Thursday, February 28, 2013

Midwest Throwdown:: Year 6

I have been slacking big time on the blogging game, and people have been bugging me to post more, so I will try to share some content in the coming weeks.  I'll start with a pretty light post about this weekend's event.

Midwest Throwdown is incredibly special to me because of the team I partner with, as well as because it's a tournament I've had a hand in building from the ground up.  I started this tournament in 2008, and this tournament and Centex are probably two of the best metrics I have for how far college women's ultimate has come since then.  This year marks five years of partnership with both Wash U (my college regional rival) and Texas (my team in grad school).  Building a tournament is a huge undertaking, and almost nothing about building Throwdown has been easy, which makes me appreciate the event even more.

A few personal snapshots of Throwdown:

1. Weather
One cannot talk about Throwdown without talking about the weather.  This weekend looks dicey and we've had challenging weather four out of the past five years.  The first year, we lost our primary fields and backup fields, and our backup backup fields got double booked.  I should have given up then.  ;)  The next year, someone was in a Portapottie that got blown over.  Maybe next year, things will turn around...

2. Birds
I have a crippling fear of birds.  In 2009, Wisconsin found a bird head at the fields and decided it would be an awesome idea to give me this "gift" in a napkin.  I freaked out and every year since, a team has given me a dead bird. The team and methodology change from year to year, but I am now at the point where I will not accept any presents at Throwdown.  And after last year, it appears that I can't leave my personal belongings unattended either.

3. Friends

This weekend, I am staying with Abby Stephens, a Wash U alum, former Throwdown TD, and good friend of mine.  I posted a bit about how we met here.  How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference.  I am thankful for my friendship with Abby, which stemmed from that small interaction at Regionals.

Abby always asks me the tough questions, checks in on me even when I am invisible on Gchat for months, and for several seasons, has helped behind-the-scenes by proofreading all of the tournament formats and captains' packets.

I can point to many friendships that have stemmed from organizing Throwdown, and I am incredibly thankful for these people.

4. Pay It Forward
I re-posted this on Facebook and Twitter on Tuesday.  One of the reasons I work on Throwdown year after year is because Wash U is a team that understands this concept.  This year, we have half a dozen alums helping with the tournament.  In past years, the team has donated large amounts of money to projects that do not directly benefit their team.  When I began working on QCTU several years ago, they were one of the first, and only, out-of-region teams to get on board.  Their loyalty, and their commitment to growing college women's ultimate, mean the world to me.

Here's to less bad weather, no birds, and lots of friends and paying it forward.  Looking forward to seeing many of you in St. Louis this weekend.

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