An Open Letter to Male Ultimate Players, From a Guy

Hey, guys.

I’m writing to you because the sport you love, ultimate, is also the sport I love. It’s more than my favorite sport–I consider it my spiritual practice. Ultimate has helped me in times of grief, sadness and depression, and in times of anger.

I play ultimate because it’s a game one can’t win alone. I play because I get lost in the moment. I play ultimate because I get fired up watching a teammate’s huge layout D. And I play ultimate because, at most levels, it’s up to the players to hold themselves, and each other, accountable.

I believe that the sport we love, while growing overall, harbors troubling sexism—and men, I think we are responsible. I see sexist behavior coming from some of us, both on the field and off. I contend too many of us don’t take female players seriously, and we don’t respect women’s ultimate more generally. We can, and must, do better.

I am a good, but not great, ultimate player. I have played in lots of sectional tournaments. I will never play at nationals. Despite my limitations, I have, like many players–including many men—often been told I’m a natural leader. For too long I thought that meant I needed the disc all the time, and that my voice needed to be heard for my team to win, whether “my team” meant a competitive team I practiced with regularly, or the random group of people at a pick-up game.

As men, we have been conditioned to believe that we matter. We’ve been told that we are great. We think we can make the huge throw or the big defensive stop. It is our job to make the big play.

So we show up to ultimate, and many of us play the hero. Some of us give unsolicited advice, shout about how open we are, throw contested hucks, and, all too often, we ignore the women on the field–especially at pick-up games. Maybe we throw to them once. Twice if we think they’re really good. Too often we never even find out whether they’re skilled, because we never give them a chance–as though the chance was ours to give in the first place.

Men: ultimate does not belong to us. The disc is not ours. The game is not ours. Being male does not give us a right to ignore our teammates. When it comes to sports, we are privileged. Women must prove themselves worthy, while men must prove themselves unworthy.

Some of us believe the disc belongs to us because, in general, we are taller and run faster than women do. I contend that those of us who believe that are wrong.

Of course, there are exceptions to the above statements. Some games and teams are more inclusive than others. Some women play gladly at pick-up games, get the disc whenever they want it, and captain competitive mixed teams with few issues. Yet the presence of gender equity in some spaces does not mean all is well across the board.

I’ve brought this up with men before and heard variations of the following counter-arguments:

-I would throw to women if they got open.
-I throw to women if they’re good.
-Sports are meritocracies, and guys are faster and taller than women.
-It’s about winning, not social equality.
-Why are you lumping all men together? I throw to girls all the time.

I have gone to pickup games and watched talented female players get ignored on the field so guys can repeatedly huck it deep to one another. I’ve played in mixed-gender leagues with women who get the disc only a few times a game—and not because they’re never open.

If you don’t want to throw to women, play for a men’s team. If you want to play mixed, then play mixed. And if you play pick-up, throw to open people. Period. Every time we neglect a player on the field, I argue we hurt the game we love. Self-officiated at most levels, it’s up to us to create the culture we want. I seek an ultimate culture in which open players get the disc—and new players, regardless of gender identity, are warmly welcomed and nurtured–for even the best players were once novices.

I didn’t write this “on behalf” of female players, as though they need a man’s protection. I wrote this because I, and several players I know, both women and men, believe there’s a widespread problem about gender relations in ultimate. And I believe that sexism in sports comes from men. It is not due to women’s “genetic inferiority”—it is due to our learned overconfidence and prejudice.

True leadership is about lifting others up as we climb. It means stepping up at times and stepping back at others. I see specific things we can do to build towards a better ultimate.

We can refrain from calling people off the disc at pick-up games. We can huck to our guy friends less and throw to open people more. We can remember that we’re probably not as great a player as we think. We can yell less and encourage more. We can talk about women players and women’s teams with respect. And, if we’re on a competitive mixed team, we can learn from the best teams, who say that people who feel valued and valuable create a team of winners.

I invite you to observe the games and leagues in which you play. Who gets the disc, where, and how often? Also observe your own behavior. Am I dominating the game, cutting off other players when I make cuts, or ignoring open players? Do I assume female players need advice and male players don’t?

Lastly, and perhaps most crucially: If I’m not one of those guys, am I calling out those who routinely exclude or trample on others?

I ask myself these questions, and others, every time I cleat up—for fun and in competitive games. I repeatedly fall short. It’s a lot to unlearn. I identify as a feminist athlete, and I believe in ultimate, so I think it’s worth it to keep working.

USA Ultimate describes Spirit of the Game, or the ethos of ultimate, this way:
Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors…or the basic joy of play.”

Not ‘mutual respect among only male competitors, but “mutual respect among competitors.” That means every person who steps on that field deserves respect, and every player deserves to feel the joy of this beautiful game. May we work together to ensure ultimate’s bright future–for everyone.

Kenny Wiley
#35
*A/N: This letter has now been published at Skyd Magazine: http://skydmagazine.com/2014/04/open-letter-male-ultimate-players-guy/
Around 4,000 reads thus far as of 9:04 AM Mountain Time 4/29. Please feel free to comment below, and share your own experiences with your ultimate communities!

482502_10152835284830545_10800393_n-2

*Thanks to former teammates and terrific players Amory Hillengas, Joe Baz and Meg Gatza for their edits, suggestions and counsel.

69 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Male Ultimate Players, From a Guy”

  1. Well written and I agree! I have been able to see some mixed games where women make most of the plays and dominate the field. Cool stuff. I believe it should be everyone’s goal to get EVERY player involved.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kenny, this is a great article. I agree wholeheartedly with your points.

    I fall squarely into the camp of male players who *think* they’re doing a good job in the feminist arena, but are not vocal enough on the field in support of gender equality and respect. In particular, calling out other guys who are not showing respect is tough for me and I think a lot of other people. I think more male players (including myself) would call out their male teammates when appropriate if they knew what to say and practiced saying it ahead of time – so I would suggest we all take that to heart and put some real practice in.

    I’d love to hear more thoughts from anyone on what you say to someone who’s being disrespectful on the field – what works best.

    Like

    1. Jim–
      I do have thoughts on *how* to confront someone who’s overbearing on the field. I think finding a point where they’re off to the sideline and talking with them that you think their behavior is inappropriate. At pickup, I find that people are more receptive if you talk to them privately, and use “I statements” (“I feel you’re giving too much advice” or “I feel you’re ignoring a lot of players on the field).

      It is really difficult, but standing up to people who are lessening the joy in the game is a must. Thank you so much for commenting. It means a great deal, Jim!

      Like

  3. You’re awesome! Thank you for writing this and I hope more men recognize and give voice to this kind of healthy attitude. I’m sure there are plenty of men who feel that they do their part in being fair to women but keep quiet – but we must continue to voice our concerns anytime sexism arise. Thank you so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t have a link, but I remember an article about some of the teams at the U23 World Games (i think?) talking about how every team at worlds had an unequal ratio of touches between men and women, and I think the inequality is pretty pervasive in mixed. Unsurprisingly, the stronger teams had a ratio close to equal; they were actually using their entire team, rather than playing in spite of them. I’d also be very curious to see how a team like Wildcard, known for their strong women cutters, distributes their touches.

    For those of you who don’t know me, I’m transgender, and I’ve played open presenting a male gender expression, open with a female gender expression, Mixed with a male gender expression, mixed with a female gender expression, and juussst a little bit of women’s ultimate (all under USAU policy, I might add…) And while I have MUCH more experience (4.5 years) playing while presenting male, when playing mixed while presenting female, it took me about 5 minutes to notice that people did not trust me with the disc. Men, you know how frustrating it is to be looked off when you make a good cut; think about how frustrating it would be for this to happen systemically, on the basis of gender.

    I have to disagree with one thing. “If you don’t want to throw to women, play for a men’s team.” I think you should evaluate why you don’t throw to women in mixed. I think maybe open is right choice for you, but not respecting or valuing womens’ sports is the real issue here.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sarah, thank you so much for your comments. I went back and forth about that line. I hear your feedback on it, no question. Your thoughts have made me think further. I’m curious, Sarah–to what extent have you confronted players who treat you differently? Much of the feedback I’ve gotten centers on *how* to stand up to people.

      Like

    2. Excellent commentary Sara J! I would very much agree on the last point you made about not just playing for a men’s team, but evaluating why. I was going to post something similar myself!

      Like

  5. As a woman who has played Ultimate for 5-6 years now, I’m a bit ashamed about how true this article rung to my own views. Just last week I told someone I don’t like to play women’s because it is “Open in 3 feet of water.” What really hit me is not that I have heard other people (men and women) say these types of things about women in ultimate many, many times, but because I actually started to believe it was true.

    Women have enough adversity to face in the world. Social norms, inequality in the workforce, and unrealistic body image issues hardly scratch the top of the iceberg. The last thing we need is to give in to such rubbish that women’s ultimate is not worth it and women on the field are just “hazards.” We run hard, play hard and party hard. We are equals who make this game more fun and exciting, not obstacles or hurdles to work through. Anyone who has played elite co-ed knows that your women are a huge element to winning mixed, especially at a high level.

    Thanks for writing this, Kenny. At the very least, you opened the eyes of a very passionate and previously misguided Ultimate woman.

    Like

    1. Karen–thank you. A female teammate with whom I collaborated on this piece suggested that women have ingrained sexist attitudes as well. While I’ve noticed such rhetoric, I did not want to tackle that particular subject. I think my job, and the job of other male players, is to focus on our own shortcomings. If you write further on this, Karen, please send your thoughts my way!

      Like

  6. On top of all that, you missed something really important. Something every B league captain worth a damn knows. You missed one of the secrets of women in mixed Ultimate that all these boneheads miss out on.

    Women will win you games every time.

    If you have 5 strong women, who have hand and cuts, your men can take their men way out of the picture, and have the women run a dominatrix for a few passes every point. Usually, they end up scoring, or getting it close enough for the men to cut back in and help out. In a draft league, recipe for success:

    1. Draft for strong women
    2. Give them the disc.
    3. Stay the hell out of the way
    4. Win

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is so true. As a mathematics teacher it is so obvious to me that since (in casual or B league settings) the range of ability between all the men is much narrower than range of ability of all the women who sign up.

      This means that the way to get a killer mixed team is to concentrate on getting a few strong females and then using them. Let’s say I’m fielding 4 guys who were all drafted 10 places lower than the players they are marking. But my 3 women (is that sexist calling them ‘my’ women?) are all drafted 10 spots higher. Given a smaller pool of women that is a much bigger gap in ability.

      What I’m waffling towards is that not only sexism stupid for social reasons it is also stupid for competitive reasons.

      Like

    2. How does this sound?

      You missed one of the secrets of men in mixed Ultimate that all these boneheads miss out on.

      Men will win you games every time.

      If you have 5 strong men, who have hand and cuts, your women can take their women way out of the picture, and have the men run a dominatrix for a few passes every point. Usually, they end up scoring, or getting it close enough for the women to cut back in and help out. In a draft league, recipe for success:

      1. Draft for strong men
      2. Give them the disc.
      3. Stay the hell out of the way
      4. Win

      It sounds exactly like the problem in the original post. I don’t have an issue with what you were saying about having 5 strong women running a dominatrix, but I feel that the way I’ve altered it above, with men doing it, would create a huge ruckus over it being male-dominated. Are we looking for equality, or female-dominated play?

      Like

  7. Thank you Kenny! I also want to add: as a woman I would like to be judged on the field by my athletic ability first and not have it assumed that i am the 6th or 7th best player on the line because I am a woman. That means, if I am more skilled and/or more athletic than a male teammate, I would like us to be matched up accordingly. I would take a more athletic/more skilled player on the other line (probably a male) and my male teammate may take a female. This does not happen while playing elite mixed (generally), but during league and pickup this happens all the time with out of shape male players playing and male players playing well into their 60s (without throws) – and I am sure there are other examples. If you are the guy calling out matchups, call them how you see them! If you are the guy getting matched up with a girl, dont take it as an attack on your masculinity – it has nothing to do with your gender and has everything to do with your current potenial on the field as an athlete.

    Like

  8. Karen makes a great point. There’s a real problem with women who play mixed disparaging womens ultimate. It’s often a response to their own experienced sexism – consciously done or not, vocally supporting bullies is a common way to avoid being bullied yourself. I am wary of taking the focus off men, but the ladies need to talk about the mixed/womens divide too.

    Like

    1. Jess, I hope you do talk about that! I don’t think it my place, but I’ve noticed it. One of the women I collaborated with said something very similar. I know I’d read and share!

      Like

  9. I would like to start by saying that I play for a mixed clique team where our ladies are our best asset. Period. Almost all of our men played in college, and even made regionals a few times maybe. Our ladies include a 2-time college nationals player (my wife) and some of the most athletic women I have ever met. When we match up against another team, we are looking to see how we can exploit our lady advantage over the other team. Our ladies are important and well-utilized in my opinion. I think in mixed as a whole, the “5-on-5 with obstacles” strategy is awful and people who play that way are wrong, and jerks. As has been mentioned above, the best mixed teams are the teams that have a strategy about how to use their ladies effectively.

    Unfortunately, I feel that I have to hesitate just a little more when throw to women, even when they are open, because men are faster and can jump higher, and lay out farther. I know that a lot of times, we bait throws to ladies because it is easier to generate turnovers. This forces the logic path to change. For a throw to a tall, fast, guy on my team (we play 5-2), I have to look for his defender, and occasionally one really fast defender. On a throw to a short, slow, guy, there are just more potential threats to the completion, I have to at least account for the closest other defender, because he is probably faster than my receiver and her defender. So sometimes there is a delay, because I have to account for more defenders. And those delays, can sometimes be the time required for the defender to close the gap, or for someone else to crowd the lane, or any number of other reasons to call a cutter off. Women are just like slower, shorter, men.

    Like

    1. I’m not disagreeing that the majority of women are typically slower than guys, and that can add variables when considering a throw, but as an female player who is faster and a better cutter than a reasonable number of men who play, I find the comparison to “slower, shorter men” a little insulting (which I’m certain was not at all intended). Having played mixed for almost six years, I’ve seen that speed is often not the critical factor in women successfully getting touches. I’ve had women that I could beat solidly in a straight-up sprint run circles around me because they are incredibly efficient cutters.

      tl;dr – like you said, mixed teams who strategize efficiently are the best.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Kenny, great piece. It’s being shared pretty widely on FB by the Baltimore community (also, Meg G was my first summer league captain). While the women’s program in our city has been growing a great deal in the past few years (thanks, in part, to the tireless work of Zara Cadoux), I think that our mixed scene really suffers.

    It’s a self-perpetuating problem when pickup is 6-1 and folks don’t throw to women. Why would anyone want to come out to that?

    I know that it’s not something you brought up in your piece, but I think that ultimate players (men and women, league and club) need to think about what a healthy gender ratio is. The league fees that women pay is as green as ours, but I regularly see 5-2 or 6-1 being played while there are 10 guys and 6 women on the sideline.

    Keep up the good work. Hope to see you on the field.

    Warren “Meech” Wells
    RUNTIME Open Club
    UU Church of Annapolis 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. UU Church of Annapolis! That’s John Crestwell, right? I’ve never met him, but he seems wonderful.
      I’m really glad that the piece is being shared by your community. I’m actually not getting to see much of the reaction, except on Skyd, so I’d love to know more. Zara FB messaged me earlier and seems incredible.
      As far as ratios go, I like 4/3. My teams will always do it if possible.
      Meech, thank you so much for commenting. Great to hear from a UU ultimate player!

      Like

    2. The secret is 4-3. Enforced. On our team we sometimes play 3-4 and the other team has to match if they’re pulling to us.

      Like

  11. As someone who has played both women’s and mixed, I agree with a lot of what people say. While I am much happier playing mixed than womens I have found some issues with mixed. In pick up, hat, and leagues, I have guarded women with high levels of skill that time and time again have not gotten thrown to- to the point where guarding them is almost useless. I have been looked off countless times- and often after asking why since I thought I was open. Often the response is ‘I don’t think I have those throws,’ though I know that if it was a guy they would have been thrown to.

    But I also agree with huckinfrappy- if the team recognizes it- women win games for mixed teams. Something need to be changed in the culture – because ignoring 2 or 3 of your teammates on the field in order to have a huck happy point disregards what IMO is the most important rule of Ultimate- SOTG

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I think there’s some comfort in the fact that mixed teams that build a real mixed strategy do much better than teams that don’t.
    I’m glad you’re speaking up about this because I think it’s a major reason that women don’t stick with the sport, particularly if their main experiences are in rec leagues, which are generally sprinkled with these kinds of assholes.

    Like

  13. Can you go more in depth on the point that it’s not a meritocracy?

    If someone (regardless of gender) gets open all the time but hucks it every time they get it, that person will get the disc less. Do you think that’s wrong?

    If there’s a brand new person at your pick up game do you give them the disc at every availability? That’s a good way to make it not very fun for the other 13 people.

    It’s also notable that you think everyone should get the disc regardless of talent but many of the commentators justify giving it to girls because it “wins games” or they are more talented than the girls/guys on the other team. Do they not see they are agreeing with one side of their mouth and disagreeing with the other?

    All in all, good points, thanks for the write-up.

    Like

  14. Hi Kenny,
    I really enjoy reading this, and I am glad you wrote it. I am a woman who have played under a year; not experienced as compared to my teammates. I complained about men not throwing to women (even when they were open) but was told (by an experience woman) to play in the women team if I want to have better chances of getting the disc. I find this comment kinda insulting on two levels: first, women teams as a whole, she was implying the women teams are the ‘inferior’ team that do not play competitively and are reserved for the weaker players; and second- me for being a woman, who is weaker and should not be in the mixed team. The first point is analogous to telling a woman who is underpaid than her male counterparts to go work in a all female-run corporate. On the second point- it would have sounded better if she’d suggested going to a team which is a better match for my skill level and less competitive in nature, regardless of gender.

    Like

  15. I can’t express how poignant and timely I feel this post is- our community needs to be having this discussion on a larger scale and I think what you’ve written here (and how popular it is quickly becoming) is indicative of that need. As a feminist and an ultimate player, I hope it serves as a catalyst for the consideration of players (of both genders for that matter) at all levels. I started out as one of three girls on my high school team before youth ultimate had truly taken off in the south and have now played at the national level in both the college and club divisions. This issue is relevant in all settings. The line most salient to what I see over and over again is: “Women must prove themselves worthy. Men must prove themselves unworthy.” That line is essentially the definition of the subtle sexism pervasive in our society. Again, thank you for taking the time to articulate your thoughts and for helping our sport grow.

    Like

  16. all in all our sport is so cool because it ‘could’ be the first coed Olympic sport…but even more so, throwing the disc is not about power, but grace. women exude it, men desperately must relearn how to throw with spin or delicacy…namely grace. by teaching women who are extremely appreciative, we make this a greater game. men of quality are not threatened by women for equality.

    Like

  17. Came across your article/post because a friend I played Ultimate with in college posted it up on FB. And seriously, as a woman, thank you so much for putting this out there.

    I played mostly pick-up games during college, but in the 5 years I was there, I was a regular and consistent player in our weekly games. The guys I played with regularly were fantastic about including women and not treating us differently, but basically anytime we had new guys join in, I had to re-prove myself (or the guys I played with had to vet me for the new guys). This was a consistent pattern over five years, and while there was some satisfaction to the look on the new guy’s faces when I did something they didn’t expect because I’m a chick, it still got old being untrusted when the guys were automatically assumed to be trustworthy.

    Otherwise, I gave up on my college’s coed intramural team. We had two gender-specific rules that were meant to combat this behavior specifically, but only made things worse, I felt. First, in order to score a point, the disc had to be handled by at least two female players first. Second, if the disc was caught in the in-zone by a female player, it was worth two points instead of one. Basically, this ended up playing out that as soon as the disc was passed to two chicks, I – and the other women – didn’t exist anymore unless we were there to catch for the point. The most frustrating part of this, too, is that these were some of the same guys I played pick-up games with. And suddenly I existed as nothing other than the way to carry out the female-player rules.

    So in short, thank you for saying this. It’s something that really does need saying.

    Like

  18. Thanks for writing this! Here is another account of this issue written by a female player: http://disruptingdinnerparties.com/2013/06/13/pass-the-disc-hold-the-sexism/

    One thing it notes that isn’t part of your argument, is that sometimes the well-intended male:female ratios required for teams to play coed can actually make behaviors towards women worse, because guys are dragging out really inexperienced female players just to “get more girls” on the team so they can compete. So like…wow…its complicated!!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. While I do agree with the idea of this article I think a little more credit should be given to the ultimate community. I have been playing mixed for four years now and how I understand it is people will not make throws they are not comfortable making. At the beginning of every season there are girls/guys you have played with and have been able to rely on in the past, any confident ultimate player will throw to a girl/guy who they have seen perform well and have faith they can make the plays. The problem arises when you don’t trust your receiver, regardless of their gender. If a male teammate of mine is less aggressive on offense and is not 100% reliable then I am less comfortable making that throw. I hold myself to blame if its a turnover for any reason other than they dropped it at their chest. If I don’t think I can put it accurately to their breadbox, or if they only have one step on their defender I look the throw off. Its the same for girls. I think most people will be hesitant putting up 50/50 shots to someone until they see they can do it. I hate when people put labels on things that don’t need to be differentiated. If you are playing competitive ultimate at a club level or even a strong league and you are continuously getting looked off and one of the guys/girls comes over to give you a quick tip, wether they sound like they are being a self righteous prick or not TAKE GOOD ADVICE. Only thing ever stoping a guy/girl at getting better is their own pride.

    Like

  20. Great points! and thank you for wording them out. i have been playing ultimate for recreational men’s and mixed games. Like any other team sport, Ultimate can be played by both men and women. In mixed games, men should refrain from discrimination against women players.

    Like

  21. Great post. Loved reading it.
    I would be obliged if you could also check out my blog DoubleThink. I’ll drop its link below!

    DoubleThink is an up and coming blog that is extremely satisfying for every kind of a person, be it the thinker, the optimist, the pessimist, the poet, the musician, the couch-potato, the bookworm or the photographer.We are a bunch of people with different backgrounds, contradictory opinions but one voice. And this blog is our voice.
    Come hear us at :
    http://doublethinkhub.wordpress.com/

    Like

  22. Thank you so much for writing this article. I actually stopped playing ultimate after 5 years because of the sexism you’ve described. What upset me most is that even some women players seemed to be accepting of this behaviour. I now play competitive roller derby. I miss ultimate, and hope that your letter will have an impact.

    Like

  23. This was such a great read, especially the unsolicited advice part (my life as a female athlete!). It’s a complex issue for sure, but I just wanted to comment in regard to whether or not this is a mens or womens issue- I believe it to be both, as sexism effects//is ingrained in ALL of us.

    Like

  24. Kenny, thank you for including the line “I didn’t write this on behalf of female players.” It’s a really responsible way to use your platform as a male player, and it would have been really easy to forget to include it. One of the reasons your article is circulating so quickly is because it resonates with a lot of people, definitely with a lot of women, definitely with me. I’ve argued about this a ton of times and listened to countless other women argue about it, and it almost always falls on deaf ears. It makes me angry that I feel just a little bit more validation hearing gender criticism coming from a male player. People will see this article as more legitimate than it would be coming from a female player, and a part of me really believes that it’s more legitimate and that I need male validation to know that I’m not just being too sensitive on the field. And I really want to smack that part of me in the face. Because your voice is not more important than mine here (even though it’s honestly way more eloquent). Just like male voices are not more important than mine when someone needs to call a line on the field.

    On the other end though, I really do need your validation because the experiences you explained in this article mean that other women and I are gaslighted constantly. Every time I get looked off, or moved to a different position, or a strategy recommendation I make is ignored, I go through this process of wondering what that person meant — if it was because I was a woman, if it was because they didn’t see me, if it was because I am doing something wrong, if I’m actually not good at frisbee, if it’s because I’m short, if it’s because I’m a woman but it’s a legitimate strategy, if it’s because I’m a women and it’s a strategy that will work but it’s sexist, if I and all the other women are just too sensitive, if I need to find a team with a different vibe, the list goes on for a while. I am a confident person. I don’t ask these questions because I’m unsure of myself. I ask because people have been telling me it’s in my head since I started played pick up at recess, so it’s a huge sigh of relief when someone male tells me that he sees the purple elephants, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Props to you Kenny! Thank you for noticing this issue in the ultimate world. Leaving the college ultimate scene, I felt under-appreciated and, well, wary of playing ultimate anywhere else for this exact reason. I along with thousands of girls just like me are ready for a culture that is not always undermining our abilities. This letter Is one large step in the right direction. I thank you!

    Like

  26. “Openness” is in the eyes of the beholder! Men being covered by longer, faster defenders will need a lot of space to be open. A woman being covered by a small, less quick defender may only need a few inches to be open. All mixed players need to be able to identify how much distance is needed for a player to be open, because that distance can vary widely depending on the defender! I started out in women’s and switched to mixed. In my first mixed tournament, I can’t tell you how many “open” men I threw to who’d defender got a lay-out D.

    Like

  27. Such a great post! This is definitely something that needs to be heard.

    I quit playing pickup games with a group of friends because the only time I got to throw the Frisbee was when I intercepted it. It just wasn’t fun to play with a group of people who acted like I didn’t exist.

    Like

  28. Yes I played on a flag football team and I definitely experience some hateration from some of the guys (I mean I wasn’t good lol) but on the flipside a lot of the guys tried hard to include the women. After all its just a recreational game to keep most of us 30 somethings in shape lol

    Like

  29. I liked what you are putting forward here. I like the game but don’t play much. I love that as a guy you are pushing UA guys to think about where we unawarely push women out in various ways, and Iove that you in particular are pushing this forward in sports, where we men have traditionally been confused in this field. Keep going…. I live far away (in israel) but perhaps some day we will meet for a game of ultimate somewhere…

    Like

  30. Honestly, I don’t know what ‘ultimate’ is, but I love what you wrote. I recently watched a game of soccer (male team and a largely male sport where I am) being refereed by an 18-year-old girl and I was awed by the way she held her ground. I wouldn’t have been able to do it when I was her age. So I think things are changing, slowly but surely 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I’m a female and I love playing Ultimate Frisbee (just with a group of people…I’ve never played professionally). I’m 5 foot even, so I don’t throw a lot. Because I am strong and willing, I am expected to block guys (by the way, who are all 6′ and taller). Works really well. It’s great that you want to include women more, please remember this though- I do not really enjoy throwing and am nogood at it

    Like

  32. Great post. I used to play Ultimate when I was at uni (college). Admittedly, I didn’t really consider the matter when I was playing (although in hindsight I wish I had). Generally, I found that there wasn’t too much discrimination when it came to passing (etc..), but maybe that was the leagues that I was involved with.

    Like

  33. Great article, I totally agree! ultimate is one of my favorite sports and I love playing on a team with women. I’m lucky in that the people I play with respect and believe in the women who play with us. I have found that a lot of times women are just as good, if not better then most of the guys i play with. And we all know it! I hope more people start giving the girls a chance, because they are some of the best players!!!

    Like

  34. Love your thoughts. Not ashamed to admit I’ve been beaten down the field plenty of times by women. Sexism is sometimes a thing that is just drilled into peoples heads no matter how great the women or men on the field are. Hopefully it will will eventually die out like racism and other forms of discrimination. And you’re certainly helping by taking a stand.

    Like

Continue the dialogue!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s