What is your team’s connection to ultimate now?

My name is Rachel and I’ve been playing ultimate for the last seven years! I’m currently entering my third year as captain and second year as President for Temple Women’s Ultimate (TUF). TUF is a D-I womxn’s team located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and we are relatively young: 2014-2015 was our first year of being a separate club team from our men’s club team (TU Alert). Many of our current players and alumni are active participants in the Philadelphia Area Disc Alliance, also known as PADA, and play for a multitude of club teams like Philly Twist, Hot Metal, GMG, Broad City, JugHandle and more. We’ve also had some players come from well-known youth programs such as Watchung Hills, Lower Merion, Radnor and others, as well as YCC teams like Philly Forge and DEVYL — which has given a few of our players the opportunity to go back and help assist those teams during local tournaments, practices or camps.

What aspect about ultimate is your team most passionate about? Why?

Spirit of the Game (SOTG) is definitely what our team is most passionate about. We consistently practice respect on and off the field, and we always admire players and teams that do the same. While sportsmanship is seen across all sports, SOTG remains unshared. Being a self-officiated sport while also maintaining attentiveness and regard amongst the participating players and coaches is one thing that our team loves about ultimate. 

How did ultimate impact you and your teammates’ lives in college? How does it impact your lives now?

It’s no question that ultimate can change your life. For many of my teammates in college, it gave them a new group of people to call family and a new interest that soon sparked into a passion. The sport offered a way to distract themselves from that next assignment or exam, but also brought along a special, tight-knit and weird community that made them feel right at home. It was easily found to be a safe place that was conducive to every player’s individual personal growth, not just physically, but also mentally. 

I’ve never cared about anything as much as I care about ultimate. Hard work was emphasized to me so early on when I entered the sport, and it has easily translated to other aspects of life; I am sure my teammates and coaches would agree. 

What is the Ultimate Foundation doing that excites your team the most?

While the Ultimate Foundation has several projects in place, as a college womxn’s team, we are most excited about the Girls’ Ultimate Movement (GUM) clinics and events. We often struggle to recruit players to join our team, like other teams in the division, and we find it essential that youth girls’ ultimate expands and grows as much interest as the youth boys’ and men’s divisions. 

Why did your team give to the Ultimate Foundation?

While it is a bit difficult to choose one reason (or even a few) for our team donating to the Ultimate Foundation, I think it’s safe to say that we all simply love this sport and want to see it advance forward. Not to mention that the community is so welcoming to everyone, as many of our current players and alumni joined our team without having any prior experience or knowledge of the game. 

My high school coach always emphasized to us that as players, we should find any opportunity to give back to the ultimate community because it was so evident there was a large gain from playing the sport and even more from the people we met. This game runs heavily on inclusiveness and constant support, and we hope that the Ultimate Foundation and its projects can continue to expose more people to it.

Why does this cause matter to your team?

Womxn’s ultimate and youth girls’ ultimate have evolved immensely over the last few years and it’s been incredible to witness! As players in the women’s college division, we sometimes feel there isn’t enough credit given to other womxn’s teams where it is due, or that the men’s division is more popular because it is simply “better.” When I was in high school, my teammates and a few others felt a lot of stigma against ourselves just because we were girls. We weren’t expected to be as aggressive as our boys’ team, and if we were, it was looked at in a more negative light than when the boys did it. Passion can make one do a lot of things, and people shouldn’t stray away from how they feel or what they want because others think differently. I would love for players in the youth girls’ division and younger to learn this early on. I sure wish I did.