Last weekend the St. Olaf Vortex won the D3 Collegiate National Ultimate Championships in Rockford, Illinois, in an inspiring display of teamwork and grit. I was lucky enough to be one of the spectators and I can tell you that it was one of the most exciting weekend of sports I’ve ever seen.
Also, apparently Vortex loves the grind.
Coming into the tournament as the 7 seed, Vortex arrived in Illinois and got to work. You can read more about it here, but from a spectator’s perspective, it was a beautiful thing to watch these athletes work.
My daughter started playing ultimate in 10th grade, after playing soccer and softball in her formative years, and for a mom who had no idea what the sport even was back in the day, I’ve just been blessed to be a witness to it.
After grinding their way all the way to the championship game, my daughter caught the winning goal, receiving the throw from her roommate, team captain and friend, Tulsa Douglas.
What a way to end your collegiate career. Seriously. These women have become dear friends of Aidan’s. This is a memory I cannot even place a value on. For her, or for me.
Watching them in line before the medal ceremony was a joy.
These seniors—Swannie, Lise, Tulsa, Sami, Anna, Aidan and Marit—and the entire team, are remarkable women. Athletes, students, activists for gender equity in this sport… this is the future, friends, and the future is now.
That just makes me feel a whole lot better about everything.
Thanks, Vortex, for a thrilling weekend.
(And thanks for letting me stand on the sidelines and take pictures.)
p.s. want to see more photos? Check out the album here.
Want to see the championship game? It starts a few points in, and there are a few technical difficulties, but oh, was this fun to re-watch!