Hilarious / ridiculous things happen to me on a somewhat regular basis (more than I care for), and I’ve also been learning A LOT about myself, my work, and what Without Limits is and can be. I’ve also met a lot of great people along this journey, and for that I am exceedingly grateful.

I’ve had a couple of conversations with college players recently about energy, mostly as it pertains to team. I’m a firm believer that there is no such thing as being neutral in a relationship. You’re either pouring positive energy into the people around you… or you’re sucking energy away from them (which can also be looked upon as injecting negative energy). I know that for me at least, the energy I put into / take from the people around me is highly correlated with external factors (whether my team is winning or losing, how people treat me, how many hours I’ve driven that day, etc.) I’ve been pushing these college leaders to turn on the positive, no matter what the circumstances are. We all have the ability to be positive, and I believe that it’s a choice we make. Sometimes that choice is harder than other times for sure, but I think we always have the ability to choose.

I’ve been striving to apply this concept to life and my circle of friends and acquaintances, or my community, if you will. Being on the road for 6 months leaves a lot of time for thinking (and hopefully challenging myself and growing), and this week, I’ve been thinking a lot about what community is exactly. I have a M.S. in Community and Regional Planning, so I have a fair amount of experience and training in building community. Over the past few years, I’ve been focused intently on the women’s ultimate community. But lately, I’ve been thinking that there is more.

Yesterday, I did an interview with BTW21, a local television station who will be covering Virginia is for Layouts this weekend. I had a long talk with the News Director before the interview and it made me think more about the impact that this event is having on the local community. The sport we play is great, but not just because it’s fun to chase around a flying piece of plastic. It’s about the power of sport– to create relationships, to test your personal limits, to learn life lessons, and to impact the people around you. And that community, our sphere of influence, is greater than just our team, or even the small group of teams we play against over the course of a season. Our ability to pour positivity into our community extends to the front desk clerk who checks us in at the tournament hotel, the checker at the grocery store when we buy field food Friday night, the local who stops by to catch a few points of one of our games, the attendant at the gas station… the list could go on and on.

Maybe this is just another one of my crazy ideas… but what effect could the power of positivity have if we broadened our definition of community and poured positivity into allof our relationships? What if we took the extra effort to invest fully into our teammates, acquaintances… and into all of the people around us?

The world might be a better place. :)

Layouts is this weekend. We just announced Heavyweights. We’ll be hosting our first international clinic next month to help our friends raise money for Worlds. And planning for Virginia Fusion has also begun. It’s a busy stretch ahead, and I’ll be striving hard to keep the focus on investing positively in the people around me. Hold me accountable!

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.