A little over three years ago, a group of about 30 captains and leaders of the best teams in the country met in the parking lot of the IM Fields in Austin to talk about the future of college women’s ultimate. There were a lot motivated, passionate people in that parking lot- two future Callahan winners, a handful of studs who now captain elite-level club teams, and more All-Region players than I can count. The sentiment that “no one cares about women’s ultimate” was probably more prevalent then than it is now, and we were all frustrated by it. We talked about tournaments, growing the sport, media coverage, and the importance of working together to make a difference. I left that meeting uncertain of what the future held, but confident that every single person standing in that parking lot knew one thing: we had the power to change things. Standing in that same parking lot two months ago, I had the opportunity to reflect on how much progress we’ve made. I think we’ve come a long way, but I know that we we’ve got a lot more work to do.

It’s easy to be frustrated with the places where our sport, and our division, fall short. Quality tournaments can be hit or miss, you don’t see ultimate on the front page of the news, and the women’s division nearly always takes a backseat to the open division. The problems seem too big to be solvable. So why should I care? Why does it matter anyway?

I should care because I know how much hard work, time, and emotional energy I invest into being a good player and teammate.

I should care because I know my teammates do the same for me. Caring validates their efforts.

I should care because I love this sport and the people who play it.

I should care because others before me cared enough to shape my ultimate experience positively.

I should care because I can make a difference.

I care. Do you?

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.