June 8 was the date for the 2019 Art Hawkins Great Canadian Ultimate Game, as ultimate Frisbee groups across the country took to the field for a nationwide game fundraising for the Art Hawkins Development Fund.
The fund’s purpose is to support the accessibility and development of the sport in Canada, particularly with youth.
Here in the Yukon, the Yukon Ultimate Frisbee Association Board hosted a game at Tahkini Elementary School in Whitehorse.
Carrie McClelland, game organizer and board member, said the $15 registration fees added up to $250 for the fund after the post-game barbecue.
“More than that, it creates awareness of the sport,” said McClelland. “We use it as a chance to invite a lot of what we’ll call ‘retired’ players — people who used to play quite a bit and faded away for whatever reason, mostly because they’ve started families. We use it as a bit of an outreach to get them back in the game and rejuvenate interest.”
McClelland said a number of players came out for the game despite not playing regularly in years.
“They really held their own,” said McClelland. “A lot of the players out there were literally half their age and you wouldn’t have noticed. They did really well.”
Over the course of the game, players got to experience rain, sunshine and more rain.
The conditions made for slippery footing and a slippery disc.
“We had a lot of dropped passes with (the rain),” said McClelland. “It made for hysterical dropped passes though, as people tried to recover and everything was in good fun.”
Team Red defeated Team White 15-11 here, and Twitter posts from Ultimate Canada would suggest that Team Red won in a number of jurisdictions as well. Final national scores aren’t yet available.
YUFAB holds pickup games at Tahkinini Elementary on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. in the summer, but keeping score for this fixture added a bit of extra energy.
“The thing I noticed that was really awesome was the calibre of play,” said McClelland. “As soon as we start keeping score, a lot of people really stepped up and started trying a lot harder. We kind of stepped back and were like, ‘Whoa, if we actually tried we could do quite well.’”
To get involved in the sport, McClelland said it’s as simple as showing up at the field. There is a $10 registration fee for the season, but McClelland stressed that shouldn’t be the reason someone doesn’t play.
“If that is out of reach for folks, no one is following up to make sure,” said McClelland. “You just show up on the field and you start playing.”
The group is also planning three clinics for the fall at the Canada Games Centre geared toward true beginners.
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org