As the sport continues to grow, we are excited to be able to participate in (local!) showcase games for our fans and to promote women in ultimate!
Please continue reading for our thoughts on participating in the EuroStars Tour:
As a group of elite women’s ultimate teams the 6ixers, Brute Squad, Ozone, and Scandal are collectively announcing our decision to participate in the EuroStars Tour (EST) this summer. Because of EST’s partnership with the AUDL, the decision of whether or not to play in this year’s tour was nuanced, complicated, and demanded careful consideration. While each team in this group came to their own resolution, similar thoughts, conversations, and reasons contributed to our choice to play. Given the complexity of this situation, we feel it is important to share some context with the ultimate community at-large regarding our decision to participate in the EST.
We did not take this decision lightly. We arrived here only after months of reflection and discussion as both individuals and teams. As gender equity advocates, each team and its players felt challenged by conflicting desires to support gender equity by playing the EuroStars and support gender equity by not supporting the AUDL. In this process, we asked ourselves some of the following guiding questions:
- Why do we want to participate? Are our reasons valid and helpful in the broader conversations and actions around gender equity?
- Is this opportunity a net positive for 6ixers, Brute Squad, Ozone, Scandal, the EST, women ultimate players, youth ultimate, and our community as a whole?
- If we do not play, is there a negative impact on the EST? As a high profile women’s team in the US, do we have an obligation to support women striving for gender equity in their communities (in this case, other countries)? How do we best support the EuroStars and their goals in doing this tour?
- Can we play this game and still use our voice to speak out against shortsighted statements from the AUDL/lack of true AUDL support of gender equity? Can we effectively speak out against the group funding the very game and tour we are participating in?
Ultimately, our teams opted to support gender equity by participating in the EST while maintaining a critical approach to the AUDL and its lack of gender equitable policies and practices. Although choosing to play was a collective decision, that does not mean that each team or player has the same opinions or feelings. When it comes to how to best support gender equity, a diversity of perspectives exist between and within our teams. The personal decision to participate still belongs to individual players.
Despite our conclusion that the pros of playing outweigh the cons, we find ourselves in a position where our decision to play could be seen as a show of support for a gender inequitable league or as an act that undercuts a legitimate boycott. This is neither our intention nor desire. Our choice to play in the EST will not change the inequality within or perpetuated by the AUDL, and we are concerned that the AUDL could use the EST as a simple “checkbox” for gender equity. Our decision to play does not demonstrate alignment with the AUDL’s gender inequitable practices, nor is it a judgment on any who have come out against showcase games financed by the AUDL. We firmly believe that the AUDL should do more to include and support women in ultimate, and we will continue to push for that in the EST and beyond.
To us, playing the EuroStars is one tangible way to give back to a community of athletic, talented, driven women. We hope our decision to play supports our friends and lifts up our peers who are fighting for gender equity in European ultimate communities with significantly less support than the U.S. We want to share the sport that we love, grow the level of competition internationally, and honestly, we want to play in a really good game against incredibly talented women from all over Europe.
We hope that the greater ultimate world understands the predicament many women’s teams currently face in trying to determine the best way to move our teams and community forward. We look at every playing opportunity as a chance to showcase the beauty and power of women in sport—and to prove why the AUDL is wrong about us. Why we deserve equal airtime at sporting events. Why, in a blossoming sport, it is important to show that ultimate can be played by everyone. Why we are just as talented, skilled, and impressive as our male counterparts on the field.
We are continuing to challenge ourselves and each other to be better and push towards gender equity in ultimate. Our teams feel that participating in the EST provides a platform to do that.
Boston Brute Squad