Tuesday Tips: Listen, Read, Learn, Act

Resources and perspectives that may help in deciding what action is right for you.

Photo: Kevin Leclaire — UltiPhotos.com

Tuesday Tips are presented by Spin Ultimate; all opinions are those of the author. Please support the brands that make Ultiworld possible and shop at Spin Ultimate

It has been an emotional, turbulent week amidst an emotional, turbulent year. The heartbreaking addition of George Floyd to the long list of black Americans killed by police and the subsequent protests that have erupted in cities across the country have all of us questioning what we can do about racism, police brutality, and any number of other injustices roiling in our country. If it hadn’t already, ultimate currently feels pretty far from the top of the priority list.

Right now, perhaps the best thing you can do to improve as an ultimate player is to work on becoming the best version of yourself as a member of the ultimate community.

The Tuesday Tip this week: Listen, read, learn, act. Educate yourself on what is happening in our country, both locally and nationally. Strive to understand and empathize with different perspectives. Take whatever action you think meaningfully represents the way you feel, respects and raises the voices of the people you want to support, and fosters the type of community you wish to build and be a part of. Challenge your personal comfort. Be open to feedback from those who disagree with you — especially those from traditionally marginalized communities or identities — about how your words and actions (or lack thereof) strike them. Then repeat. Listen, read, learn, and act.

This will take different forms for different people. There are many actions you can take, big and small, that can have an impact and show your support for those in the community who are hurting or subject to injustice. There is not a single, definitively “right” way for all people to engage with or act in the current situation,1 nor will there be a unanimous agreement on the value of individual actions. Do as much as you can that feels authentic and urgent.


Below are some resources and perspectives that may help in deciding what action is right for you. It is important to note that I do not pretend this list is comprehensive or ideal. With a near-endless supply of thought-provoking articles and tools, it’s hard to imagine any list that could possibly represent all perspectives or provide a full, agreed-upon set of recommendations. There are many knowledgeable and inspiring voices, both inside and outside our sport, that are speaking out, calling for action, and developing additional resources every day. Seek them out, but be willing to put in the work to educate yourself rather than expecting them to be responsible for educating you.

I believe all of these contain some good ideas that at very least should spur you to think critically about what role you play in your communities and what you can or should do to affect the changes you wish to see.

And, since this is a site dedicated first and foremost to the sport of ultimate, if you wish to focus specifically on how you can make an impact within the ultimate community, here are some resources for further reading:

If you have additional resources that you have found helpful or inspiring this week (or at any other point in your journey in learning about racial justice), please share in the comments. If any of the resources linked make suggestions you believe are unhelpful or counterproductive, please feel free to share your perspective in the comments.

Above all, practice empathy while you listen, read, learn, and act — imagine yourself in someone else’s position, understanding why they might think and act the way they do. Regardless of how much you may agree or disagree, regardless of where someone may be in their own process of learning, aspire to respect each other as people while we all work together to make our community inclusive, safe, and supportive for all of its members.

  1. That said, there are some ways that could potentially be counterproductive depending on your aim, so try to learn about and consider all impacts of the action you choose. 

  1. Steve Sullivan
    Steve Sullivan

    Steve Sullivan is the Executive Editor of Ultiworld. He began playing in 2001 at Boston University, helped found and then played 14 seasons with Slow White, and most recently competed with San Francisco Blackbird. He has volunteered as a college Sectional Coordinator, a club Regional Coordinator, served three terms as a player-elected representative for the Mixed division on USAU's Club Working Group, and is currently an At-Large rep on the USAU Board of Directors. He has previously written for the USAU magazine and The Huddle, and was editor of the book "Ultimate: The First Five Decades, Vol II." You can reach him by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter (@sjsully21).


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