What a great weekend for our first Gridlock tryouts! Even after years of running large tryouts, I have to say that I had trouble sleeping the night before. We all had done so much work to organize and plan, but would it actually come together?
Stepping onto the field on Saturday morning was amazing. The energy was great and people were showing up in such high spirits. We knew we were doing something special, and everyone there was ready to give it their all. It was clear to me that people knew what a historic day this was for ultimate in NY.
One thing that struck me was how the tryouts made me feel. Since moving to the NY area 5 years ago, I have ran or helped run at least a dozen professional tryouts. However, the participants and volunteers at these tryouts were predominately male. This time it was different. We did have plenty of volunteers of all genders, but the players were all women and non-binary. The feeling I got from the participants was overwhelmingly positive. I didn’t feel like I had to prove myself or give anyone my resume. There was this sense that people knew why I was there and why I was qualified to lead this group. In the past, while many players knew and respected me, there was always a group that I had to prove myself to. There was alway those that I would never feel totally respected by. I never once over these tryouts felt that way. I had almost forgotten what it was like to just be able to coach and talk to players without questioning what I was saying or doing.
Walking away from this weekend the most present feeling I have is one of gratitude. For the players who came out and gave it their all. For the volunteers who showed up to help things run smoothly. For the videographers and photographers who helped us all to feel like professionals. For the community members who helped push me to be better from day 1 to day 2. For my partner, Julie Cook, without whom none of this would even be happening.
I am optimistic about the future for NYGL. I have the wonderful problem of having too many amazing players to choose from. I know there will be many that I’ll want to take this year and won’t have the ability to. But I am optimistic that they will stay involved and engaged in this process because I saw how much this step meant to everyone who participated.
I can’t wait for the next steps we are going to take and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for being able to have this opportunity.