When I think about what has motivated me as a leader and organizer, 2005 Nationals stands out as a formative weekend for me. I have some vivid memories from the tournament, such as Stanford cheering for us during our crazy Pre-Quarters win against MIT, our impromptu dance-off with Colorado, and a blossoming love affair with Texas. I feel like this tournament was where I first realized how awesome the ultimate community is. My sports background up to that point was baseball. I captained the boys' team in high school, and the community had a very, very different feel to it. It is interesting for me to look back and to realize how many Stanford, Texas, and Colorado players I have been (or am currently) teammates with. I feel incredibly lucky.
Following my rookie year on the UC Berkeley Pie Queens and an awesome time at Nationals, I was voted one of the captains for the 2005-2006 season. To put it bluntly, I had no idea what I was doing. Upon being voted captain, I panicked and immediately did three things: registered for SFUL summer league, found a local club team to play with, and bought Ultimate Techniques and Tactics. I spent every waking hour of that summer either in Architecture studio (getting ahead so I wouldn't have to take a studio class in the spring) or doing something frisbee-related. I felt like I had some extremely big shoes to fill as I had been a very quiet rookie who could barely throw a forehand. My love for the sport continued to grow and at the end of my summer studio session, my professor pulled me aside to tell me that "this frisbee thing" was just a game and that I could be an incredible designer if I put my heart into it. A few months later, he would write me a letter of recommendation that gave me some fantastic options for where to spend my last two years of eligibility. ;)
Late that summer, I was thinking about ways to build the Bay Area women's ultimate community based on all of the things I had witnessed as a rookie. I pitched the idea of a mixer to the Stanford, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Davis captains. The idea was warmly received, and the first mixer, held on the Stanford campus, was a success! The rookies had a ton of fun, the vets played a hilarious very non-PC themed showcase game... and most importantly, for the first time ever, we saw Stanford's fun side! (Just kidding, you know I love you guys.) The mixer helped to cultivate some awesome relationships among the college women's teams in the Bay Area-- they formed the base for a successful California B-team tournament in Spring 2006 and led to an end-of-the-season beach bash, shared graduation parties, and a year later, the formation of Slackjaw, a women's club team. I am very thankful for my Bay Area ultimate friends, and for everything that they taught me.
Little did I know that the Bay Area Mixer would become an annual event, and that over the course of the next 5.5 years, I would run two dozen tournaments...
Tomorrow: The Melee Years:: Dream Bigger