This past weekend, my college-bound son, Cole, competed at his final Youth Club Championships at the National Sports Center up in Blaine, Minnesota. It was a bittersweet weekend, full of the most exciting ultimate you can imagine, and Cole’s team, Minnesota Superior, made a serious bid for the finals, but lost in semis after mounting an amazing comeback that wasn’t quite enough.
Ultimate is a beautiful sport. I know they call soccer The Beautiful Game, but I can’t imagine it getting much more beautiful than this one.
Both of my children have played for years, Aidan coming off a national championship last May with her St. Olaf team.
And while Cole is planning to play for St. Olaf in the fall, and Aidan may try to play with the University of Minnesota team in the fall if her law school schedule permits, this chapter of youth ultimate has come to a close.
Yes, there may be club ultimate in both of their futures, but the youth games are now over. I have loved every minute of watching them play. In the heat, the rain, the snow… being an ultimate mom has been a true gift.
Last weekend during the US Open (which was happening at the same time as the Youth Club Championships), USA Ultimate released this new promotional video (featuring another recent national champion and now, US Open Champion with her Brute Squad women’s team, Aidan’s former room and teammate, Tulsa Douglas, #14):
This sport really is nothing if not about grit and grace. (Pictured below is Leo Sovell-Fernandez, Cole’s former high school teammate who will be representing the USA later this month in Livermore, Ontario as part of the U20 World Team.)
I was talking to one of my dear friends and a fellow ultimate mom, whose daughter is featured towards the top of this post and is also headed to St. Olaf to bring her remarkable mind to the school (and skill to the ultimate team!), and we both agree we want to somehow get more involved in bringing ultimate to younger players and expanding its reach.
I think we as parents are fully aware of the gift this sport has been to us, as well.
This sport has so much to offer and I have seen how it has changed the lives of my children for the better.
I will miss being on those sidelines with my big-assed rented lens, which is not to say I won’t rent it in a heartbeat for Cole’s coming college tournaments, but this is just one chapter that has closed.
Here are just a few highlights of the Zielske ultimate players in 2018. Thanks, Aidan and Cole, for playing this amazing sport.
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Check out USA Ultimate’s home page for more information on this sport!