Last year was my first year at the Youth Club Championships (YCC), and as a rising captain of my high school ultimate team, the GUM Ball helped to inspire me to be the strong female leader I wanted and needed to be for my team and for myself.

I look up to so many female ultimate players, but their skill level, spirit and intensity felt very unreachable as a high school student. The GUM Ball last year was an amazing opportunity to actually connect with and talk to the players I looked up to. We were able to chat as women in ultimate, get to know each other and just hang out and mingle (I was pretty much star struck the whole time!). We talked about the higher level of play in women’s ultimate as you move through the college and club level, which was really helpful and exciting for someone like me who was about to experience those things. I remember talking about my high school and YCC teams, and being really listened to with interest by my fellow teammates; a lot of the GUM Ball guests also expressed having similar experiences within their teams or as leaders themselves.

Being able to talk to other women at the GUM Ball about commonalities and differences, what we have both experienced and what experiences we have not shared as players provided a welcoming bridge between youth and adult players. I know it inspired me and my teammates to not only be better ultimate players, but also to strive to be role models in the ultimate world for someone else in the future.

Inspiration is hard as a high school woman in ultimate because our role models are not represented in the media as much as the male players’, and generally the ultimate community where I live is not as excited or interested in women’s ultimate or women’s players. So, the GUM Ball was a unique opportunity to experience inspiration first hand, and afterwards, I felt so motivated to better my skills, leadership, spirit and experience in ultimate.

Thank you so much to GUM and to the people who put the event together! I can’t wait to go again this year!

Mary Andrews

Valley Ultimate

 

The second annual 2019 GUM Ball will take place on Saturday, August 3, from 5:00-6:30 p.m. at the field-level party tent in the stadium. Visit facebook.com/gumultimate/ for more detailed information.