The first international clinic for Without Limits in Toronto on April 15, 2012 marked the official end of the spring season for me.  I thought I’d write about the idea of paying it forward, something which has been a cornerstone of my work for the past half a dozen years.  I mention it in this interview with Ultimate Interviews.

One of my mottos is “Pay it forward.” My hope is to cultivate a group of players and teams who are able to think bigger than themselves. I hope that my investment in them leads them to invest in others, and that the end result is something beyond what we can even imagine.

It’s hard to explain exactly what this means to me because it’s a bit of a life motto, not just what Without Limits is about.  Paying it forward is about giving to people.  It’s about loving the people around you.  It’s about being kind to strangers.  It’s about using what you’ve been blessed with to bless others. Just because you can. Not because of what you might get in return.

I think that women’s ultimate is in an incredible place for development.  We are a tight-knit community, which opens up great possibilities for collaboration and sharing of ideas and knowledge.  I strive to be a connector, and have high hopes for both our division, and our sport.  The idea of paying it forward has played a critical role in many of my past projects- Midwest Throwdown, Keystone Classic, and Virginia is for Layouts are all tournaments that would never have been created were it not for people’s and team’s abilities to pay it forward and think bigger than themselves.

I previously posted this quote:

Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair. Sport speaks to people in a language they can understand. – Nelson Mandela

Paying it forward is important to me because it’s about more than just trying to advance our sport and create playing and development opportunities.  It’s about more than raising money for college teams or trying to help programs get to the next level.  Those things are very important to me…

But more than that, it’s about an attempt to have an impact on the lives of the people around me.  It’s about spreading positivity, confidence, hope, and love, because if we’re spreading those things, then the world is just a better place.  And ultimate happens to be a great vehicle for this.

Sound idealistic?  Perhaps.  But here’s my challenge to you, and more importantly, to myself:

Care enough to make a difference for someone or some group of people. Then sit back and see what happens 🙂

Written by Michelle Ng

Michelle currently captains North Carolina Phoenix, and has captained five other seasons at the college and club levels. She currently serves as one of the Women’s Division representatives in the USA Ultimate Club Working Group. She is a 4-time Club Nationals Qualifier and 2-time College Nationals Qualifier. She was also a Callahan Top 3 finisher in 2006, an All-Region selection in 2008, and won the Kathy Pufahl Award in 2010.

Michelle started running tournaments in Fall 2005 out of a desire to create more playing opportunities for her college team. When she moved to Austin in Summer 2006, she saw a huge disparity between the number of opportunities she had on the West Coast and the opportunities she now had in the South Region. With the help of her college teammates at the University of Texas, Michelle strove to change that. Michelle’s efforts have continued to grow over the years and she has run dozens of tournaments and clinics all over North America, the majority of which have been fundraisers for college teams. Michelle also works as an Events & Relationships Manager for VC Ultimate.