April 18, 2018

The Current

In this week's edition:

The Crosswind Tour: City by City Reflection

What a trip! I'm definitely still processing, and will release a more personal reflection in a couple weeks. Here are the top 7 lessons & notes from the tour:


1. At every city, there was a wide range of understanding for what “equity” meant, and how it was different than “equality”. Equity acknowledges the historic and current conditions that have marginalized groups of people based on an identity, and attempts to amend these past and current injustices and biases. Equality, however, assumes that everyone comes from the same playing field and deserves equal treatment. Equality fails to acknowledge that others come from disadvantaged and marginalized positions. Most people recognize this image of people looking over a fence at a baseball game, and it came out at every city. This image is taken from our FAQ published in 2016 with the support of the Gender Equity Action Group. 

2. When we hosted a singular generic conversation with the topic of “gender equity discussion” we got more attendance. However, events where we focused the topic, we had deeper discussions.

3. The most accessible lens in equity discussions was gender. Economics was the second most common intersection, followed by race, sexuality, and ability in that order.

4. Common themes and issues that came across cities included women having a bad time playing pick-up ultimate; recruitment and retention of  women for local leagues; how race impacts economics which impacts access to ultimate; potential ways we can expand into new communities; how to support nonbinary folks in our single and mixed gender play; and creative new ways to start fundraising right away to support local high school and youth teams develop.

5. Some of the most successful projects heard from different cities include:

  • Atlanta, GA - Atlanta hosts workout sessions for everyone in the community who wants to get stronger. #ATLWins
  • Austin, TX - Austin hosts a great 3/4 league, which always hosts 4 women on the field. This mixed league drafted men first, and all men who wanted to play could then get drafted in a men's league. 
  • Dallas, TX - Dallas put this great image together on how to grow and support women in ultimate. Check it out!  
  • San Diego, CA – San Diego hosts beginner's clinics for womxn 45 minutes before each league game. This responsibility is spread out among a group of 10-15 people, which makes it easier for people to commit as volunteers. San Diego is also very explicit around using the word "womxn" to invite both women and nonbinary folks to events.
  • Big cities hosted women's only leagues which were inclusive spaces for growing women's ultimate in the community. 
  • Any city that paid coaches especially at the youth level had more success growing youth ultimate in the community than other cities. 

6. There is a divide right now between conversations happening at the most elite level and conversations at the local recreational level, which included differences in topics and understanding of topics. This was especially heightened in larger cities than in smaller cities. Smaller cities had a wider representation of the different levels than larger cities. This is likely due to Upwind's focus in elite ultimate as seen by our presence at USA Ultimate Club Nationals this past year and their Triple Crown Tour events. 

7. There are consistently 1-10 people, most frequently women, in each city who are doing all of the equity-related work and who are constantly asked to take on more and more. There are also many people, most frequently men, in these cities who say, “I want to help, what can we do?” These questions were very common on the tour, as there's a desire for quick solutions. One of our "Safe Space" guidelines was to Accept Nonclosure - and accept that this work is a long-term journey, which responds to the history of social issues that have taken place over the last hundreds of years. What’s awesome is that the ultimate community has some very strong leaders, many of whom are women, and many of whom have expressed real solutions very recently. If you want to take this issue seriously, if you want to use the word "equity" in your development, be honest in when you use that term, and come to conversations with those change-makers ready with potential ideas and be open to their feedback. The largest section of USAU membership is the college division, which means we are a pretty educated community. I believe we have the potential to be innovative to do things differently. Let's get to it. 

- Laurel Oldershaw

Highlight of the Week


The Crosswind Tour is practically over and we are excited to present our first ever showcase game in a partnership with Bay Area Disc Association, called the Rising Stars Showcase Game! Enjoy the awesome footage from Rodney Chen. #XWTour

Upcoming Events


April 19 - Formal Bubbly Send Off

Join us for the last event of The Crosswind Tour and send us off with some champagne and special Upwind drinks! #XWTour

This is a FORMAL event - so please bring your favorite bowtie, tie, dress, flannel, jersey and be prepared to keep it classy!