Medals from the 2016 World Ultimate & Guts Championships in London. Photo by Jolie Lang of UltiPhotos.com.
It's been difficult to write about ultimate. It's been difficult to watch ultimate. It's been difficult to watch hockey, to watch whatever show Netflix pulls out of nowhere, to do things. At least, after reading the news, it's been difficult.
Every morning the New York Times app notifies me when their 'Morning Briefing' is posted. It has the weather for the day, the next day's weather, so I keep reading. But since September, or maybe October, it's been depressing. Since election day it's undoubtably been worse. Somehow, what's printed got even worse since January 20th or so. The discourse it's created with friends and family has been sad and troubling all in one.
Some nights the news leaves me in fits of anger, others in a depression. It shouldn't be a surprise where the political and social leanings of this ultimate blog, or this writer, lie.
Writing, ultimate, and writing about ultimate has been - in the past - a way for me to combat depression and all of the thoughts associated with it. But since around September, or maybe October, it hasn't been able to do that. At least not as effectively as before.
I go online, open the NY Times app, open Reddit or Facebook or Twitter or whatever, and I instead get consumed in wormholes around any number of the things that the current regime has done, wants to do, has said... so far.
Yes, I think that similar to the NBA's stance on HB2 in North Carolina, USA Ultimate shouldn't seek to host or be allowed to host any WFDF event during this current administration because of the policies they've chosen. The policies chosen by this administration aren't representative of our sport, and don't aid in its growth. The Olympic games in Los Angeles for 2024, right now only a dream, could be a good thing for ultimate. That is, if the damage done by the current regime doesn't take that chance away before then. In our country's current state, I don't think USA Ultimate should lobby to have ultimate included in those games. But I don't think the Olympics will consider coming to Los Angeles, or any other American city, with a Muslim ban in place, in talks, or even floated out there by a random congressman.
In my opinion, USA Ultimate should be working to move their championships and any other event they are officially involved with to progressive states and cities. Those that have come out unequivocally against the ban, and challenge this regime, deserves the money that USAU and ultimate brings in. Take the events up to Canada for all I care. This sport stands for something. The ban, the discrimination, the xenophobia, the Islamophobia - that isn't ultimate.
It is no longer unfortunate that sports and politics aren't separate things.
This tweet, which came onto my Twitter feed late one night from (I think) a random hockey-blogger, and this article from Bryan Curtis of the Ringer, really got me thinking about how important it is to speak up.
There have been icons in sports in the past that have been defined, or stay within our collective memories, because of the political statements that they make. Now there are athletes that cannot enter, or leave, the United States because of the regime's choices and ideals. There are other athletes that because of their race, their sexuality, their gender... no longer feel welcome or supported in this country. That's where sports enters the fray, because they are athletes. Sticking to sports isn't an option.
How could, after the Muslim ban came into effect with an executive order, beat-writers of the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers not address this issue when the two teams have players that could potentially not leave the United States to play the Toronto Raptors? To visit family, friends or to vacation, outside of the United States?
That same question applies to ultimate the same way that it applies to hockey and football and music and movies. The policies and ideals of the regime don't allow any breathing room, don't allow an escape.
It's important that those consumed by sports don't just stick to sports. Because there are so many individuals in sports who will lead, and will be strong in the face of this.
If you liked what you read above, then these links are for you. This tweet explains a lot of these links, but I'll try to as well.
The Inconvenient Season is from a familiar name in ultimate, Andrew Loveseth, and works to "separate the signal from the noise". I feel like it does a fantastic job, and it's joined the NY Times app as a regular place for me to consume news.
Issac Saul on Facebook is also nothing like the Issac Saul you may have heard from in the stands at College or Club Nationals, or on the playing field. Strong, reasoned opinions that are very well thought out.
When I got into subscribing to a bunch of email newsletters, I found Well-Read Black Girl and was instantly hooked by their strong social media presence, and the topics the newsletter discusses, and the articles and other literary works it links to.
The Ultiworld video subscription to catch all of the college action this season.