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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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10 Fun Ways to Stay Connected to Your Friends and Teammates While Social Distancing (That Aren’t Just Skype)

10 Fun Ways to Stay Connected to Your Friends and Teammates While Social Distancing (That Aren’t Just Skype)

In the span of just a few tumultuous days, the sports world ground to a halt and social distancing became the norm — leaving many of us feeling unmoored. Humans are social beings, and sports are truly about so much more than the game itself. While we love the intensity and fun of playing, the community and social aspects are just as important — and one of the main reasons why we love sports like Ultimate Frisbee, Spikeball, Quidditch, Disc Golf, and Dodgeball so much.

So what happens when high-fives are suddenly forbidden, all social gatherings and games are canceled, local hangouts are temporarily closed, and social distancing becomes a critical part of staying safe and healthy? We get creative and come up with new ways to stay connected to our friends, family, and teammates. Social interaction, bonding, and coming together as a community are probably more important now than ever, which is why we’ve come up with a list of 10 fun and creative ways to help you stay connected. 

Host a Virtual Group Lunch or Coffee — When you’d normally be at practice, do a full-team coffee hour or eat a meal via Skype or Google Hangouts video chat. Having a set time to bring everyone together as a group helps to maintain a routine and stay connected and is a good way to check in on everyone.

Go Outside! — Large social gatherings are off-limits, and maintaining a distance of six feet is encouraged, but unless you’re in a city or state where you’re barred from leaving your house for unnecessary reasons, you should absolutely be going outside and getting some fresh air and a bit of exercise. Take a friend or two and go on a hike or a jog or bike ride (give the handlebars a good wipe with sanitizer before and after). So long as you’re all healthy/asymptomatic, refrain from high-fives, and maintain a safe distance apart, some time outdoors with a couple of friends should be totally okay.

Have a Remote Workout Sesh — Set up a group video chat and have your team captain or another volunteer lead the group in a basic workout or yoga session. Even though you can’t get out and play together, you can still stay in shape and game-ready for when seasons start up again. Group motivation and holding each other accountable is a great way to stay fit and healthy together so you can dominate next season. Stay tuned to the Savage Blog, Facebook, and Instagram for some tips and home exercises to help.

Do a Group Photo Challenge — A photo challenge is a great way to stay busy and have some fun together. Decide on your approach (Googling “photo challenge” will give you plenty of options to choose from, but here’s a good basic one). Every day, you each have to take a photo that fits the theme for that day then share in a group chat or on social with your own hashtag. 

Play Mobile Games — The great thing about mobile games is that everyone has a smartphone, and most of these games are free. Draw Something, Words With Friends, and Drawful are pretty much modern classics at this point. Ever get into a cut-throat game of Draw Something with your grandparents? If not, you have 100% been missing out. 

Host a Virtual Game Night — If you’re more a fan of playing board games and missing your regular Cards Against Humanity throwdown or poker night, there are also plenty of options for playing board and card games online with your mates. Monopoly, UNO, Yahtzee Party, and poker are all solid options for a virtual game night. There’s also a fun Cards Against Humanity clone that includes a very necessary group chat feature since commenting and laughing over the card combos is an essential part of the game. 

Organize a Virtual Book Club — Google Play, Open Library, Free eBooks, and Project Gutenberg offer an extensive array of free eBook options to choose from. If you don’t feel like falling down a black hole of book options, r/freeEBOOKS is a great place to find solid recommendations. Other than entertainment and offering mental escape, plenty of books can also impart valuable lessons in leadership and teamwork. Our friends at Five Ultimate put together this list of great reads that can also sharpen your game. Once everyone decides on a book, set up a reading schedule and video chats to discuss. And yes, it’s totally fair to read Harry Potter again together.

Give Each Other a Little Boost — Sarahah is a site and iOS/Android app that lets you post anonymous messages for your friends. Have everyone on your team sign up and share their links, then go through and leave everyone a nice message telling them something you admire or appreciate about them. It’s totally anonymous, but you can leave your name if you’d like.

Start a D&D Group  There’s a reason why Dungeons & Dragons has been the most popular role-playing game since the 70s — it’s fun! With everything going on right now, this feels like the perfect time to get together with a group of friends and escape into a fantasy world for a few hours. With social distancing, you might not be able to gather around a table to play, but fortunately, there are some really amazing online options. Roll20 is a great way to play D&D together online, either building your own campaign from scratch or using one of their ready-to-play campaigns. Set up a video chat using FaceTime, Skype, or Google Hangouts and get ready to party with rangers and warlocks.

Start Planning for Next Season — It’s a very rough and uncertain time right now, and many of us are mourning our interrupted seasons. Though things can seem pretty grim at the present moment, it’s more important now than ever to keep looking ahead. There will be a light at the end of all this. Sports will come back. Leagues will start up again. Tournaments will be rescheduled. And when they do, it’ll be such an incredibly celebratory moment. The start of next season will likely be the biggest, most exciting start to any season ever. And it’s totally okay to start getting hyped about it now! Skype with your teammates and discuss game strategy and ways to kick more ass than ever next season. Brainstorm ways to introduce new people to your sport and get them excited and involved. Start designing those new uniforms you’ve been talking about for ages. Come up with some cool fundraising ideas. Plan the most epic first-game after-party ever. Because we will all play again. And together, we’ll come back stronger and better than ever.

Photo by Bruno Gomiero for Unsplash

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A Phase of College Ultimate May Be Over, But We’re Ready to Focus on What’s Ahead

A Phase of College Ultimate May Be Over, But We’re Ready to Focus on What’s Ahead

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 


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Savage’s Ultimate Guide to the Best (and Cheapest!) North Myrtle Beach Restaurants

Savage’s Ultimate Guide to the Best (and Cheapest!) North Myrtle Beach Restaurants

For the past five years, college Ultimate teams have descended upon North Myrtle Beach, S.C. for a week of Spring Break hangs, parties, and games. Of course, High Tide is all about the Ultimate, but there’s also a whole lot to see, eat, and do off the fields, too. 

North Myrtle Beach is a cute, kitschy beach town with plenty of unique local flavor, and the Savage crew has attended every year that High Tide has been hosted in NMB, carefully honing our list of must-dos in town. Here are some of our tried and true NMB favorites you should absolutely check out while at High Tide. 

Southern Sunrise Pancake House

Best Cheap Breakfast Restaurants North Myrtle Beach Southern Sunrise Pancake House
Photo: Lauren DeLuca for Savage

NMB is practically exploding with pancake houses. We’re not sure where they all came from or why this area seems to have such an unprecedented passion for round breakfast foods, but we sure do appreciate it. You could easily spend the entire week eating your way through the Grand Strand’s 40-plus pancake options, but just in case you don’t want to have such an extremely pancakey High Tide, you could skip the taste test and go straight for our fave: Southern Sunrise Pancake House. We’ve tried many of NMB’s pancake offerings over the years, but we always come back to Southern Sunrise. Their pancakes are the way pancakes ought to be: light, fluffy, golden-brown discs of heaven, brimming with tasty toppings of your choosing. If you’re not in a pancake mood (wait, is this actually a thing that happens?) their menu is full of delicious non-pancake options including a variety of creative benedicts, omelettes, and biscuits. 3407 Hwy. 17 S., (843) 361-4080

Nacho Hippo 

Best Fun Restaurants North Myrtle Beach Nacho Hippo
Photo courtesy of Nacho Hippo

After a long day at the fields, we often want to kick back and have some fun — and Nacho Hippo is the perfect spot to do that. The creative nachos and tacos are usually what draw us in, and then the all-day $3 margs are what keep us there chatting, sipping and munching away. In addition to margaritas, they also have 32-ounce bucket-sized tropical cocktails for $15 that are perfect for sharing. While the drinks are cheap and delicious, the food really is the star here. Nacho Hippo isn’t your traditional Mexican cuisine; the menu is all about the über-creative Tex-Mex fusion, blissfully marrying dishes like tacos, nachos, and quesadillas with Chinese, Japanese, Caribbean, and Southern influences. Order a platter of the signature Hipponachomus — crispy house-made chips topped with chili, taco beef, shredded chicken, queso, lettuce, cheese, and pico — to share with your squad and then take your pick of their unique taco options. We recommend the Bangin’ Shrimp, Ka-Ka-Ka-Kia, and Kahuna. 850 N. Beach Blvd., (843) 663-9393

Duffy Street Seafood Shack 

Best Seafood Happy Hour Restaurant North Myrtle Beach Duffy St Seafood Shack

Photo courtesy of Duffy St Seafood Shack

If you spend a week on the beach and don’t eat some local seafood, you’re doing it wrong. We firmly believe the best seafood comes from divey beachside shacks, and Duffy Street is a perfect example of this. No need to shower or dress up; this place welcomes the sandy, the sweaty, and the sunburnt with open arms and fluffy hushpuppies. Head to Happy Hour from 4-6 p.m. and leave happy and stuffed full of 75 cent oysters and clams, 45 cent shrimp, $7.99/half-pound crab legs, and of course a signature rum punch fishbowl to wash it all down. Happy Hour or not, the Duffy Street menu is full of tasty made-to-order seafood options. Their Pig Skin Shrimp, Crab Cakes, Duffy Street Steam Pot, and Volcano Chocolate Cake are all solid choices. For the indecisive or exceptionally hungry, they also offer combo platters or the mega Pirate’s Plate — a massive offering of broiled fish, Old Bay shrimp, Alaskan snow crab, and broiled scallops. 319 Sea Mountain Hwy., (843) 249-7902 

The Shack Best Cheap Eats Restaurants North Myrtle Beach The Shack Fried Catfish

Photo courtesy of The Shack

It’s pretty rare to find a solid restaurant that serves a truly outstanding breakfast and lunch and dinner. The Shack is one of those rare gems, slinging top-notch Southern food from morning ‘til night. Go early for huge fluffy slices of Texas-style French Toast, homemade biscuits smothered in sausage gravy, or, for the truly famished, try the Shack Attack — a platter piled high with eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, and home fries. The Shack’s breakfast options are sure to provide plenty of fuel for a grueling day on the fields, and their dinners are the perfect way to satiate that end-of-day Ultimate hunger. Refuel with their huge portions (at great prices) of Fried Catfish, Beach House Burgers, Fried Chicken, and Shrimp ‘n’ Grits that rival any Southern grandma’s. Their “meat-and-three” specials are also a big favorite — pick one meat and any three of their plentiful side options for under 10 bucks. 1128 Sea Mountain Hwy., 843-663-3636 

Hoskins Restaurant 

Best Cheap Family Restaurants North Myrtle Beach Hoskins Fried Chicken

Photo courtesy of Hoskins Restaurant

Cherry Grove has been a popular tourist destination since the ‘50s, and Hoskins Restaurant has been there feeding those hungry beachgoers since the very beginning. One of the very first restaurants in the Grand Strand, Hoskins first opened its doors in 1948 and quickly became a NMB icon and institution. This family-owned and operated joint is chock full of classic Americana vibes, old-school charm, and the best fried chicken in the area. Their menu is loaded with killer Southern options including ridiculously fresh fried-to-order seafood, smoked chopped barbecue, and pork chops, and you really can’t go wrong with anything on their menu, but once you try their famous fried chicken, you’ll probably have a hard time even considering eating anything other than that hot juicy Hoskins fried chicken ever again. 405 Main St, (843) 249-2014

Krave Bagel Bistro 

Best Breakfast Restaurant North Myrtle Beach Krave Bagel Bistro

Photo courtesy of Krave Bagel Bistro

If you need to grab a quick bite on the way to the fields, Krave has you covered. Their convenient location on Hwy. 17 combined with their drive-up window makes this the perfect grab-and-go High Tide breakfast option. They tout “the only true Northern-style bagel in the area,” and Savage’s NYC-born-and-bred staffers give them their enthusiastic stamp of approval. Krave’s bagels are made fresh daily and come in all the classic varieties as well as a few unique ones like Marble Rye and French Toast. Get one toasted and topped with the schmear of your choosing or go for a baconeggandcheese breakfast sammy. (Important note for my Tristate friends: They. Have. Taylor. Ham.) 1434 Hwy. 17 S., (843) 427-7310

Sweet Molly’s Creamery

Best Desserts North Myrtle Beach Sweet Molly's Creamery Homemade Ice Cream

Photo courtesy of Sweet Molly's Creamery

We’ve covered a lot of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, but, of course, we couldn’t neglect the most important meal of the day — dessert! No trip to the beach is complete without a nice frosty cone, and Sweet Molly’s in Barefoot Landing is definitely the place to satisfy your sweet tooth. Their MO is similar to another popular ice cream chain: pick a flavor and get your choice of syrups and toppings mixed directly in, creating a custom frozen treat. Choose from any of their 20 daily flavor options, which range from classics like chocolate and mint to the more inventive like piña colada, salted caramel, watermelon taffy, and pumpkin spice. They make all their ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbet in-house daily and with so many options to choose from, we totally wouldn’t judge you for making multiple trips to work your way through as many combos of scoops, toppings, syrups, shakes, and sundaes as possible while in town. 4728-F Hwy. 17 S., (843) 663-4373

Old South BBQ Co.

Best BBQ Restaurants North Myrtle Beach Old South BarBQ Co

Photo by Patricia F/Yelp

There’s just no way we could let you spend a week in one of the South’s best beach towns without having some traditional Southern barbecue. As you drive up to Old South BBQ, you can’t miss the giant sign outside boasting “BEST BUTTS ON THE BEACH,” and they sure ain’t lying. Eating is believing, though, and their barbecue-chopped pork sandwich is an absolute must. Round it off with some smoked chicken wings, spicy BBQ beans, hushpuppies, and a half-and-half sweet tea. Eat at one of the picnic tables outside or grab one of their family packs to-go on your way back to the house. 1020 Sea Mountain Hwy., (843) 663-1056

Main Photo by Andy Wang for Unsplash
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Photo Gallery: High Tide 2020 Week 1 Recap

Photo Gallery: High Tide 2020 Week 1 Recap

We're so stoked to be back in Myrtle Beach for week 2 of High Tide! Week 1 was such a blast. We brought in Dani from Aria Discs to help out and show off this year's Aria custom High Tide discs. We built and stocked our Savage High Tide Store with tons of great merch, played Spikeball, had cookouts on the beach, threw our first VIIIP Pizza Party, cheered on all our teams, celebrated our new merger, and, of course, played plenty of Ultimate.

The Savage staff crushed it on the field during the weekly Hat Tournament and the entire crew – including Savage/XII CEO Todd! – teamed up with Cedarville and the High Tide Staff for one truly epic and very rainy game on Wednesday. Scroll down to check out more photo highlights from the first week of High Tide 2020!

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Tournament Hat Tournament

 High Tide 2020 Week 1 Hat Tournament

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Tournament Hat Tournament

High Tide 2020 Week 1 Hat Tournament

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Ed Pulkinen Todd Curran Savage XII Brands CEO

Savage Founder and CEO Todd Curran with High Tide Founder and Tournament Director Ed Pulkinen

High Tide 2020 Savage Team Spikeball Roundnet

 Savage and High Tide Staffers play some Spikeball by the tent

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Tournament University of Mary Washington VA

 Former Mary Washington Ultimate Coach and current Savage Sales Coordinator, Keys, played some points with the Mary Wash crew who— despite not wearing their Savage gear — were still some of the best-dressed on the field this week

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Tournament Rain Game

 Savage Events & Web Store Manager, Austyn, bringing the heat despite the freezing rain

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Tournament Rain Game

 The rainy Savage/High Tide/Cedarville vs. Valparaiso game on Wednesday 

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Tournament Todd Curran Savage

Don't let the jeans fool you. Savage CEO Todd showed he's still got it when he played a few points during the rainy staff game on Wednesday.

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Tournament Ed Pulkinen

 High Tide Founder & TD, Ed Pulkinen, took a break from directing and helped lead the rest of the staff/Cedarville team to victory

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Tournament Rain Game

 Playing in the rain on Wednesday

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Tournament Week 1 Finals Championship Game Kenyon Grand Valley Loyola

 We cheered on Grand Valley & Loyola's Flying Pagodas – two Savage teams – during Week 1's championship game. 

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Week 1 Final Game Championship Loyola Flying Pagodas Kenyon Grand Valley

 The very wet and very intense Week 1 Championship game on Thursday

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Week 1 Final Game Champions Winners Kenyon Grand Valley

The High Tide Week 1 Champions! Grand Valley & Kenyon

All photos by Lauren DeLuca for Savage

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5 Things You Should Know About High Tide 2020

5 Things You Should Know About High Tide 2020

The Savage crew has taken up its annual residence in North Myrtle Beach for the High Tide Ultimate Tournament 2020, and as usual we’re pinching ourselves for being lucky enough to partner with such an incredible event. This hugely popular Spring Break tournament, now in its 24th year, brings together college teams from all over the country, and Savage is proud to be the event’s official apparel partner. We love seeing all of your smiling faces, sharing our gear, and enjoying time in the sun and sand at the end of every day. 

So what’s new for High Tide in 2020? Here are five things we’re excited about:

  1. The High Tide 2020 “Poolside” Theme — The Savage design team put in some long hours creating a brand-new High Tide collection, and we have to say it’s one of our favorites yet. The theme is “Poolside,” and you’ll find everything from Miami Vice-style pastel full-subs to Hamptons/Gatsby-inspired shorts. Really, there’s something for everyone. Keep an eye on the Savage social media accounts for details about when High Tide gear will be available in our online store.

  2. Spreading the GreenLine Gospel — This is a great opportunity for everyone to get up close and personal to our GreenLine, which, if you haven’t heard, is our new fabric made from 100% recycled bottles. All of the fully sublimated merch in our High Tide shop is made from the GreenLine fabric, so check it out and be prepared to be converted. We hope you love it as much as we do, and that you’ll consider going Green for your next team order.

  3. Bringing ARIA into the Fold — We’re working with ARIA Discs to create the official High Tide discs for the first time ever. This is huge not only because ARIA discs were specially formulated for Ultimate players — and we want everyone to give them a try — but also because ARIA is now Savage’s official partner as part of XII Brands. XII Brands is the new parent company of Savage, ARIA, and Five Ultimate. You’ll be seeing a lot more collaboration between these brands in the future as we work together to strengthen the Ultimate community and beyond. Keep an eye out for ARIA and Five Ultimate reps in the Savage tent throughout High Tide. We’ll also have some special promotions and giveaways going with ARIA, so be sure to follow them on social media for updates. 

  4. VIIP Pizza Party — We always love seeing Savage teams sporting their gear IRL, and once again this year we’re inviting all Savage teams to a special VIIP Party in a tent beside the High Tide shop on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. We’ll have pizza and drinks for our Savage teams, and we hope you’ll take a moment to chat with Todd and the Savage crew about your experience working with us and how we can partner in the future. Not a Savage team? We’ll be ready to sign new teams with some special High Tide team deals, and you’ll get some free pizza in the bargain. Win, win.

  5. More High Tide Shenanigans to Come — We’ve got plans for lots of fun promotions over the next few weeks, including a golden egg hunt, disc-throwing competitions, swag bags, and a pretty major raffle that involves a free set of team fully sublimated jerseys. Follow Savage’s Instagram account for all the latest updates on High Tide-related promos.
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4 Reasons Why 2020 is Going to be the Best AUDL Season Yet

4 Reasons Why 2020 is Going to be the Best AUDL Season Yet

The first pull of the 2020 American Ultimate Disc League season is fast approaching, and we honestly can’t wait for April 4 to get here. Some major developments took place during the off-season, so we put together a quick breakdown of all the important news you might have missed out on while hibernating and/or frolicking in the snow. Be sure to check out our AUDL Partner Store, and keep reading to find out what’s new, what’s changed, and why 2020 is gearing up to be the best year ever for the AUDL. 

Savage Ultimate AUDL GreenLine Jerseys Official Apparel Store

The AUDL is Getting New Uniforms and Going Green With Savage

In a groundbreaking partnership, Savage signed a three-year deal to become the official on-field apparel company of the AUDL, as well as the official apparel merchandise partner for the 2020-2022 seasons. 

What’s so great about that? For the first time in history, every team and every player in the AUDL will step onto the field wearing eco-friendly uniforms made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. Using Savage’s proprietary GreenLine fabric is just another big step in the AUDL’s commitment to being eco-conscious and reducing their carbon footprint. Other recent environmental efforts include the 50K Tree Planting Challenge, where the AUDL partnered with ForestPlanet to plant 20 trees for every fan through the gate during Championship Weekend, totaling 50,000 new trees planted. 

We’re thrilled to be working together toward reducing the environmental impact of Ultimate and bringing our new GreenLine fabric to the players and fans. The fabric is lightweight, sweat-wicking, antimicrobial, comfortable, and sublimation-friendly — plus it’s rated UPF 50+, the highest level of UV protection you can get from clothing. 

Switching over to GreenLine fabric is just part of why we’re so hyped about the uniforms this season. A whopping 14 teams will be debuting new and updated jersey designs this April. Montreal Royal, Austin Sol, NY Empire, Philadelphia Phoenix, Pittsburgh Thunderbirds, DC Breeze, San Jose Spiders, Atlanta Hustle, Minnesota Windchill, Dallas Roughnecks, Tampa Bay Cannons, San Diego Growlers, Indianapolis AlleyCats, and Boston Glory will all be taking the field in brand-new jerseys, with the rest of the teams following suit in the 2021 and 2022 seasons. 

Savage’s design staff spent a great many hours working with these teams on the designs for their new kits, and we can’t wait to see them in action. Fans can purchase authentic replica team jerseys now on sale in our brand-new Savage AUDL Partner Store. Order by March 12 to have your gear on game day.

Be sure to follow Savage on Facebook and Instagram, because we’ll have even more AUDL products rolling out throughout the season in the Savage AUDL Partner Store.

AUDL Boston Glory Official GreenLine Team Jersey On Sale Powered By Savage

 

Boston Glory Joins the AUDL

This year marks the first major expansion of the league since 2016, with the recent addition of Boston Glory, who will be joining the newly reconfigured East Division alongside the Montreal Royal, New York Empire, Ottawa Outlaws, and Toronto Rush. Boston is a city known for its passionate fans, top-tier athletes, and heated rivalries with NY teams, and we’re certain Glory will be no exception. 

The city has long been home to one of the best Ultimate communities in the world, and the Glory roster certainly includes some of Boston’s best, with plenty of handpicked locals who earned their spots through rigorous tryouts in the middle of a blizzard. Glory also scooped up some talented out-of-town players with early announcements last month that they had secured commitments from Tannor Johnson, Tyler Chan, and Henry Babcock.

While the bulk of the team is comprised of players making their first appearance in pro Ultimate, the Glory roster also includes four seasoned AUDL players: Maxwell Rick, Rusty Ingold-Smith, Davis Whitehead, and Brendan McCann, who played an incredibly impressive 2019 season with Minnesota Wind Chill, scoring the second-most points per game and showing off his effective D-line handling.

It’ll be interesting to see how all this amazing talent comes together and how the team matches up with the rest of the division, especially NY Empire. Boston-New York rivalries have long been notorious in the sports world, so we’re sure to see some major heat, intense gameplay, and certainly some smacktalk go down this season. On May 2, Empire and Glory will face off for the first time in history and we’ve already got our popcorn ready. Keep an eye on the Savage Blog for more on Boston Glory and why we’re so stoked to watch them play their first season.

AUDL 2020 Division Realignment: East West Midwest and New Atlantic Division

 

We’ll See A New Division Structure and Welcome the New Atlantic Division

Not only are we welcoming a new team this season, but we’re also welcoming the new Atlantic Division. With Boston joining the league, there’s been some major reshuffling of division alignment and an entire new Atlantic Division has been formed. The South has been dissolved and Austin and Dallas have been shipped out West. The Dallas Roughnecks have made it to Championship Weekend every season since the team first joined the league in 2016, so they’re definitely a force to be reckoned with, and we’re curious to see if they can continue this streak and claim their spot as the best of the West. 

Raleigh, Atlanta, and Tampa have moved over to the new Atlantic, where they will be joined by Pittsburgh from the Midwest, DC and Philadelphia from the East, and Tampa from the South. These new divisions should make for some memorable games this season.

AUDL Ultimate Frisbee Game of the Week Broadcast AUDL.tv Fox Sports 2 FS2 Roku

 

AUDL Signs Fox Sports 2 Deal

The AUDL recently announced that they’ve partnered up with Fox Sports 2 (FS2) for the next two years. This means that Fox will broadcast every AUDL Game of the Week throughout the 2020 and 2021 seasons — and that more people will be able to watch AUDL games than ever before. 

In 2018 and 2019, the AUDL’s Game of the Week partner was Stadium, and this new deal certainly is a major step up. FS2 reaches around 57 million homes each month compared to Stadium reaching around 25 million homes. Teaming up with a major sports network with a massive online following is a huge win, and hopefully, this expanded exposure will lead to an increase in people getting excited about and involved with this sport that we love so much. 

The AUDL Game of the Week program will air on Wednesday nights on FS2 throughout the 2020 season. The Game of the Week will also be streamed live on audl.tv and on the brand new AUDL Roku app that’s also slated to launch before the season starts. 

A new team, a new division, a new major broadcasting deal, and new eco-friendly uniforms featuring our exclusive eco-friendly GreenLine fabric are all huge changes for the 2020 AUDL season, and we couldn’t be more stoked for April 4. Stay tuned to the Savage Blog throughout the season for more AUDL coverage including interviews with Beau Kittredge, Khalif El-Salaam, Goose Helton, and more. 

Visit the AUDL Partner Store and get those orders in by March 12 to have your gear in time for game day!




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Ultimate all-star Jenny Fey wants more inclusivity in the sport

Ultimate all-star Jenny Fey wants more inclusivity in the sport
In honor of National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Feb. 5, Savage is highlighting some of our favorite female athletes in some of our favorite sports throughout the week. First up: Jenny Fey, a top-tier ultimate player who's been playing for nearly 20 years. 

There's a good reason everyone in Ultimate knows Jenny Fey's name. She's made Club Nationals 13 times and won once with Scandal. She represented the U.S. on the U20 Girls Team in 2004 (silver in Finland), the US Mixed Beach Team in 2015 (bronze in Dubai), and the US Women's Team in 2016 (gold in London). She's played for seven club teams, mostly in the DC area, including DC Scandal (2009-2013 and 2015-2017) and DC Space Heater. Here at Savage, we've been lucky to know her since her college days at the University of Mary Washington. When she's not on the field, Jenny teaches high school literature, linguistics, and psychology in Arlington, where she lives with her partner and toddler. Take it away, Jenny.

Savage: How did you get into playing ultimate? What drew you to the sport? 
Jenny Fey: I was first exposed to a chaotic but epic version of ultimate at sleep away camp in middle school, but my structured ultimate experience really started in 10th grade. A group of students from a couple of Arlington high schools had been playing pick-up together for a few years, but had just recently started playing formal games as part of the local league (WAFC), where a certain gender ratio was required. This one mixed gender team planted the seeds for what is now a huge and highly successful Arlington youth program that spans many schools (YULA). Anyway, a few of my friends had already started playing and they recruited me as a sub one weekend; I had an incredible time and never looked back.

The sport is really ideal for me as an athlete... I always loved sprinting but was never a fan of long distance. I had a natural throwing ability and good hand-eye coordination, but was not so good with my feet, so I didn't excel at soccer. Everyone loves a disc in flight, but I was also really attracted to the cooperation elements of ultimate, the playing to a score component which demands strong play throughout a match, and the sense of community and camaraderie I felt with the folks I was playing with and against. I have loved giving back as a coach over the years as a chance to share my appreciation of the game with others.

Savage: Is there anything unique about being a woman in the world of ultimate? How do you think being female in this sport compares to other sports?
JF: Being a woman in sports offers definitive challenges and ultimate is not exempt from those. There hasn't been a ton of financial or conceptual investment in women's sports historically. Title IX is not even 50 years old yet. Any criticisms of women's sports are meaningless to me until we've committed heaps of time and money into telling women and non-binary folks that they are athletes.

On the other hand, a lot of people in ultimate have spent time thinking and talking about gender in recent years and I think we are on a relatively good trajectory there. It's an important issue and one that we need to keep talking loudly about, but currently my thoughts have been with race and class in ultimate, with widening the sense of inclusivity in the sport, and helping more and different people see themselves as potential players of the game.

The barriers for entry to playing ultimate are fairly low, but the barriers to playing ultimate in a high-level way are pretty high in that most forms of elite play require lots of travel and personal financial investment — something I hope can change going forward.

Savage: Thoughts on bringing more women into ultimate? What are your hopes for the future of the sport? 
JF: I absolutely want more women playing the sport, and I think ultimate communities demonstrating a commitment to equity is key there, but I think the most important investment all adult players can be making is in the youth scenes around them. I want to see more kids picking up the sport at younger ages, especially girls and players of color, and sticking with it. That's the growth I care about most.

I think it'll take a lot of individuals making their way into schools, camps, and after school programs, sharing their love of the game, offering sustained coaching support, and helping to promote the sport with institutions who may not think much of it or have any sense of it at all.

Eyes on the game are awesome, but I am more psyched about future eyes on the next generation of players. If tons of kids fall in love with the sport, it's hard to imagine not finding a way to get it showcased on bigger and bigger stages. 

Jenny Fey via Ultiphotos
Photos provided by Jenny Fey via Ultiphotos
Savage: Who are some of your favorite female players in ultimate?
JF: My heroes in women's ultimate transcend the on-field game, though the GOAT is my estimation is Miranda Roth who beyond inspired me when I was a younger player with her athleticism and head for the game.

I have massive respect for a ton of women working in the sport, on and off the field, and in many cases doing both, and I won't be able to name them all, but some that come to mind include Dom Fontenette, Tiina Booth, Michelle Ng, the folks at the PUL including Maddy Frey and Angela Lin, Leila Tunnell, Ren Caldwell, and Erica Baken. My favorite all-around current players to watch right now are probably Lien Hoffman, Elizabeth Mosquera, and Carolyn Finney.

Psst: Shop the Savage Women's Mystery Sale featuring discounted jerseys, shorts, and discs this week only. 
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Ultimate Ink explores the stories behind players' tattoos

Ultimate Ink explores the stories behind players' tattoos

If you play Ultimate, you've probably noticed a tattoo or two that has made you look twice. You suspect there's a story behind the ink, one that may inspirational, tragic, or downright hilarious — like the infamous player who had a rat in a chicken costume tattooed on his butt after losing 1 in 10 odds. Liz Clark, an Ultimate player and biologist based in Connecticut, felt compelled to search out and share these stories, and that's how Ultimate Ink was born. Check out Ultimate Ink on Instagram  and consider supporting the Ultimate Ink project with a donation through Greenbackr.

Savage: Tell us about yourself.

Liz Clark: I started playing ultimate in high school in Pittsburgh and was on USA U-19 in 2008. I played in college in North Carolina and now I live in Connecticut. I’ve been on a number of mixed and womxns club teams over the years, and I currently play for Metro North. I’m also a biologist! I build 3D digital models to figure out how different structures in animals and plants function. My specialty is on illuminating the biomechanics of unusual strategies for movement and locomotion found in nature. I work with engineers in Japan to design robots resilient to damage based on the animals I study.

Savage: Where did the initial idea for Ultimate Ink come from? 

LC: We all love ultimate because of the community, but having to secure a place in a social network based on our athletic ability can be a recipe for isolation and insecurity. I think we can do better to support our friends who are experiencing some kind of upheaval with ultimate, like getting injured, getting cut from a team, moving, taking a break or deciding to retire. I think it’s also important to consider how the things going on in our lives outside ultimate impact who we are on the field. I also wanted to hear more about the experiences of members of typically underrepresented groups in our sport as well.

I started Ultimate Ink to celebrate the connections we share with this sport, and to build a space where we can better support each other in what we’re going through by sharing our personal experiences with one another. Tattoos are incredibly intimate, and they provide a gateway for people to open up about their feelings, their histories and what they’ve experienced with an appealing visual draw.

Savage: Tell us about some of the stories you've heard so far in this project.

LC: One of the first stories we got was from Toby Sznaj who described how her journey with ultimate intersected with her experiences with bipolar disorder. I thought that story was incredibly inspiring, and I think it set a powerful tone for the project. I think the most touching story so far has been from Sean Stasiak, who got a matching tattoo with his best friend and teammate Topher Kazanski who tragically passed away. Alix Robbins’ story is super badass — she describes getting her college program to nationals and making it to the pros while raising a child.

Savage: What about your own tattoos? What are your favorites and what are the stories behind them? 

LC: I have two. I have a sun on my back that was inspired by the design of one of the first discs I ever threw. I remember seeing it at one of my first practices and thinking that I would get it as a tattoo if ultimate ever became important to me. Five years later, when ultimate had become firmly woven into the fabric of my life, I pulled the trigger. I was really competitive at the time, and it served as a reminder to work hard to be my best for a sport that I truly loved. I stopped playing ultimate for about six years, and I got my second tattoo, a tree on my wrist, for the first team I was on when I came back. It serves as a symbol for my next stage with ultimate, where my focus is on contributing to the community by being mindful of the person I want to be on and off the field, while also working hard to achieve my goals as a player. 

Savage: Do you think a lot about the kinds of tattoos you're going to get or are you more spontaneous? 

LC: I always encourage people not to rush the decision to get inked since it will be on your body for the rest of your life! But I have to say I do love finding people who have gotten tattoos from losing odds — they’re hilariously common in the ultimate community, and usually pretty awful. We featured someone who has a rat in a chicken costume on his butt from losing 1 in 10 odds. The guys on Sin the Fields loved it so much that they talked about it on their podcast and even sent him a free T-shirt!

Savage: Why do you think tattoos are a special part of the ultimate community? 

LC: I’ve been really surprised at how many ultimate-inspired tattoos are out there — for every team I talk to there’s usually at least one person that has one. I think tattoos are a creative way to commemorate powerful experiences or relationships, as well as remembering something, or someone, that’s important to us. I’ve found that it can be really difficult to explain the meaning behind my tattoos to people who ask, especially to those outside the ultimate community. Now, I can just direct them to Ultimate Ink!

Savage: What do you plan to do with the money you raise through Greenbackr

LC: The best way to find new Ultimate Inkers is to do it in person. Over the past year, I’ve been traveling to tournaments to chat with people about the project and encourage them to share their tattoos and stories with us. I’m planning on using the money to cover the costs from the project so far and expand the scope to reach a diverse range of storytellers in the future.

Savage: What are your future plans for the project?

LC: We have a lot of great stories lined up that we’ll be sharing over the next few months. I’d also like to start doing more targeted calls for stories around certain subject matter, or long-form interviews with people in our community with unique perspectives. I’d also like to keep encouraging people to write and submit their own stories to us regardless of whether or not they have ultimate tattoos — the tattoos are awesome, but the project is really about sharing our experiences and love for the sport with each other.

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Ultimate talk with Vault's Neeley Brothers

Ultimate talk with Vault's Neeley Brothers
Photo by Steve Helvin

 

When it comes to ultimate-playing siblings, the Neeley Brothers are some of the best-known names in the game. Matthew and Jonathan helped start and now play for Vault (whose Team Marketplace just wrapped up), and they previously played on the DC Breeze. Jonathan also helped start Virginia Squires back in the day and has played with Truck Stop for years. You've probably also read his words in Skyd Magazine and Ultiworld. Savage Sales Jedi Austin Bartenstein asked the brothers a few more than seven questions. Here's what they had to say.

 

Savage: What are your favorite ultimate snacks?

MN: I love cured meats. If I have any say in the team snack cooler, there will always be some prosciutto or salami in there.

JM: I’m not a huge snacker. Give me a full meal. To that end, I like getting a can lentil soup and an avocado. Easy way to stay full on the cheap. Frozen fruit is also fantastic when it’s hot.

Savage: What skill have you practiced most in frisbee?

MN: This may be silly, but probably just talking. On the field communication, sideline help, chair heckling. I've been told I can be loud effectively, and I don't shy away from projecting my voice.

JN: Probably throwing.

Savage: Can you tell us about the most meaningful moment in your respective ultimate careers?

MN: I'm not sure if anything tops winning a YCC tournament back in 2009 with Seattle. Taking a gold medal (or crappy piece of plastic) home, and having your name in the UPA Archives is pretty sweet. I've also won the Moscow Indoor Tournament twice in my career, which not a ton of people can say that they have done.

JN: That’s a really hard one—the game has been so good to me! There were a few years where I helped run clinics in Panama for a 2-week stretch in January, and the time when we were starting up, a woman came up to me beaming, talking about how what she had learned the previous year had been paying off ever since and how it had made playing so much more fun for her. Seeing her gain that confidence meant a whole lot. On the field, making Nationals my last year at Virginia and semis my last year on Truck are two big ones.

Savage: Ultimate seems to be at an important crossroads right now. What direction do you expect it to go, and what would you hope for ultimate's future?

JN: I used to think the ultimate world was this thing I could fully grasp—like as long as I kept an eye on things and talked to lots of people, I could understand all of its angles. These days, it’s clear to me how ridiculous that thought has always been. I think frisbee will keep going in all kinds of ways for all kinds of people, and there’s only a big narrative to the extent that people imagine one. I recently played in a local beach league where $5 got you two games and lunch afterward. And the ocean was the sideline.  

I guess what I’m saying is that one place my mind goes here is what might essentially be described as ultimate "going corporate," and how at first pass I don’t love that notion. But that isn't a new phenomenon—Jose Cuervo was sponsoring tournaments in the '90s. And on the personal level, my entire career has happened in the context of people wanting to take ultimate beyond just being a game and being this thing to consume. I was into 5 Ultimate stretchy shorts in college, and pro ultimate gave me some of my fondest memories. And yet I still think of the frisbee world as pretty welcoming and quirky and all that. 

I guess I just hope ultimate continues to be fun, becomes more welcoming for more people, and does for more people what it has done for me, which is serve as a forum for stopping to think about how sports and community and personal stake and responsibility all overlap.

MN: I don't know if I'm the one to call all the shots here, but there was a club player coalition meeting in DC where we discussed the ultimate community and making things more accessible and accepting for everyone. Things like that certainly need to keep happening, and I believe we as players are going in the right direction.

I guess what I'll say is that in 2011 we went to college sectionals for a bid fee of $150 and it was hosted by a dude that was quite involved in the ultimate community. The fields were good, the weather was fantastic, there was a keg on site and a party in Missoula that night with food and beer provided. This coming season, our club sectionals bid fee is $600 and it's being ran by a for-profit company. I would appreciate an explanation for this, cuz it just ain't right.

Savage: You both have ties to Seattle and Virginia/DC ultimate. Do you have any observations about how those ultimate communities compare?

MN: I'll start by saying that both communities are really awesome, and there are a lot of very cool people involved in both cities. One thing I've noticed is that in Seattle, there seem to be more folks that are ALL IN on frisbee. Like, at every skill level, there are people that go to every dang tournament they can. Like 35 tournaments a year. I don't know if I just don't see as much of that in DC, so that could just be a perception. People in Seattle also play a ton of goaltimate. I miss goaltimate. 

I think the DC community is more team-oriented. There are a number of teams that do a lot within their own team structure. Maybe that's just me getting older and less social though, because I know things are going on, but half the time I would prefer sitting at home with the pup!

JN: I agree with Matthew: they’re both great places to play ultimate. I think he’s onto something about Seattle having more people who are straight-up ultimate-obsessed, which I think comes from the overall culture just being different. Here in DC, there’s just a stronger magnet that pulls people into the mainstream, whereas in the Northwest, I think it’s just more common to have people who really march to the beat of their own drum, and so you naturally have ultimate players who take more unique paths. And I think all of that has led to Seattle being an innovator with ultimate, from on-field stuff to using the sport to make cultural gains. There’s just a little more “what angle can I come at this sport from?” and more willingness to go all-in on that angle. That’s what I see, anyway.

Savage: Both of you guys have been playing for a long time. Any words of wisdom for other ultimate siblings out there?

MN: I feel like we have a rather unique situation, since we have lived on opposite sides of the country for the majority of our ultimate careers. I would say to take every chance you have to play with each other. If you aren't on the same team, or in the same city, get workouts in during holidays and go to pickup games together. Talk to each other about ultimate and life. It's the 21st century, so we're both blessed and cursed with the gift of communication!

JN: Yep to all of that. Even with the teammates you’re closest with, it’s rare that any of them don’t know you primarily as an ultimate player. That’s not the case with a sibling, which is something to relish. 

Savage: Any ultimate heroes or heroines?

MN: Hero: I find it hard to put ultimate players on a pedestal for idolization, but I definitely used to get pretty hyped about some of those mid-2000 Sockeye teams. Ryan Winkelmann comes to mind as a dude that worked hard, and was just really cool on and off the field. Jonathan and I got the chance to work with him at the camps out in Seattle, and he's a hilarious dude that is down to teach you a thing or two if you ask.

JN: Coming up in the game, I idolized Ben Wiggins pretty hard. I liked how good he was at throwing and how he talked about the game in a way that always seemed to say "I know the conventional wisdom says to do that, but have you thought about it like this?" I really like the way he thinks, at least publicly. 

Savage: What's the most memorable game you've witnessed or been a part of? Set the scene for us. 

MN: College Regionals 2013. We were playing UW (gross) in the last game of pool play. We had gone down 2-6 or something like that and I sort of just turned it on. Ended up getting involved in every point and playing one of the best games of my college career. Brought the score to 11-11 with us receiving, when one of my friends, Jeff Landrie, promptly turfed the centering pass off the pull. Naturally, UW punched it in for the break and promptly broke us again to win 13-11, but that game was darn fun. We then went on to lose to Oregon B in my last college game ever. Good times. 

JN: Easy. The 2009 Open final at Club Nationals, Chain vs. Revolver. This was my first Club Nationals, and seeing a team as dialed in as Chain was… I had just never seen that before. This was before Nationals happened in a stadium, so I was sitting on one of the front endzone line cones with some good friends who I had graduated from college with a few months prior, just talking frisbee and taking it all in. Our captain, Robert Runner, was playing big minutes for Chain, and seeing him dominate these top players with the exact same throws and moves and attitude that he had spent the last four years dominating us with at practice… that added this element of pride to it. The whole thing felt like this welcome to a new level of ultimate for me. I don’t think I’m painting a great picture here, but it all still glows in my head.

Savage: Favorite Neeley family memory?

JN: So tough! The time my dad saw us pretending to smoke cigars and then went to the store and came back with a pack of cigarettes and told us we had to smoke them because if you kids want to do that crap, why don’t you really do it… and then both of us crying and apologizing and seeing how unvirtuous we had been… that was pretty good.

Savage: Between the two of you, what's the tie-dye shirt count? Any favorites and the story behind them?

MN: I think I have 5 sitting in my drawers, with the best one being the Lithuanian Grateful Dead basketball shirt. That one is top-notch and gets a lot of shout outs. Just this past AUDL season the guy making my sandwich at Wawa geeked out over it, and we had a nice conversation about the Dead. Always cool when strangers connect over things like that.

JN: Off the top of my head, I’m counting 6, so 11 between us. Woulda expected a little higher. No great stories with mine, but I did only pay $.05 for my favorite one. Bought it right before spring break my junior year. It’s served me well ever since.

Savage: Who is more likely to start a jam band when he hits 40? What's the band name?

MN: I have to imagine that's Jonathan. He's been actively learning to play guitar. I'll definitely be ready to sell grilled cheeses and cooler beers in the lot when tour kicks up though!

JN: That’s nice of you to say, but that project has been on hold for a while. But Vault is pretty much a jam band if you're willing to look at it that way. We helped start that last December. 

Savage: Who are your favorite writers and why?

MN: Jeff Sullivan from fangraphs is one of my favorite internet writers. As a big baseball fan, and Mariners fan, he helped my friends and I cope with what was, and still is Mariners baseball. He's pretty witty, and did a good job of keeping things in perspective when dealing with a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2001. He's moved onto better things, like writing about interesting teams and players, but he still has our hearts.

JN: There's a thinker named Eckhart Tolle blew my worldview open two summers ago, and I revisit hist stuff pretty frequently, especially a book called The Power of Now. Along those lines, I also like Thich Nhat Hanh and Alan Watts a whole lot. I just got introduced to Neil Gaiman and have had a hard time putting his books down. I like a lot of New Yorker writers — Malcom Gladwell, Jia Tolentino, and Rachel Aviv all come to mind. My favorites tend to evolve, and I'm sort of a slow book reader so I don't always feel like I have time to get into a critical mass of a single person's work. But the Gaiman thing is showing me a little about how cool that can be.

Savage: This one's for Jonathan. What's the best biking city you've been to? What can you tell us about bike lanes? Are bike lanes even important?

JN: DC is pretty great, and people here should remember that. Nationally, we’re right behind Portland in terms of number of people riding, and we’re up there on miles of bike lanes, both of which make riding safer and more fun. Of other places I’ve been and have tried to bike, I had a lot of fun in New Orleans, and they’re building a ton of new lanes there. And Seattle is really great too—our dad still lives there and I work for a company that has an office there, so I go out once or twice a year, and I’ve done some bike commuting while there. What’s crazy is that in all of those places, riding your bike can still be pretty unsafe on the whole. And even in the places where a certain bike lane or street feels super safe, that’s just a function of where in town you are. If it’s a white area near the city center, you can probably ride pretty safely and comfortably. If you’re in a community of color that was probably redlined and still being starved for resources, the roads tend to be super dangerous for everyone. Luckily there are some smart people in all sectors who are talking about this problem more.

To sum all this up, though, what I really know is this: parking is going to kill us all. We’ve got to walk back this whole “storing my 2-ton hunk of personal property in the street is my God-given right” thing. Quit it with the parking, everyone. And build the freaking bike lanes.

 

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