A new type of community-focused tour is coming in 2021, featuring and celebrating Black players.
January 6, 2021 by Zoe Collins Rath in News with 0 comments
An all-Black ultimate tour is on the horizon in this new year. Shanye Crawford, Founder and CEO of Disc Diversity, made an announcement the day after Christmas to share that the organization is putting together Con10enT, the first all-Black ultimate tour, which aims to occur in the Fall of 2021.
“Rather than fixing a broken system, in a community that’s already like none other, let’s be radical,” Crawford said in a video on Twitter the day of the announcement.
Ultimate tours have become an increasingly common way to highlight different populations of players involved in the sport and showcase their talent in communities across the country. Following the success of the NexGen Tour as a platform for top men’s college players at the start of last decade, similar tours popped up in the past five years to showcase college women, European women, and women from Asia and Oceania. Con10enT would be the first of its kind exclusively for Black players.
The proposed format would see a core of five Black women’s players and five Black men’s players make three stops around the country, picking up an additional 20 local players — 10 youth and 10 adults — in each host location.
The purpose of the tour is twofold. The first is to afford Black players the same opportunity and support white ultimate players have received through previous tours, such as seeing role models in the sport and being offered financial help to participate. The second is to present a welcoming and supportive environment for Black youth and parents coming into the sport, to offer ultimate as “a refuge in which Black children and Black parents can thrive.”
“Black parents hold their children very close and it can be scary letting them go into a space that is predominantly white [because they may not feel welcome],” Crawford said. “But if we can create a space where parents see Black ultimate players, Black observers, and organizers in one space then we can get more Black youth into the sport because parents will see the support of the community.”
The proposed tour will stop in three cities and each city will have its own community project which will be done before a game on Sunday. Philadelphia is the first stop on the tour and that community project will be tied into criminal justice. The Bay Area will be next with a community project theme of renewable energy. The final stop of the tour will be Seattle and the community project will focus on youth advocacy.
Like similar showcase tours in the past, Con10enT is attempting to crowdfund the resources necessary to make the event possible, setting an initial goal of raising $50,000 from the community.
Crawford has been a long-time leader in the ultimate community, both in Atlanta and nationally; she was a lead organizer of Color of Ultimate Atlanta as a part of ADFC Project Diversity, and briefly served as the Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion National Outreach Director for USA Ultimate. Despite ultimate’s history as a largely white sport, Crawford acknowledges that there has been action taken to make the community more inclusive, and she sees the Con10enT tour being a next step in supporting Black players and potential players. More than anything, Crawford says she wants the tour to be about supporting the community and trying to get more Black players into the sport.
September is the target starting month for the tour, based on a potential World Ultimate & Guts Championship event still being on the calendar in July and hoping to avoid any continued COVID shutdowns.1 Even if it is deemed unsafe to host the showcase games, Crawford says the tour would still attempt to pull together community projects and other aspects to support the tour.
“If we don’t play… all the better… we’ll still go and support the community,” Crawford said.
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