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CUSB Ultimate Sponsorship: Collaboration with E.R.I.C.

Hello, friends of Balsamiq! As promised last February, here's an update from the Ultimate Frisbee team we sponsor. As a player, a CUSB volunteer and a Balsamiq employee, Ultimate Frisbee means a lot to me. It is not only a fair, self-refereed and challenging sport. Ultimate Frisbee is a community. From the players to the fans, we all share the same values of mutual respect and a strong belief in honesty and positive competition.

Being part of this community, I grew up so much as an individual, on and off the field. And I grew up as a professional, working for two years on Ultimate Frisbee development for the University Sports Center of Bologna. During this period, I was in charge of managing the relationship with Peldi and the Balsamiq crew.

The best part of the job was to think about which kind of projects would sustain the team activities and fulfill the Balsamiq values at the same time. Now that I joined the Balsamiq team, I have the chance to write this update!

Summer 2018 update: Early Recognition is Critical!

In 2018, after one year of partnership, I thought that we were ready for a bigger project, to give back even more to the Ultimate and Balsamiq community. I kept thinking that we could have impacted more, used all that time together with the students at its best. So, I proposed to Peldi to add another piece to the puzzle.

We decided to invite E.R.I.C. (Early Recognition is Critical) to collaborate with us. E.R.I.C. is a non-profit organization which employs Ultimate Frisbee Clinics and Spirit of the Game to teach youth about cancer symptoms, the importance of an active lifestyle and to speak up when something is wrong.

The Spirit of the Game is the mindful behavior practiced by players. It encompasses attitudes and skills such as good knowledge and application of the rules, fair-mindedness, safe play, clear and calm communication, and respectful attitude towards teammates, fans, and opponents, in a mutual effort to protect the underlying joy of the game. It is the soul of the sport, what makes Ultimate Frisbee so special.

We designed and organized a 5-month project: teaching Spirit of the Game AND cancer recognition symptoms during the middle school Ultimate Frisbee afternoon courses. As E.R.I.C. is based in the US, we went through a long planning period, to be sure to find the perfect formula for the clinics, combining the CUSB coaches experience with E.R.I.C. expertise in Spirit of the Game and cancer recognition teaching.

Between February and May, the project took shape. The kids loved the Spirit of the Game lessons. The best part of this experience, according to the coaches' narratives, was to realize that the Spirit of the Game values is so natural and spontaneous for them. To learn the rules is fun, and the referee is honestly useless. Competitiveness, fun, and friendship can truly co-exist.

During the final tournament, we split the kids into small groups and the more experienced coaches (with a degree in Medicine or Sports Science), together with the teachers, gave a lesson about common cancer symptoms and the importance to speak up if they notice something wrong. This is what also the sport is about, to be aware of our body and to feel free to express our own feelings.

The numbers of the project

  • 7 lessons:
    • What is E.R.I.C.
    • The 5 fundamentals of Spirit of the Game:
      • Know the rules
      • Avoid body contact
      • Enjoy playing
      • Be fair-minded
      • Communicate respectfully
    • Common cancer symptoms (together with the teachers)
  • More than 200 middle school players
  • 19 coaches involved
  • 300 SPIRIT stickers for the students and the teachers
  • 250 "What is Spirit" Handouts for the students
  • 100 Speak Up discs for the lessons.

Here is a video about this adventure:

We'll share more news about the élite teams at the end of the club season, in autumn. Both the women and the men team will be playing the World Club Championship in Cincinnati, in July! Stay tuned!

Laura for the Balsamiq Team

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