Latin glory? Perhaps. Spanish has been quite the marvelous undertaking, and yet, despite my academic accomplishments and my being bilingual, I do not possess the knowledge sufficient enough to make as much as one sentence to people in my home country of Haiti. I know not a lick of Creole. Thus, whenever I return to the left side of la isla bonita, a feeling that is all too familiar permeates my very being and paralyzes my sensibilities. My breathing slows and I become heavily paranoid with the judgmental gazes of the Haitian people, piercing through my hopeless veneer of spoiled Americanism.
I have spent the better part of my life in America, enduring rejection throughout conversation by my own people. And now, I have spent the better part of my college career playing a sport that harbors so few Black players, I fear the same brand of rejection from other Black athletes throughout the sports community. Afterall, with a sport like ultimate, is the Kali jersey I put on another veneer of white privilege?
Make no mistake, it is always a thrill to share the field with a sister, however, this feeling is not undivided happiness. Far from it. This looming feeling pulls at my heartstrings like a shoelace. It pulls in both directions.
This peculiar sensation is what is known as double consciousness. As described by the author who coined the term himself, W.E.B. DuBois, this term is described as a “sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others” where one grapples with the sensation of their own twoness with “two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body.”
Double-consciousness. Because I see so few Black players on the field, I can never stop asking myself “Do you really belong here? What do the Black athletes think of you playing frisbee? When will my Blackness interfere with the ‘Spirit of the Game’ at Prez Day? Am I allowed to be upset when I see other teams wearing braids and cornrows at Centex? Should being Black make a difference on the field? Idk, does it make a difference being a woman?”
These questions and feelings intensify for me during the chilling days of February.
It is during this month when I resurrect my code-switching - not between English and Spanish. During this month, my colored family on campus makes an effort to know what kind of African-American I am - I am not African American. During this month, I go on a frantic bender to see who might be willing to do my hair for a discounted price - or drive 30 minutes to Denver for the closest Black woman salon. During this month, I reserve time to learn what my middle school and high school and college would not teach me - Black history and particularly the hidden figures in sports. During this month, I learn more about myself than the other eleven months of the year and I figure, the US ultimate community ought to learn more about its brothers and sisters, with whom they share a spot on the roster, as well.
Welcome to me, world of ultimate. You’re catching me in a bit of a mood.
My sense of double-consciousness has fueled my fire when insisting that the fight to make ultimate frisbee more inclusive be taken seriously. I know I am not alone. Taking on this role as a student intern, for a company whose platform was built on the foundation of intersectionality and social justice, brings me much hope and optimism.
I look up to the heavens and consider those who came before. Can I be a trailblazing athlete and activist as well? Could Leonard Bates (1940)? Could Tommie Smith or John Carlos (1968)? The Syracuse 8 (1970)? Craig Hodges (1992)? Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (1996)? Can Andrew Hawkins (2014)? Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt, Jared Cook, Chris Givens, Stedman Bailey (2014)? Can Kaepernick? Can Serena?
Being a Black athlete in America and excelling is the greatest privilege and hardship I’ve experienced in my young life and I just can’t get enough. Lucky for us, however, I’ve only just begun.
To my talented brothers and sisters, Happy Black History Month.
To everyone else, Happy Black History Month.
Power to the People ✊
Katiana Hutchinson (she/her/hers)
Student Intern, Upwind Ultimate LLC.
Sports give us heroes and mentors and fans and family and we look to athletics in general to help us better navigate cultural representation. There are times when the culture represents the sport, and there are times when the sport represents the culture. Considering just how codependent sports and news have become, all in the span of 20 years, the news media share an extraordinary privilege of dictating the discourse around athletics and ultimately, the discourse around our culture.
A good friend of mine, Brielle, studied Linguistics at CU and I recall her telling me once that when a culture develops a language, it is the second generation that determines its grammar and its rules. (The love language Ultimate Frisbee would definitely be “Words of Affirmation”). This got me thinking….In 2018, ultimate frisbee turned 50 as a sport, which means, we who are now in our 20’s are neither the matriarchs nor the patriarchs of this ultimate family, but rather, the second generation. We are the ones afforded this incredible opportunity to write the rules that make the most sense to us. Those entering their careers as sports journalists should embrace this great responsibility in this day and age. For in no way is a journalist’s job now obsolete, but their fans, with the presence of social media, can hear directly from the athletes themselves. Quite possibly, it will not be too long before lousy sports journalism, particularly in ultimate frisbee, will be as outdated as a Garmin GPS.
As someone who joined ultimate frisbee at the beginning of college, it was very unclear to me just how vast a network like ultimate was. In today’s world, the coverage of sports, in general, by the media breeds more information about the game and the coaches and the players than ever before. Much like athletes who are involved in any other sport, the social media following of some frisbee players is indicative of their influence on the community on either a national or international stage.
Within the course of a single season, athletes can become superstars, appearing on USA Ultimate’s 50th Anniversary video on Facebook and Twitter, or highlighted in a feature done by Ultiworld or have their photo go viral on Instagram via UltiPhotos. The growing rise in attention in this sport is a promising observation, as now professional leagues, like the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) and the Premier Ultimate League (PUL), have been added to the sport.
The way by which we receive our news coverage about ultimate has also undergone a dramatic transformation since its birthday 50 years ago is overwhelming. (Being a Millennial/Gen Z has been great for this reason alone. If you haven’t tried it yet, TRY IT). Now, I can watch from anywhere in the world Molly Brown versus Colombia Revolution or U-24 Worlds games from Perth, Australia and see players with whom I’ve had the pleasure of sharing the field. My team can purchase a package and watch any filmed college game to better research our upcoming opponents and obsess about the minute details of their offense. Love for this game has been recognized the world over and we are equipped with what feels like 24-hours of coverage and occasional recognition from ESPN.
Colorado is riddled with athletic potential and genius. Too often, I feel like the extent to which I am involved and engaged in frisbee is by sheer luck. One of my former coaches, Lauren Boyle, is a two-time U24 Coach. One of my coaches, Christina, is the twin of Jimmy Mickle which is a big deal for AUDL fans (if you’re into that sort of thing). One of my coaches is Claire Chastain who helped to lead the boycott of AUDL (From what I gather, there is an excess number of Y chromosomes residing in that league).
So then why are so few teammates of mine familiar with the PUL, which will debut this April 2019? Why are the names Stephanie Pritchard and Ronnie Eder not household names for CU ultimate? I suppose one response would be because we frequently receive news in ultimate by word of mouth and social media. Or perhaps, it is because there are simply so many players and teams to follow, and the only way I know how to start is by beginning in my college state of Colorado? Maybe the short attention spans of our generation don’t give justice to frisbee’s growing number of organizations. Maybe the presence of these various organizations are short lived given their brief agendas. Maybe their goals are five miles wide and six inches deep resulting in an unachievable mission. Maybe frisbee is just becoming too big for the world.
Maybe it’s Maybelline.
What does this mean for those, like myself, who are newbies to this phenomenon and want to understand how to best stay involved and informed? Word of mouth. Twitter. Snapchat. Which is best?
As history has taught us, sport and social movements go hand in hand. The culture of America and sports at this moment, particularly with kneeling during the anthem, has issued decisiveness and rage. Ultimate frisbee, with its strawberry shortcake spirit of the game, serves as a counter-culture to this era, it serves as the OffWhite streetwear to the NFL’s high fashion Fendi. While toxic masculinity were the rules written in for sports like Football, the narrative around all things football (commercials especially) reflects a culture that the ultimate frisbee community has made clear has no room for this new current rushing in.
The narrative around frisbee is something very different. The narrative around frisbee reflects the new Americana, its youth culture, its progressivism. It is a rejection of gender norms. It is having intersectionality discussions at college nationals. It is yet to be determined.
Moving forward, this section of The Current will explore important news articles that relate current events and sports, and analyze how we consume that information.
This week in Social Media
Top 5 Best Tweets
In solidarity with Stephanie Pritchard and Ronnie Eder - LA Aviators Boycott
Round of applause for Pitt - University of Pittsburgh High School Clinic
#Pregnancy - Aly Steinfeld
Live Ultimate - Ultimate Problems
Non-binary athletes - WI_Ultimate
Instagram Post for a good chuckle - Cutter v. Handle
Black History in Ultimate - shout out to folks on the USA U24 National Teams!
Congratulations on these College players making Black History for USA while attending U-24 Worlds in Germany this summer!
Stan Birdsong - Carleton College (Mixed)
Christian Boxley - Georgetown University (Men’s)
Samiya Ismail - Western Washington University (Women’s)
Michelle McGhee - Stanford University (Women’s)
Darryl Stanley (Men’s Coach)
Special shoutout to Dominique Fontenette on her nomination for the World Games Athlete of the Year 2018.
Hey College Students - we want you!
Thankfully, Spirit of the Game teaches us to speak our mind and stand up for ourselves, which we want to embolden here. We at Upwind are working to build resources designed for college students, the largest group out of USA Ultimate memberships. In order to make these resources impactful, we want to hear from you on your current ultimate experience and what you might want to know more about. We are also building a College Student Ambassador Network and would love for you to sign up and participate! Any questions you might have, fill out the form, and we’ll get back to you.
All college students, regardless of gender, race, class, sexual orientation, etc. are invited and encouraged to participate.
Pubwind presents Cocktails & a Conversation on Love & Sports
February 8, 2019 - Washington, DC - 6-10 pm
Join us for a cocktail hour and guided conversation right around Valentine's Day so we can chat about how the sports industry impacts our understanding of love and our culture of consent. Cocktails will include homemade infusions such as Cold Brew Bourbon, Lavender Gin, Rose Petal Rum, Strawberry Basil Vodka, and Spicy Ginger Lime Tequila. We will have FREE FOOD and FREE DRINKS starting at 6 pm.
Black History Month
If you miss it, don’t worry.
Ain’t just a month
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