Part 1 – the Secretary, Ellie
Where are you from / who do you play for ?
I’m from Colorado and I play for Skyveld in Johannesburg.
Tell us about your Ultimate career ?
I started playing Ultimate in 2015 – when Fergus had a shortage of women on his team just before Rocktober. Believe it or not I’d never even thrown a frisbee before then ! I joined the GFDA shortly afterwards to step in for Sally (the previous Secretary) who was going overseas.
What’s your favorite part about playing Ultimate ?
Ultimate is still very much in its infancy, especially in South Africa, which is exciting to have so many opportunities open unlike more established sports which are perhaps more rigid and formalized.
Tell us about a tournament you really enjoyed ?
While I was organizing Binnelanders 2016 I realized that there were a few players who did not have teams. I created a “Frankenteam” of these players, and called up a few additional I had met at Swinburne earlier in the year. This team of misfits ended up placing 3rd out of 10 teams, and I was able to make a whole new group of friends stretching from Polokwane to Durban !
What does the role of Secretary of the GFDA entail ?
Officially, the Secretary takes notes during the GFDA meetings and keeps a register of teams and players throughout the region. Social media is such a part of our daily lives, I also manage the Facebook page and the GFDA blog – I’m always on the lookout for interesting content which showcases the different clubs in our region. My strength is definitely in organization and I enjoy ensuring that the tournaments in our region run smoothly. In 2016 I spearheaded an initiative to reduce the #discdrought in our region by bringing in inexpensive Discraft Ultrastars to sell to our community – so far I’ve brought in almost 200 discs, and more are on the way !
Is there is particular clause you’re passionate about promoting during your term ?
One of my first tasks as Secretary of the GFDA was to create a database of all active players in Gauteng. After creating this list by team, I started to see a disturbing trend. With a community of approximately 125 players, only 13.6% were PDI, whereas 8% were Expats and 78.4% were White South Africans. This is not reflective of South Africa as the Rainbow nation ! I am so proud that we now have two active outreach teams, Soweto Ultimate and Orange Farm Ultimate, as well as our yearly interschool tournament in Soweto. I hope to be able to continue supporting transformation in South African Ultimate.
What is your biggest accomplishment thus far with the GFDA ?
Undoubtedly saving Rocktober 2016 from the certain disaster ! Only a week before the tournament, the #feesmustfall protest shut down the University of Witwatersrand. I frantically called over 50 venues before finally finding one that was large enough and wasn’t already booked for Cricket… then all the of other logistics also had to be modified and it became all about crisis management. In the end the tournament was an amazing success, and it was incredibly heartwarming how many players and teams reached out to me personally to ask if I needed their help or just to show their support and appreciation.
What are you looking forward to most in 2017 ?
Definitely the clinics run by Felix – just what inland Ultimate needs to revolutionize our play !