Thunder Bay Ultimate (TBU)
Ultimate frisbee is considered to be a newer sport. With it often being confused with disc golf (the game around Boulevard), many people still haven’t heard of it! Ultimate frisbee can briefly be explained as a mix between soccer, except with a disc (aka “frisbee”). The goal is for a team to pass the disc from one end of the field to the other without dropping it OR running when holding the disc. There’s A LOT of running and teamwork involved. On outdoor fields, it consists of seven people per team. In tournaments throughout the world, there are open, women and mixed co-ed divisions.
Thunder Bay Ultimate is an incorporated not-for-profit organization that was founded in 2009 and operates with the primary purposes of:
- Organizing, promoting and developing interest and participation in ultimate across age-groups, genders, and ethnicities;
- Promoting proficiency and excellence in all aspects of ultimate; and
- Upholding spirit of the game as an integral aspect of ultimate
Thunder Bay Ultimate (TBU) is committed to growing the sport of ultimate in Thunder Bay. In the years to come, we hope to see growth in the number of teams that take part in our multiple leagues, the establishment of a sustainable junior’s scene, larger numbers of women and non-binary players, and more TBU-supported teams taking part in both Ultimate Canada’s and USA Ultimate’s tournament series.
Inclusivity Story of Thunder Bay Ultimate
Historically in Thunder Bay Ultimate (TBU), we’ve played as a mixed co-ed league. Due to this, the nature of our leagues have inherently promoted strong gender binaries. Since 2017, TBU has been working to change that and create a welcoming space for everyone. Here is our brief inclusivity journey:
|Official creation of Thunder Bay Ultimate! Thunder Bay’s first summer ultimate league included 6 teams.
|Open league, majority men playing. Often 5 men to 2 women identifying players on the field.
|More women identifying players start to join.
|The World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) introduces Gender Ratio Rule A and Rule B to their rule book.
|These rules state equal playing on the field for each gender. Ex. 4 woman-matching and 3 man-matching players on the field for half the game, then switch.
|Ultimate Canada switches to Gender Ratio Rule A as this governing body uses WFDF rules.
Trailblazers league introduces playing by gender parity rules.
|Due to low numbers, hat league was formed, gender parity was not considered, more so concerned with starting league back from zero momentum.
|Higher ratio of man-matching players which results in more men playing on the field.
|Start up of indoor league, no parity rules stated.
|Resulted in games with a higher ratio of men on the field.
|Board actively re-promoting parity, following rules in line with Ultimate Canada & Ultimate Ontario.
Received push-back from league in Thunder Bay.
|Consultation with Vancouver Ultimate League (VUL), progressing parity, open to all TBU board and committee members.
|Vancouver Ultimate League (VUL) have very strong policies in regard to gender, TBU recognizes importance of gender policies/guidelines.
|Local Rainbow Collective Workshop on gender diversity – Representation from each team required.
|Learned the importance of creating a safe space, continuing conversations for growth.
|TBU Inclusivity and Gender Equity Guidelines published — all members must agree to for Summer 2022 league.
|Gender Ratio Rule A encouraged.
|Parity points introduced, parity not enforced but strongly encouraged & rewarded. Ensures parity is considered at every game.
|Not all teams chose to play by Gender Ratio Rule A.
|Focused on parity feedback/engagement and board/committee recruitment.
|Women/Non-Binary League inception! Mixed league greater uptake in Parity, still not required.
|Creation of league to have safe space for woman, non-binary people to have equal opportunity to play.
|Womens Equity and Inclusion Committee re-established! Parity Survey sent out to members with 90 responses.
|Survey to gauge community members thoughts on Gender Parity Rules, lots in favour, some not.
|Summer League 2023 Summer Gender Ratio Rule implemented with clear expectations.
|Equity on the field. Equal playing time for man-matching and woman-matching players, no questions asked. Pushing forward creating equal opportunity for women to play.
We also have the Charity donation: 2023 Trailblazers League
The fourth Trailblazers League is Thunder Bay Ultimate’s annual outdoor ultimate frisbee recreational summer league! In this league, we pay homage to the trailblazers of ultimate in Thunder Bay. That is, people who made pivotal contributions to the foundation of ultimate in our city. Through their dedication, commitment, leadership, and passion, these trailblazers got us playing, organized, and inspired!
For the 2023 season, we have chosen the Faye Peterson House! The Faye Peterson House provides a safe and supportive temporary shelter environment, crisis services, counselling, outreach, transitional support, advocacy, early childhood education, and support groups to survivors/women, youth and their children who are experiencing abuse or are at risk of abuse. Find out more information here.
Thunder Bay Ultimate is committed to the work of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, however, is aware there’s a long way to go! It will be a continuous journey. If readers have suggestions or feedback for ways to improve, TBU welcomes input from all voices.
TBU Inclusivity and Gender Equity Guidelines
For more info about Thunder Bay Ultimate, please visit: https://thunderbayultimate.com/