I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to cohost Philly Fusion with Showdown and Michelle Ng. After attending several of Michelle's tournaments in college, I was excited to be involved from the organizational side. Not only was the tournament well organized and efficient, but the weekend was groundbreaking and exciting in the development and growth of the Women's division of Ultimate, at the college and club levels. The addition of the trade show and clinics was ingenious. The trade show was packed with college players taking the opportunity to learn more about club Ultimate — and of course win prizes by proving their Oreo challenge skills. Everyone seemed excited to make the most of the clinics portion of the night. In both sessions I helped run (pulling clinic) we had a range of skills and experience and it was great to see, in just the course of twenty minutes, improvement by all participants. The highlight of the weekend for me was receiving an e-mail after the tournament from a girl who attended our clinic, noting how improved her pulls were on day two.
There are many benefits to having club and college women together in the same tournament. Many of the college players at the tournament remarked how they had never seen high-level club before — never mind get feedback and coaching from such players. It's an opportunity for exposure and growth. Even after the college division had ended, I saw many teams hanging around watching the elite division finals and placement games. On the club side, we can always benefit from giving back more to Women's Ultimate — it's a two-way street. If we could develop several tournaments like this around the country, I believe the level of play would rise dramatically — as would the number of women playing at the club level.
Amber Sinicrope plays for Brute Squad and Smith College, and was also a former University of Wisconsin player, Team USA Juniors Team player, and Amherst High School player.