If you had asked me at any point in my life to describe myself in just a few words, chances are the word “athlete” will be among the top three every time. I climb, I run, I swim, and perhaps most importantly, I’ve played ultimate Frisbee on and off for over nine years (that’s about 40% of my life now!). Ultimate Frisbee is a vibrant, spirited culture that I have been proud and happy to be part of through the years. But when it comes to playing in coed pickup or rec league, I’ve always had one big problem that’s never changed—the challenge as a woman to be accepted as athlete by men whenever I play on a new team.
It started out in pickup games at lunch in high school—I was usually the only girl. When I first started playing, the guys frequently never passed to me or bothered to cover me. I had one friend who knew I could play well, and he would throw me long passes while I hung out in the end zone, ignored by everyone else. We’d score like that all day long. It took weeks for everyone to catch onto the strategy.