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Partners in Pride: How Throw Pink is bringing disc golf to underrepresented communities

Partners in Pride: How Throw Pink is bringing disc golf to underrepresented communities

This year’s Pride Collection is a collaboration between Savage and some of our partners that also care deeply about LGBTQIA+ rights. We called this effort “Partners in Pride,” because the focus is on working together to spread awareness, raise funds, and increase visibility and inclusivity in sports.

We’ve worked with each one of our partners to create unique Pride jerseys that they can promote to their followers in the hopes that we can increase exposure to the cause. We will also be running a series of blog posts highlighting how each of these organizations works to support the LGBTQIA+ community. 

First up, we spoke with Sara Nicholson, co-founder of Throw Pink, about using sports to advocate for women’s health and their mission to grow the sport and make disc golf more accessible and inclusive across all genders, ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. 


How did you get into playing disc golf? What drew you to the sport?

Sara Nicholson: I was first introduced to disc golf by my brother. I learned to play during my summers working out in Yellowstone National Park.

My family is very competitive. We love playing games. From baseball to board games — anything with a score. What hooked me about disc golf right away is that you can play by yourself, with a group, just for fun, or in an organized competition. I love being outdoors. Disc golf combines my love for sports and nature into one beautiful and fun activity.

 Throw Pink Women's Disc Golf Charity Tournament Event

 

What inspired you to use disc golf as a way to build awareness and help fight cancer?

SN: My Grandmother had breast cancer when I was born. My parents named me after her. Cancer has always been a conversation in my family. When I ran my first women's event in 2011, I paired it with a local breast cancer charity. I was overwhelmed with the amount of support the charity received from the disc golf women. Throw Pink was born out of that event. Being able to combine something that you love with something that makes an impact is an amazing feeling. Since that first event, Throw Pink has evolved to focus on all aspects of women's health initiatives.

 

How have you and Throw Pink been involved with the LGBTQIA+ community? Why is this important to the organization? Why is this important to you? How do you hope to grow your involvement in the future?  

SN: I have always personally been an advocate and supporter of the LGBTQIA+ community. Our partnership with Savage is Throw Pink's first initiative specifically geared toward the community. We hope this is only the beginning of our outreach and support. 

Disc golf has the potential to provide fulfillment, growth, fun, and health to people of all races, ethnicities, genders, and sexualities. Disc golf can be played successfully by all ages and skill levels. Most disc golf courses are free, and you only need one disc to play. It is truly one of the most inclusive and accessible sports. 
At Throw Pink, we try to be intentional about engaging new players. Since our inception, our volunteers have hosted 72 events with 3,451 participants in 21 states, and three countries. This is just the beginning. Our goal is to be in every city, state, and country on the planet to give more women and girls access to the growth experienced through sports and outdoor recreation. Lofty, I know, but I'm only 42, I have at least another 40 good years to make this happen. 
We pair our events with local charities — raising money and introducing disc golf to their communities. We look forward to using this same model to introduce disc golf to more members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

 

Partners in Pride Throw Pink Rainbow Disc Golf Jersey  

 

What’s unique about being a woman or queer athlete in disc golf? How do you think the LBGTQIA+ community in disc golf compares to other sports? 

SN: Women make up a small percentage of disc golfers, specifically competitive disc golfers. It's powerful how the women, and many of the men as well in the disc golf community, work together to grow women's participation in the sport.  

While the LGBTQIA+ community also makes up a smaller portion of the disc golf community as a whole, there are powerful queer voices amongst athletes, ambassadors, and members of the PDGA governing board looking to expand LGBTQIA+ involvement. We look forward to continuing to be a part of this.

 

 Throw Pink Women's Disc Golf Charity Tournament Event

 

Why is getting more women involved in disc golf so important? What are some of Throw Pink’s initiatives and programs designed to get more women interested in the sport?

SN: In addition to my work with Throw Pink, I also serve on the PDGA Women's Committee and the World Flying Disc Federation's (WFDF) disc golf committee and Women in Sport Commission. WFDF is putting in the work right now on some initiatives for gender equity in flying disc sports. I'm excited to be part of the conversation.

Giving more women and girls opportunities to participate in sports and outdoor recreation through the game of disc golf is my life's work. Sports provide essential health and developmental components (self-esteem and confidence) that many girls are missing out on due to the lack of programs and resources in their communities.

It's not just about the competition side of things, disc golf is fun to just play, and it's a great way to get exercise without even realizing you’re exercising. I would love to see more women out on the course.

Our fun clinics provide an environment in which all who participate can feel safe and welcome. This helps encourage new players to the game. We also work with youth initiatives, start them young. Our Throw Pink team was formed to promote more women's leadership in the sport by supporting and training more women to be event directors in their communities. If women see other women doing it, they'll be more encouraged to try it.

 

What are your thoughts on getting the LGBTQIA+ and POC communities more involved with playing disc golf? What initiatives does Throw Pink take to foster inclusivity and diversity?  

SN: Disc golf is for everyone. I would love to see the demographic that plays disc golf to be a better representation of the human beings on the planet.

At Throw Pink, we try to create a fun and safe atmosphere for new people to experience and learn the game of disc golf. We host a variety of different events in the hopes of finding a format that appeals to everyone. 


How can other organizations help bring disc golf to a more diverse community? 

SN: Reach out to us. We can help you bring disc golf to your community.

 

What are your hopes for the future of the sport?

SN: Positive growth. More people from all walks of life playing. More communities getting behind the fun outdoor recreation that disc golf provides.

 

Shop the Throw Pink Pride Jersey and the rest of our Partners in Pride Collection. A portion of all sales will be donated to the Center for Black Equity and Side by Side.

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The Tampa Bay Cannons on stepping up to fight breast cancer and why Real Men Wear Pink

The Tampa Bay Cannons on stepping up to fight breast cancer and why Real Men Wear Pink

The Tampa Bay Cannons have a lot of heart. If you’re a fan of the team and follow them on social media, you’ve probably seen photos of them out marching for unity and equality, posting fitness tips to motivate us all to stay healthy while social distancing, and sharing pics with their favorite cereals as part of their Feeding Tampa Bay fundraiser. Using their platform to raise awareness and support causes that are important to them is a huge part of what makes the Tampa Bay Cannons who they are. 

One of the causes that is so important to the organization is raising awareness about breast cancer, particularly in often overlooked segments of the population, namely men and people of color. Through their passion for philanthropy and partnership with the American Cancer Society, the Cannons’ Real Men Wear Pink campaign began. Last year, for their Mother’s Day game, the team wore pink wristbands onfield, gave flowers to moms, sold pink gear, and donated full proceeds to ACS. This year, the plan was to take things even further — an ACS education booth at the game, a whole field full of players in pink jerseys, news coverage, 50/50 raffles, auctions, and more. The whole team was looking forward to ramping up their efforts to help raise even more awareness and working to raise their goal amount of $5000 to donate to ACS.

2020 hasn’t gone the way any of us expected. Vacation plans have been scratched out. Events have been canceled. Sports seasons have been postponed. While many of the disruptions that COVID-19 has had on daily life are pretty obvious, there’s also a ripple effect, and unfortunately, the Cannons’ fundraising efforts for the year have also been thwarted. But despite the COVID setbacks, they’re determined to do everything they can to help raise awareness, raise funds, and fight the stigma surrounding men and breast cancer. Because men do get breast cancer. About 1 in every 833 men, in fact. 

And that’s why this year, for Father’s Day, we’re launching the Tampa Bay Cannons Real Men Wear Pink jersey. To raise awareness, start a conversation, and raise critical funds to donate to ACS. With the rest of their grand plans on hold, jersey sales and direct donations are the primary ways you can help support the Cannons RMWP campaign. If you’re unable to donate, then sharing on social or simply having a conversation with a dad in your life this weekend are also amazing ways to help.

We recently spoke with Peter Masone, General Manager of the Tampa Bay Cannons, about the Real Men Wear Pink fundraiser and why this is such an important cause to the team. Read on below to learn more about their partnership with ACS and why it’s crucial for men to get involved in the fight against breast cancer. 

 

Tampa Bay Cannons AUDL Ultimate Frisbee Team Real Men Wear Pink Jersey

 

What is the Real Men Wear Pink fundraiser about? Why did the Tampa Bay Cannons decide to partner with the American Cancer Society for a pink jersey?

Peter Masone: In general, we have all been touched one way or another by cancer. Our involvement started simply with me looking to layer an existing charity interest with our team initiative to promote women in sports during a half-time women's scrimmage.  

However, if you look deeper into breast cancer statistics, approximately 2,600 men are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. Plus, about 520 men will die from breast cancer per year. Due to the lack of awareness and, jeesh who thinks of men when you say “breast cancer”!?, the mortality rate for men is much higher.  

White women are 100x more likely to be diagnosed than men and black women 70x more likely than black men. As you can see, awareness on all fronts is needed and having a men’s team taking up the cause helps create a sense of comfort to talk about potential issues more freely. 

 

How long have the Cannons been partnering with ACS? How did this partnership start and how has it grown? How has COVID-19 impacted your fundraising efforts?

PM: The partnership officially started last season, in 2019 after the move to Tampa Bay. Last year, we held a Mother's Day Pink event (and had another one on the schedule for this season). We gave flowers to all the moms who came out to the game. We also had our two Florida club partners — Fiasco and Tabby Rosa — play an 18-minute long half-time showcase. Basically, the whole weekend was all about women. Women in sport, moms, and health by the way of breast cancer awareness and fundraising. Everyone on the team wore pink wristbands to represent our dedication to fighting breast cancer. We sold pink merch and 100% of the profits from any pink merch sold were donated to ACS.

 

AUDL Tampa Bay Cannons Real Men Wear Pink Wristbands Mother's Day Game American Cancer Society Fundraiser

 

We also engaged in several remote fundraising events under the RMWP banner, as well as participated in the Making Strides walk in October. I believe, overall we were able to raise a modest $2500 through our various fundraisers.

This season, we planned to build on that foundation. On Mother's Day, ACS planned to have a large presence on-site for RMWP with a booth to help with awareness. Each game leading up to and after Mother’s Day, the RMWP Pinellas team would hold a 50/50 raffle. The intent was promoting the Mother's Day event and gaining maximum exposure to raise donations by just reminding people constantly PINK! Along with that, the Cannons were planning to wear their official pink jerseys that day. Naturally, we expected that to create some attention. We had the local news affiliate who is heavily active with ACS and Making Strides to shine a light on it. 

All this effort would culminate in October again at Making Strides where the team would show up to meet and greet, wear the pink jerseys, and be there for whatever the ACS wants to use for promotion. The grand plan is to auction the game-worn pink jerseys for more donations.

Minus some setbacks from COVID-19 delaying the start of the season, this is all still building and developing. Throughout the year, we expect to continue to build in partnership with ACS and the RMWP. 

 

What are your goals for this fundraiser?

PM: Honestly re-evaluating this due to the COVID delays. We were originally shooting for a modest $5000 total donations, but potentially moving to a more realistic goal due to the fundraising delays. Perhaps $2500 would make more sense with all the unknowns. 

(Editor’s note: I believe they can do it! Let’s all help them get to $5000!)

 

How can your fans get involved and support this cause?

PM: By purchasing pink Cannons gear! A portion of the proceeds will be donated directly to the ACS. Share our RMWP promotions to spread awareness and, if possible, donate!

 

Shop the Tampa Bay Cannons Real Men Wear Pink jersey. A portion of all sales will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

 

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Here's how much money you helped raise for anti-racism organizations

Here's how much money you helped raise for anti-racism organizations

Thank you for being such active agents towards change. 

We launched our anti-racism fundraiser on Friday, June 5 around noon. With the help of partners like L.A. Throwback Foundation, American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL), and Major League Quidditch (MLQ), we were able to fund 500 free Black Lives Matter jerseys. By the time we stopped answering emails on Friday, we'd already received 150 requests.

We asked you to send us your donation receipts, and we got 'em! The emails flooded in with receipts totalling an excess of $25,000 of donations. You did this.

We also collected an additional $11,500 through our site in direct sales of these jerseys. As promised, we're donating every cent of that to organizations directly in the fight against racism and white supremacy. 

From this $11,500 collected in direct sales, we are making the following contributions, as directed by the donors:

  • $2,650 to Black Lives Matter
  • $800 to Black Trans Advocacy Coalition
  • $300 to Black Visions Collective
  • $500 to Center for Policing Equity
  • $750 to Color of Change
  • $1,250 to Equal Justice Initiative
  • $1,000 to L.A. Black Worker Center
  • $2,050 NAACP Legal Defense Fund
  • $1,200 to National Bail Fund Network (Community Justice Exchange)
  • $1,000 to People for People

To add to an already awesome amount of donations collected, our supporting and promotional partners report a minimum total of an additional $7,500 in verified donations. 

That's over $43,000 donated by you, our community. And that's not enough. 

Please don't let your fight stop here. Keep showing up — keep learning, marching, donating, educating, believing — and keep taking the steps to make change happen around you. 

Like I said before, we got a lot of emails. I'm sure we missed some that should have received their codes for a free jersey. We had to let many people know that we had run out. But, don't let this discourage you. Your donations count and your activism counts. Keep up the good work and be on the lookout for the next release. 

We're not done yet, either. 

 (Photo credit: Joey Wharton Photography)

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How one ultimate player is fighting for a cure for Cystic Fibrosis

How one ultimate player is fighting for a cure for Cystic Fibrosis

STEM Ultimate coach Joe Norskov is the best kind of role model. The Knoxville resident is using Ultimate and his connections to help advance the mission of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. It’s a cause that’s been dear to his heart since he learned that a teammate was struggling with the disease. Since then, he’s made it his mission to help find a cure. 

Recently, Joe was nominated as for the 2019 class of Rising Stars by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. As part of that, he’s raising money for the organization. At press time, he’s raised nearly $8000 toward his $10,000 goal. You can help Joe reach his goal by shopping this exclusive "Joe Norskov" jersey. Proceeds from this jersey's sales will be contributed to Joe's fundraising campaign. 

Savage is proud to count Joe as a longtime customer, and we recently sat down with him to get to know him a bit better. Here’s what he had to say.

Savage: How did you get your start playing ultimate? What do you love about the sport? 

Joe Norskov: My older brother attended University of Colorado in 2002, which I believe was two years prior to Beau Kittredge's first season. I mention Beau because the iconic Beau Jumps Over a Guy YouTube video was a moment in my life. While my brother never played for the Mamabirds, he attended lots of pickup games and brought home the sport to me. I tried and failed to get people at my high school interested, but luckily when I tried in college I had a senior co-founder who was well versed in student government. We started the team at my alma mater Maryville College in 2005 and were the bad news bears of D3 college ultimate. Crowning achievement: we beat Harvard's B-team at B-Easterns one year for maybe like 13th place (possibly lower). Many of those teammates became lifelong friends and 4/7ths of my groomsmen at my wedding were college teammates.  

Two main things I love about ultimate: there's an inherent beauty of a disc in flight and the community is incredible. I gave a Pecha Kucha talk in May 2018 that outlines many of the reasons I believe ultimate can help society improve. Conflict resolution, accountability, and being able to laugh at oneself are incredibly important life skills. Those skills are common in ultimate players. 

Savage: What's your involvement in the Knoxville scene? What makes it special? 

JN: The Knoxville scene has given me a lot and I am just trying to give back. Analogy: If you ride on the bus for a while, it's only fair to take a turn driving. I am on the board for Knoxville Youth Ultimate as treasurer and run our winter goalty league as a board member for Knoxville Ultimate Club. This is the sixth school year I've been involved with youth and am the assistant head coach of L&N STEM Academy. We placed seventh in the nation last year at Cut's national invite tourney in Rockford, Illinois. For the adult club, I've been captaining summer, fall, and winter leagues for four years and have been running winter league for three years… Knoxville ultimate is a community that has been pushing for high level ultimate in all the right ways for years: youth and co-ed or women's ultimate. What makes the Knoxville scene particularly special to me is that I met my now wife on a summer league team five years ago.

Savage: When did you start taking an interest in fighting Cystic Fibrosis? Can you tell us about your friend? 

JN: I met him playing ultimate in college and his name quickly became a verb on our team. Pulling a Chris Allen meant you made some ridiculous shot that most people couldn't, or otherwise performed far above average. His first year of playing he was just a cut above everyone as a natural athlete. At one cold tournament, we noticed his hands turning a little blue and we started asking questions. He explained he had this disease since birth that caused among other things poor circulation. Over the course of our years together on the ultimate team, I could see him declining a bit due to the other terrible effects of CF. Luckily in 2012, the drug Kalydeco was released and it worked really well for him. We were able to play summer league together with many of our old college teammates in 2015. Our dismal record didn't reflect how much fun we had.

Savage: Tell us about your Cystic Fibrosis Foundation campaign.

JN: My campaign is part of my nomination for the 2019 class of Rising Stars by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Rising Stars are outstanding young professionals in the Knoxville community recognized for their commitment to volunteerism and career achievement. My work with Knoxville Youth Ultimate was a major contributor to my nomination. As part of this award, I pledged to raise funds for the organization. I have happily doubled my initial goal and have since increased it twice. It is amazing to see such incredible generosity for such a worthy cause.

Savage: Have you found that the ultimate community is supportive of charitable causes like this? 

JN: The local ultimate community has been huge. Friends of mine realized the opportunity and decided to make a Knoxville ultimate table at the black tie gala that will honor all Rising Stars. Many other people in the ultimate community have pitched in as well with individual donations. Other charitable causes in the past have included helping to fund Knoxville's youth teams when they traveled to their first national tournament (Knoxville high school women's team placed ninth last year at the national invite as well — they're awesome!), helping to fund medical bills, helping after a skiing accident, volunteering to clean up a local park of invasive plant species in exchange for field access, and many, many others.

Savage: Anything else you want to add?

JN: Before starting this fundraising campaign as part of receiving my Rising Star recognition, I was very averse to asking for help, donations, or sponsorships. This process has taught me that people want to help, donate, and sponsor if you ask. You just have to ask.  

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Savage Stands in Solidarity with Charlottesville

Savage Stands in Solidarity with Charlottesville

We watched with heavy hearts as violence unfolded in our home state of Virginia this past weekend. Charlottesville is just over an hour west of our headquarters in Richmond, and we all know it as a beautiful, peaceful city that's home to many close friends and family members. It was devastating to see a place we love so much overtaken by so much hate and bigotry.

Savage stands in solidarity with Charlottesville, and we stand against hate—which is why we're donating 100 percent of the profits from the sale of these shirts to the ACLU of Virginia. The organization promotes civil rights and liberties for everyone in Virginia through education, advocacy, and litigation. Purchase your "Stop Hate" shirt here.

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