While I participated in individual sports growing up, my first team sport experience (outside of gym class) wasn't until high school. In grade 10, I started playing ultimate frisbee after a friend brought me out to a pickup game. I quickly joined a recreational league and quickly became started to get into the sport more.
Throughout university, I kept playing ultimate and started to get more involved with the organizational side of sport. In my second year of university, a friend and I were elected to the UofA Ultimate Club organizing committee as women's team co-reps. At the time, I didn't think of myself as someone who would be impactful in this role, but there was a position to be filled, and the rest of the leadership thought we would be a good fit, so they talked us into it. That year, our committee organized and hosted the University Ultimate Championships in Edmonton. Helping manage the tournament, women's team, and playing (our team finished second in the tournament) all at the same time was both challenging and very exciting.
Through the rest of my time at the UofA, I continued to be a member of the Ultimate Club, and after graduating, had the opportunity to support new players through coaching for two years. But it was after university I really started to eat, sleep, and breathe ultimate. I joined a local competitive mixed team where in addition to being a player, I took on the role of manager for two seasons and then captain for three seasons. In my ultimate career, I have also had the opportunity to coach the Edmonton junior women's team, be on the organizational committee for hosting the 2019 Canada Ultimate Championships in Edmonton, and support the community through various other volunteer roles. Long story short, I have spent a lot of time playing Ultimate and, along the way, have been able to take on various leadership and organizational roles.
Through my experience, I have discovered that what I love most about sport is that it allows you to develop skills that reach so far beyond the scope of competition. As an athlete, especially in a team sport, you have the opportunity to take on different roles, try new things, and grow as an individual.
Here is what I have learned from sports:
Confidence- Finding something I was good at and being surrounded by people who supported my improvement made me more confident in all aspects of my life.
How to be a good leader- Working with different captains/coaches helped me figure out what kind of leader I wanted to be. While organizing events, teams and people through ultimate allowed me to grow and foster a leadership style focused on supporting and empowering those around me.
How to push myself- Playing sports and competing with a team allowed me to challenge myself and discover I can do more than I initially thought possible.
Meet people where they are at and embrace their unique perspective- While playing and coaching, I've had the chance to work with a lot of different people and was able to learn how better to appreciate their different perspectives, approaches and communication styles while learning how to work together to accomplish a unified goal.
How to be adaptable- No matter how much planning you do ahead of time, there will always be things beyond your control that you need to adjust for. Being flexible and ready to adapt allows you to be prepared for whatever is thrown your way.
How to fail without giving up- Getting scored on sucks, losing a big game is upsetting, making a mistake that negatively impacts your team is hard. Through ultimate, I have experienced failures and heartbreaks. I have learned to accept that sometimes you will fail, but that you can learn from these experiences to do better the next time.
I am so grateful for all the time I have spent playing sports and the amazing people I have met over the years. Without sport and all the individuals I have played with and against, I would not be where I am today and who I am today.