In the last twelve months, Ultimate was recognised as an official sport by the Olympics committee. No longer do we play a ‘niche’ sport. By that simple act of recognition, we became ‘a sport’. And whether because of this announcement, or more likely because of the hard work of many dedicated people over many years, we are beginning to see a shift in the level of professionalism of our sport. Where teams used to be a temporary collection of friends, the next era of Ultimate will see the establishment of permanent clubs. Though individual personalities will remain important, the character of whole clubs will continue on well past any individual’s playing career.
Where will Bauhaus be in another ten years time?
Really, no one knows. Many of us on the senior list probably won’t be playing. Then again, the indominatable Sarah Wentworth has proven conclusively to all us women out there that it is indeed possible to have an International career in sport, take time off to have three children, then return to play another World Games and another World Championships. So you never know.
When Joy Lee, Liz Edye and Hussey formed this team ten years ago, there wasn’t yet a plan for longevity. How could there be? There were so many unknowns –what players we’d have, the number of players we’d have, what the team culture would look like, how the team would perform, how much the players would enjoy being part of the team. Our three founding members took these unknowns and made them knowns.
And that – making known what is currently unknown – is our job going forwards. Taking a quote variously attributed to Alan Kay and Peter Drucker (and if you believe the internet, Abraham Lincoln) the best way to predict the future is to create it. Where we go is entirely up to us. Us of the now, and us of the future.
As the sport transitions into a new era, Bauhaus is transitioning too. We envision a club that attracts, nurtures and develops players like basketball, footy and netball clubs do. A club with all the infrastructure in place, created by the generations before, to make it easier and easier for each new group to flourish. What does this look like? How will we do it? The current executive committee has some pretty big goals for where we want to go in the next ten years. They include things such as:
* The club will be fully self-sustainable financially.
* Our juniors program will have established teams developing young frisbee talent.
* We will have made a name (and one short enough to remember!) for ourselves internationally.
* The administrative load will be largely borne by non-playing members so our players can focus on their on-field performance.
* Our alumni network will actively foster relationships between our past and present players.
Most importantly, we will still be here.
We want to not only bring up great Ultimate players, but to bring up great young women. As we’ve grown as a club we’ve seen how much our sport is actually about life skills and leadership and becoming a strong confident person, much more than it is about just running around on a field. It’s about discipline and communication and sacrifice and negotiation. In ten years time you will see some of our players out in the corporate world, speaking as top athletes to management about motivation and high performance. In ten years time you will see some of our players running businesses, looking after a team of staff just like they looked after a team of players. In ten years time you will see some of our players working with the next generation, teaching and coaching and mentoring them. And in ten years time, you will see many of our players representing on the National teams, continuing to compete at the top level of sport in the world with the grounding they received here.
We can tell you this with full surety, because it’s already beginning to happen.
The usual pathway for players when they join a sporting club goes something like this. For the first couple of years, your mind is basically on yourself as a player. You’re trying to fit in, to learn the ropes, and to learn the skills on-field. As players get more established, they take on a task or two to help out around the club. Maybe a fundraising exercise, maybe booking accommodation for the team, maybe running cool-downs. They’re beginning to see how things run, and want to make their contribution. And finally, after being with the club for many years, many players have a heavy shift in focus to giving back to the club and to giving time to those around them. Some take on specific leadership roles, but really all are leading as the senior players that set the example for the next generation.
We’ve been through a tough gig this season, losing a lot of players that could have been our next generation of leaders. And yet, we look around and are filled with more optimism than ever. Our first year players are the most outstanding bunch you could hope for. They’ve been giving to the club from the day they first turned up. Our three managers have a combined playing experience of 5 years. They manage like it’s 50. We’ve had nearly 30 players show that they’re interested in learning how to be better leaders and teammates as they go through the first leadership development program run by the club. When it’s time for the current senior group to move on from leading this club, there are no doubts about the quality of the new group of leaders to come.
And while we’re excited about the leaders of the future, we’re also incredibly grateful for the efforts of those who have brought us to where we are now. It is because of the work done by so many committed individuals that the task of continuing our legacy is even possible. Behind the scenes we have finances, fundraising, coaching, strategic plans, administration, marketing, and merchandise constantly ticking along. All of this work has been painstakingly carried out, year after year, by players who love their sport and their club so much that they’re willing to treat it like a second job. In particular, the senior players that have driven the growth we’re experiencing these last couple of years are unbelievable in their dedication to our club and to each other.
It is the combination of our youth and our senior players that lets us look backwards with pride, and forwards with excitement. Our sport is changing in new and opportunity-filled ways, and every day there are scraps of news about wonderful things happening in the Ultimate community around the world. It’s an exciting time to be involved in the sport. And in the midst of all this? In the midst of all the growth and all the excitement stands our club. Our enthusiasm and experience makes Bauhaus who we are – an empowered group of women poised to lead the charge into the future of Ultimate.
- Written by Snail -