Playing with the Enemy

We never thought we’d wear the same jersey as the enemy. By “the enemy,” we mean our longstanding rivals at the college, club, and international levels. Those rivals are our teammates today. 

We are Kate and Mira, two-thirds of the Canadian contingent on the 2016 All-Star Ultimate Tour. We have been teammates since WJUC 2010 and recently completed our college ultimate careers together at the University of British Columbia. On the Tour, we are best known for our lack of cellular connection and are therefore quite useless most of the time on the road. We’re great as Shotgun unless you want us to Google map you to the nearest gas station, send a GroupMe to the other van, play a Spotify playlist, or really anything other than provide company. Our moment of glory was the ten-hour period that we spent north of the border as the only ones with working phones and debit cards.

To us, our All-Star teammates were perpetually the ones that we had to match up against and strategize around. Since we are from another country, there aren’t as many opportunities for us to play with these women. While watching them make incredible plays against us, we never expected to, one day, share in their successes. The feeling of now being able to cheer for a sick Beth Kaylor layout, the first time sending a Hail Mary huck to JWei, or Frantz saving you with an incredible layout D is impossible to describe. Previously those plays were constant annoyances (still awesome, just less awesome when they are against you), but now instead of dreading them, we look forward to them. It’s been a pleasant surprise to discover that knowing these players so well as opponents has lead to instant on-field connections.  Obviously the transition isn’t seamless, but knowing each other’s cutting styles and favourite throws makes it easier. 

Photo: Tino Tran Photography

Photo: Tino Tran Photography

Looking back, we have shared many experiences at the same tournaments in cities across the world, but we have done so as strangers. It’s fun to reminisce on those moments and share different sides of the same stories. Sitting with the Oregon crew, we remembered different Regionals based on location, jersey colors, and the presence of ‘scoot scoot’—Beth’s scooter to transport her broken foot in 2014. Looking back to WJUC in 2010, we wish our 16-year old selves knew what was to come, and could have made those connections sooner.