In the four years I’ve been attending the High Tide Ultimate Tournament as a Savage employee, I’ve seen a lot of crazy things happen — but 2020 is the year I know I’ll always remember. The spread of COVID-19 ended this year’s tournament two weeks early, and most of us also recognized it could mean the end of the college season as well. For many seniors, it was a heartbreaking moment.
There was a distinct shift at the tournament among players and staff as we all began to process what was about to happen. There was a deep feeling of mourning as news spread that not only was the tournament ending, but schools were closing their doors for the foreseeable future, effectively ending the college Ultimate season.
It’s natural for players to obsess over what didn’t happen, or what could’ve been. I know I’ve struggled with this myself. For some players, it may be the last time they see some of their seniors for a long time. For some seniors, it’s the last time they’ll be playing with some of their teammates.
But this is what I keep thinking about, and why I’m grateful that I was at High Tide at this moment in time: Witnessing the love players have not only for each other, but also for their opponents at this event, has been life-changing. This truly is a special sport we play. From seeing teams treat a fun Spring Break tournament like it was their last Nationals run, to crying with new players on my old college team, High Tide 2020 was unforgettable.
It’s painful to think about, but we ought to stay positive, keeping this in mind: Our family of Ultimate players may just be one of the most tight-knit sports communities in the world. I — and the rest of the Savage team — love to come to Myrtle Beach not just to interact with you all and see you play some of the wackiest “games” of ultimate possible, but to be reminded of how much we love this sport ourselves.
Seniors, addressing you all directly for a moment, we want to offer our sympathy for the abrupt end to some of your seasons. While this is the end of one chapter, we can assure you there’s so much more in store for you. Look forward to joining new teams, new players to befriend, plays to make, and yes, more tears to be shed.
For now, make sure you leave your teams in a better state than you joined them. Leave a lasting impression for the younger crowd, and continue to be the leaders you wanted when you started playing. While the season’s ending early can lead to questioning of what might’ve been, it’s pointless to wonder about the unknown. Try not to mourn the fact that this chapter is over. It’s better to focus on the incredible times we had, celebrate the fact that you got to experience it, and that you have so much to look forward to.
It’s crucial during times like this that we hold our favorite people and memories close to give us comfort. We can and probably will feel sad thinking about it, but remember: This community doesn’t end with college. One of the things I love most about Ultimate is that it’s truly a year-round sport if you want it to be. With almost unlimited access to seasonal leagues, club tryouts, and even just casual pickup, Ultimate has never stopped growing — and this will not stop it.
Stay safe, stay healthy, stay Savage.
Written by Savage's Production/Order Rockstar, Nick Evans