Over the past two months, the College of William and Mary Ultimate Frisbee teams put on the Virginia Showcase Series. The series consisted of three matchups for the men’s A-Team, Darkhorse, and two for the women’s A-Team, the Mother Huckers.
There were two main goals for the showcase games. One was to provide a unique experience for players and spectators alike. Unlike the tournament-style setup, where teams play multiple games back-to-back, the showcase games allowed the players to focus on a single two-hour contest. This also gave spectators the opportunity to come out and observe in a more relaxed setting.
“It’s a lot different than how we normally do games with like the tournament format being three of four games a day over a weekend,” August Wagner ’21 said. “So, this is a lot more exciting, to come out and play one game. And usually we have to travel, so it’s really exciting for like our friends and family to be able to come and see us. Especially when not a lot of people know what frisbee is, really, or like how it’s played, so it’s fun for us to show them.”
The second objective was to raise money and awareness for two charities: The Girls Ultimate Movement, a community outreach program to encourage female involvement in ultimate, and Here for the Girls, a local not-for-profit that raises money to support young women affected by breast cancer.
“Originally we were just gonna have it be, you know, one dollar to come to the game and we’ll donate that,” Maggie Pendleton ’20 said. “But people donated so much online, which meant so much to us … and just it makes you feel closer to the other team because you’re both working toward something, and you’re there for a bigger cause, so it’s not as much of a competition as it is being there to support a really great charity and then play together. It’s awesome.”
The series kicked off Feb. 9 with Darkhorse defeating Mary Washington 15-12. In the second game of the series Feb. 23, Darkhorse competed against James Madison with an exciting 15-11 victory, while the Mother Huckers had an impressive victory over Mary Washington with a score of 15-2.
“[The Girls Ultimate Movement] is a terrific movement,” College Katherine Rowe, who was also in attendance and cheering on the College’s Ultimate Frisbee teams, said. “I think this is a wonderful sport for young women and for girls. It’s one of the few sports where if you’re a rookie, whether you’re a girl or a boy, you can learn the throws just as fast; you can learn the play just as fast, because most players come to the sport not knowing it at all. It’s a second chance sport for people who haven’t been athletes before, so it’s an incredible opportunity to learn how to compete with a team, on behalf of a team.”
The final game of the Virginia Showcase Series saw both Darkhorse and Mother Huckers facing off against their respective Richmond teams. The women overpowered Richmond 15-4, while the men dropped a thrilling match 16-14. Contributions from the series finale supported Here for the Girls, with Richmond raising an impressive $1,325 and the College earning $760 for the Williamsburg-based charity. In attendance was Lisa Marshall, a volunteer for Here for the Girls and survivor of breast cancer.
“These kind of activities with youth, with the younger population being involved in charitable giving, is just so heartwarming,” Marshall said. “I just think it’s phenomenal.”
Rowe, who was spending an evening at home, said she found it the perfect opportunity to come out and support the teams.
“For me, the spirit of the game is the thing that called me to the sport and that kept me in it as a competitive player and as a coach and as a supporter,” Rowe said. “The idea that we are all here to support extraordinary play but never at the cost of any one player’s basic joy of play. Win at all cost isn’t what we’re here for. That’s a very powerful idea for me.”
The Virginia Showcase Series accomplished and exceeded both of its goals. Friends, family and fans were able to come out and support Darkhorse and the Mother Huckers, and a grand total of $2,085 was donated to Here for the Girls.
“Everything really went as well or better than I expected in terms of turnout, in terms of the quality of play and in terms of the donations that we got,” David Jensen ’19 said. “We had way, way, way more support than I expected. Richmond did a good job drumming up support. We had a lot of parents donate on our end. That blew me away, when I checked this week and checked today and saw it continue. We did lose to Richmond; Richmond raised more money than us, unfortunately, but definitely all for a good cause and definitely very proud of everything that we’ve done.”