I sat down with Michelle Ng, co-founder of Without Limits. I asked her what her inspiration for starting Without Limits was, what winning the Kathy Pufahl Spirit Award meant to her, what makes all of her hard work worth it, and if she thought there was going to be a pro women’s ultimate frisbee league.
I’m headed into my 7th event of the season, my 5th of five in a row. I’ve basically been on the road since Thanksgiving, most of my stuff is in a friend’s garage, and the rest of my worldly possessions are in my car. Those who know me on a personal level know that this is not how I roll AT ALL. I have a graduate degree in Planning, and nothing in my life is planned right now. I’m not even sure where I’m sleeping tomorrow night.
But in the midst of a time of insanity and uncertainty, I’ve tried to remind myself that…
For me, the best part about qualifying for Nationals has always been the opportunity to spend a few more weeks with my team. I have extremely fond memories of those precious extra moments earned at both Cal and Texas, (and with Showdown and Molly Brown), and these memories are perhaps sharpened by the heartbreak of the seasons sandwiched in between where I lost three games-to-go in two years. I share some of the heartache of losing that third game here. Endings are incredibly difficult, especially when they happen sooner than we’d hope.
I’ve been having a lot of conversations with college players as they process the end of their season and begin regrouping for whatever comes next. As tough as endings can be, with them come new beginnings, and those can be tough as well. It’s a bit hard to summarize all of my thoughts on this topic, especially as I struggle through endings and beginnings myself, but I thought I’d share a bit of Melee ’08 with you as your team begins the next part of its journey.
This season, I’ve had the privilege of serving as a sounding board for a number of college captains. (I say privilege because I don’t take their trust lightly, and listening to their struggles also means that I get to see their victories.) I definitely don’t have magical solutions for them, but I’m always happy to give them an outside perspective, help them frame their situations positively, as well as just listen, because often, all they need is someone to talk to.
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.