June 20, 2014 by Keith Raynor in Livewire with 2 comments
Lots of people devote exorbitant amounts of themselves into Ultimate: training, learning, watching, playing, traveling. But most of that effort is put in to improve themselves. They hit the track or the weight room, stay late after practice, or travel to tournaments so they can make the team or earn more playing time or get more Ds.
Michelle Ng does it for everyone else. She’s all but martyred herself for the betterment of Ultimate.
I’ve been looking for an excuse to dedicate some words to what Michelle has done. Perhaps the launch of Womeninultimate.com is just the reason. I’m most certainly not the first and without a doubt not the last to be touched, impressed, inspired, or humbled by this woman’s efforts. It isn’t a new tune I’m singing; I’m just another voice in the chorus.
An insane number of hours spent on the road. Even more spent on the phone or sending emails, arranging tournaments or talking to captains. Don’t even try to add in the time spent on various score reporting sites. Plus the long tournament days themselves. And through the horror stories of stolen iPads, unexpected storms, field cancellations, and overturned port-o-potties, she’s emerged, no less focused on giving what she has to all of us without anyone asking.
It’s more than just tournaments. Sure, those are a huge part of it: Michelle brings opportunities to play at well-organized and recognized events for teams that might otherwise not have access. She connects leaders at every level with young potential leaders who will build wherever they call home. Those future leaders get her support when they need it – it is remarkable how accessible Michelle is despite being so busy – and that builds a community.
Indulge a personal anecdote. Michelle and I have known each other a couple of years, but mostly only in passing and through mutual friends. But when I was helping the team I coach organize a tournament and we had a last minute cancellation that left us with an uncomfortable number of teams, I found myself struggling to figure out how to schedule our rounds. When I contacted Michelle, she didn’t hesitate to take some time to help me with the format. We got on the phone and talked about the options, and she was patient and offered any future assistance she could. It was a small gesture but it meant a lot to me.
So you can count me in. I hope others will feel the same, or at least visit Womeninultimate.com and spread the word. Michelle hasn’t had to do it alone, but she has done way more than anyone could have or should have asked of her.
Chances are she’s done something for you that you didn’t realize. Maybe its sacrifice her entire day to drive up to secure field sites for a tournament you were attending. Maybe it is run a clinic that one of your future best players attended. It could be that she gave institutional knowledge to someone who will help, or already did, guide your team. She’s given to you, or your teammates, or your friends, or your community.
We all owe it to give back.