Ultimate Frisbee teaches many life lessons: about honesty, fair-play and that being competitive and ambitious doesn't have to be in contrast with being a good and decent person.
The Ultimate scene in Bologna, Italy (where about half of Balsamiq employees live) is now the biggest and strongest in Italy.
To give back to our local community, we have decided to sponsor the CUSB Bologna Ultimate organization for the next 3 years. We will update this page with their progress with us twice a year.
Ultimate Frisbee is an intense, spectacular and fun team sport. One of its most important rule has to do with the Spirit of The Game, a stronger version of sportsmanship and fair play. Thanks to this, Ultimate is the only team sport we know of that doesn't have referees, even at the highest levels (although things have changed a bit recently).
CUSB is the University of Bologna's sports organization, with a mission to promote sport culture, reach physical and emotional well being, and have fun.
CUSB Ultimate is the biggest Ultimate club in Italy, and works towards the development of the sport, from middle school to masters.
Twenty-five instructors work during the school year in 22 middle schools and 30 high schools of Bologna, reaching almost 6,000 students during their PE lessons. Students can also join after-school classes.
They learn how to play and how to respect the Spirit of the Game: know and respect the rules, play fairly, play safe and communicate respectfully.
The Ultimate season 2018 is over, and we are really proud of the results of the CUSB teams.
For the first time ever, an Italian team wins the European Ultimate Championship Finals (a.k.a. Champions League), which was held in Wroclaw (Poland) on October 5th/7th. The women squad of CUSB made history with a 15-13 win in the final against Iceni from London. I've been playing in the team for the last 10 years, and I have never seen my teammates exploding in such a wild happiness.
The road to success passed through years of training, gym sessions, rules study, wins, losses, smiles, and tears. Years of team building and tournaments all over the world. That's what sport is about, it's about commitment and dreams. And respect for the opponent, what in Ultimate Frisbee is called Spirit of the Game.
Even in the European and World Championships, there are no referees. These tournaments represent the maximum of the effort in terms of competition, so they are the highest stage where not only players and teams fight the hardest, but they have to preserve and demonstrate sportsmanship and mutual respect. What makes us proud the most, is the fact that, not only we won the Championship, but we did it keeping the Spirit high, and we got voted 10.57 by our opponents (the goal is to maintain an average higher than 10).
The women's victory was not the only great news about EUCF. For the first time, CUSB won two spots in the Men division during the Qualifications. A team composed mostly by U20 players managed, not only to qualify for the Finals, but they reached the 10th position (out of 24 teams!).
The CUSB La Fotta team played the final as well, against Clapham from London, but sadly, they missed the gold medal just for a couple of points.
As we anticipated in the last update, our route passed through Cincinnati in July, for the World Club Ultimate Championship. Thanks to the Balsamiq support, we had the chance to play the best clubs in the World, before coming back to Europe to claim the cup. Unfortunately, the Shout's result at Worlds was not the one we expected, as we missed the goal of the top 16 and we arrived at 21°. The guys, on the other side, did great in the US, reaching the 9th position, demonstrating that the Bologna Ultimate community is one of the best in the World.
Here is a recap of the 2018 results:
Cusb La Fotta
P.S. We are already planning the 2019 season and the schools' project. The theme of the next year will be gender equity. :)
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 nonprofit 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.
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!
Balsamiq supports the élite ultimate frisbee teams CUSB Shout (women) and CUSB La Fotta (men). In each team play 22-24 players, the majority are from Bologna and have been playing since middle or high school.
The sponsorship money has been used for three main activities:
2017 was a great year for both teams!
CUSB La Fotta (Men's Team)
CUSB Shout (Women's Team)
Also, the Italian Under24 Men team won the silver medal at the under24 World Championship in Perth (January 2018). Fifteen out of the twenty-four players and the Head Coach Davide Morri were CUSB athletes.
The big news is that, as Italian Champions 2017, both CUSB La Fotta and CUSB Shout gained the Italian spot for the World Ultimate Club Championship 2018, which will be held in Cincinnati in July 2018! Part of the 2018 sponsorship money was used to pay the team registration and fees in December 2017.
The teams are now getting ready for the Italian Championship 2018 and at the same time training for the World Championship. The excitement is palpable at every practice.
Of course there will be expenses for the Championships, and we're glad that the financial support we provide will be useful for that, too.
Here is a video recap of their great successes from 2018:
Ultimate Frisbee 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!
During the month of May 2017, CUSB organized 4 tournaments:
The podium and spirit of the game awards were designed by the sculpture students of the local art school Liceo Artistico Arcangeli.
Thanks to Balsamiq's support, CUSB Ultimate could buy all the necessary equipment to plan and organize these activities, including frisbees, awards, and promotional materials.