Upwind Academy

Online Courses About the Intersection of
Sports and Society

  Denver Molly Brown  warms up at Pro Championships 2017. (Laurel Oldershaw)

Denver Molly Brown warms up at Pro Championships 2017. (Laurel Oldershaw)

It doesn't matter how hard you train on the field if you're not prepared for what happens off of it. These courses explores different issues in society using our common lens of ultimate fans. 

We are here to meet the demand for educational opportunities that link experiences in the sport to larger systems. Players and coaches are asking for more tools to build equitable programs and personally push back against racism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, religious discrimination, transphobia, and other forms of oppression. We are offering several different ways to grow: online courses, in person trainings, and organizational consulting.

Chip Chang and Zara Cadoux, Upwind Board Members, will oversee the development of the Academy as Co-Directors of Education.

Information on Courses:

  • 4 weeks long
  • Taught online, over the Zoom platform, and also utilizing the Thinkific educational platform
  • Cost: $50-100 sliding scale (Scholarship available - just note in application)
    • $20 flat rate for students


Understanding Whiteness
Chip Chang

Understanding Whiteness is a 4 session course, designed like a college class and grounded in academic scholarship. It seeks to make whiteness visible. Whiteness exists as ‘normal,’ status quo, assumed. In order to dismantle it, we must first bring it into the light. What are the distinctions between whiteness and white people? How does whiteness exist in law and order, social institutions, economic value, and cultural practices?.

Mondays January 8, 15, 22, 29
5-6:30PM PST, 8-9:30PM EST

Coaching Female Athletes
Zara Cadoux and Simon Pollock

Coaching Female Athletes provides participants with the context for why and how female athletes receive coaching messages differently than male athletes. Importantly, we will push back on the notion that the way we coach male athletes is normative/right and the way we coach female athletes is ‘softer’/modified. First, the class will gain shared language on what sexism is, how socialization occurs, and what obstacles female athletes are facing before they even step onto the field. Using this foundation, we will explore how female athletes respond to coaches. Finally, each participant will make and share an action plan for how to integrate this new information into their coaching. Coaching Female Athletes is a course for coaches of any gender, however male coaches are highly encouraged to take the class.

Participants will be paired with a learning partner for the duration of this course. The purpose is to provide space to process the material we go over in class and to have a feedback partner while you craft your action plan. The 30 minute sessions will be structured by the instructors with guiding questions, but scheduled individually with your partner.

Wednesdays January 10, 17, 24, 31
5:00-6:00pm PST, 8:00-9:00pm EST
30 minutes outside of class per week is required with your learning partner


Talking About Trans*
Jenna Weiner

Talking About Trans* is a 4 week introductory course into what it means to be transgender, and how we talk about trans issues in society and in sports. First, we will seek to establish a common language through a discussion of the terms and standard questions that most often come up when talking about transgender topics. We will then read and discuss the firsthand experiences of transgender individuals, and try and understand what life is like as a trans person. Finally, we will address questions about trans people in sports, and what it means to be an ally to trans folks in your communities.

Tuesdays February 6, 13, 20, 27
5:00-6:30pm PST, 8:00-9:30pm EST

Building Gender Equity Leadership in Mixed Ultimate
Bert Abbott, Kellie Koester, Natalie Jamerson

Are you a leader, captain, or coach of a mixed ultimate team wanting to dig deeper into gender equity? Join Bert, Kellie, and Natalie as we unpack how sexism shows up in ultimate and what you can do about it. You'll learn and practice ways to bring equitable values, tools, and strategies back to your team. In our four-part series, you'll gain a foundation in gender and sexism; build skills to diagnose issues your team may encounter; improve your leadership and facilitation skills; and build a plan to enter your next season prepared. Open to mixed players of all levels who hold, or wish to hold, a leadership role on their team.

Sundays February 11, 20*, 25, March 4
5:00-6:30pm PST; 8:00-9:30pm EST

*The 20th is a Tuesday.


White Feminism and Gender Equity
Zara Cadoux

The gender-equity movement in ultimate has taken off over the last few years, but is it intersectional? This course will set the current gender-equity movement in the context of the history of feminist struggle, focusing specifically on the whitewashing of feminist movements. We will explore white women’s roles in reinforcing white supremacy/racism while ostensibly fighting sexism. Grounded in an understanding that white supremacy and patriarchy are interlocking, the class will challenge participants to envision a gender-equity movement in ultimate that is truly intersectional.

This course requires a basic understanding of whiteness as a system. Upwind highly recommends taking Understanding Whiteness or an equivalent educational experience as a prerequisite. If you have any questions about whether this course is right for you, please email upwindultimate@gmail.com.

Participants will be paired with a learning partner for the duration of this course. The purpose is to provide space to process the material we go over and prepare for the next class. The 30 minute sessions will be structured by the instructor with guiding questions, but scheduled individually with your partner.

Wednesdays March 7, 14, 21, 28
5:00-6:00pm PST, 8:00-9:00pm EST

*30 minutes outside of class per week is required with your learning partner

Navigating the Male-Dominated Space of Ultimate Coaching
Eileen Murray

In this course we will explore how to navigate the ultimate coaching space as a cis female. This space is male-dominated, especially at the more competitive levels of play, which presents obstacles and challenges for both novice and experienced coaches. We will discuss these obstacles and challenges and then move towards strategies for navigating and facilitating change in the space.

Thursdays March 8, 15, 22, 29
5:30-7:00 pm PST, 8:30-10:00 pm EST


Asian American History and Identity
Chip Chang

In 1882, after massive anti-immigrant protests and rhetoric, the Chinese Exclusion Act ended mass immigration from China into the US. And by 1924, the rest of Asia would be banned from immigrating to the US. During World War II, 120,000 Japanese Americans living on the West Coast were incarcerated in concentration camps throughout the US - 60% were US citizens, half of whom were children. In 1965, Yuri Kochiyama held Malcolm X in her arms as he died. And in 1982, Vincent Chin was murdered by two white men, beaten to death by a baseball bat in front of a McDonald’s in Detroit, Michigan, days before his wedding. Neither men faced jail time for this hate crime. How are immigration bans, incarceration, Yuri Kochiyama, and Vincent Chin’s murder related to one another? From yellow peril to model minorities, this course investigates the buried histories of Asian America and complicates mainstream narratives of Asian American identity.

Wednesdays April 4, 11, 18, 25
5:00-6:30pm PST; 8:00-9:30pm EST

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Training and Consulting

We believe in the power of the training room as a place to be challenged, form connections, and grow together. We are excited to offer in-person training opportunities. We will kick off 2018 with a training entitled “How to be a Gender-Equity Advocate” with Zara Cadoux and Russell Wallack. This training seeks to situate the gender-equity fight in ultimate in the larger context of structural sexism. Participants will gain question-posing skills that will help them align their actions with dismantling systems rather than reinforcing them.

If you’re interested to bring this training to you or want us to design something for your community, please contact Laurel at: laurel@upwindultimate.com.

Many gender-equity advocates around the country are logging an incredible number of volunteer hours with local leagues, organizations, and teams providing feedback. To formalize this process, we are pleased to offer consulting packages based on your organization’s needs. To find out more and get a quote, please contact Laurel at: laurel@upwindultimate.com.