Philly Fusion was an amazing opportunity that my team was fortunate enough to participate in. The weeks leading up and preparing for the weekend were exciting but the actual event was a dream come true.
The Shippensburg Lady Goats are a brand new group of girls that are just starting to build their team. Between games we would sit on the sideline and watch the club Women's Ultimate. The girls on our team were able to watch and ask questions so when they were playing they understood what was going on. Seeing club and elite women play right alongside our beginner college team had a huge effect on our team. After being defeated in every game, it showed our girls what they have the potential to be. Our team did not have a successful record but after watching highly competitive games, we were able to bounce back up and come out strong for each and every game.
Having a club and college division at the tournament was a huge success. Teams like the Lady Goats and other new teams that are just building their programs had the opportunity to see club teams that started out just like they did. One of the biggest problems with Women's Ultimate is that people do not know how serious the sport can be. When new players see highly competitive games, they get excited about a sport many people do not even know exists. At this point, Women's Ultimate is hardly heard of but with so many new people joining the sport, I think it is only a matter of time until Women's Ultimate explodes.
Every game we played was hard fought by each and every player. While my team was not able to win any of our games, we were able to score against every team we played. Teams we played were understanding that our team is brand new and only 1/3 of our team has ever played in a serious game before. When a foul was called, the other team helped to explain what the call was for and explain how to prevent future calls. It is easy for high levels teams to take advantage of a new team. While our games were not close against these teams, they took the time and had the respect for us to explain things to our new players. I think this goes along with the spirit of the game and the spirit of the tournament to expand Women's Ultimate. After pool play ended and we were placed in brackets, our team did exceptionally well. We took every game to cap on Sunday and our spirits were a lot higher than on Saturday. Playing teams at the same level as us was a confidence booster that we have the potential to win games and be a great team.
The trade show and skills clinic was a great experience for the new and old players alike. New players were able to branch out and network with other players and teams. New players were introduced to high competition Ultimate in a friendly manner and learned the fun games that go along with the sport of Ultimate. The skills clinic helped all of our players become more knowledgeable about the sport. The captains took clinics like, "The Art of Laying Out" to get more competitive while our newbie players took "Two Hands and Other Useless Cliches" to be comfortable with the disc. Every girl came back with information to share with the rest of the team that we hope to implement into practice.
From the Lady Goats perspective, the tournament was a huge success. We filled our goal: to not be shut out all weekend, and we had a great time. Our girls learned a lot and the new players they were able to go home feeling good about the tournament. Philly Fusion was at a great time in the year so teams have the opportunity to build off of this weekend.
Amanda 'Gazelle' Swank is the captain of the Shippensburg Lady Goats