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The Tampa Bay Cannons on stepping up to fight breast cancer and why Real Men Wear Pink

The Tampa Bay Cannons on stepping up to fight breast cancer and why Real Men Wear Pink

The Tampa Bay Cannons have a lot of heart. If you’re a fan of the team and follow them on social media, you’ve probably seen photos of them out marching for unity and equality, posting fitness tips to motivate us all to stay healthy while social distancing, and sharing pics with their favorite cereals as part of their Feeding Tampa Bay fundraiser. Using their platform to raise awareness and support causes that are important to them is a huge part of what makes the Tampa Bay Cannons who they are. 

One of the causes that is so important to the organization is raising awareness about breast cancer, particularly in often overlooked segments of the population, namely men and people of color. Through their passion for philanthropy and partnership with the American Cancer Society, the Cannons’ Real Men Wear Pink campaign began. Last year, for their Mother’s Day game, the team wore pink wristbands onfield, gave flowers to moms, sold pink gear, and donated full proceeds to ACS. This year, the plan was to take things even further — an ACS education booth at the game, a whole field full of players in pink jerseys, news coverage, 50/50 raffles, auctions, and more. The whole team was looking forward to ramping up their efforts to help raise even more awareness and working to raise their goal amount of $5000 to donate to ACS.

2020 hasn’t gone the way any of us expected. Vacation plans have been scratched out. Events have been canceled. Sports seasons have been postponed. While many of the disruptions that COVID-19 has had on daily life are pretty obvious, there’s also a ripple effect, and unfortunately, the Cannons’ fundraising efforts for the year have also been thwarted. But despite the COVID setbacks, they’re determined to do everything they can to help raise awareness, raise funds, and fight the stigma surrounding men and breast cancer. Because men do get breast cancer. About 1 in every 833 men, in fact. 

And that’s why this year, for Father’s Day, we’re launching the Tampa Bay Cannons Real Men Wear Pink jersey. To raise awareness, start a conversation, and raise critical funds to donate to ACS. With the rest of their grand plans on hold, jersey sales and direct donations are the primary ways you can help support the Cannons RMWP campaign. If you’re unable to donate, then sharing on social or simply having a conversation with a dad in your life this weekend are also amazing ways to help.

We recently spoke with Peter Masone, General Manager of the Tampa Bay Cannons, about the Real Men Wear Pink fundraiser and why this is such an important cause to the team. Read on below to learn more about their partnership with ACS and why it’s crucial for men to get involved in the fight against breast cancer. 

 

Tampa Bay Cannons AUDL Ultimate Frisbee Team Real Men Wear Pink Jersey

 

What is the Real Men Wear Pink fundraiser about? Why did the Tampa Bay Cannons decide to partner with the American Cancer Society for a pink jersey?

Peter Masone: In general, we have all been touched one way or another by cancer. Our involvement started simply with me looking to layer an existing charity interest with our team initiative to promote women in sports during a half-time women's scrimmage.  

However, if you look deeper into breast cancer statistics, approximately 2,600 men are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. Plus, about 520 men will die from breast cancer per year. Due to the lack of awareness and, jeesh who thinks of men when you say “breast cancer”!?, the mortality rate for men is much higher.  

White women are 100x more likely to be diagnosed than men and black women 70x more likely than black men. As you can see, awareness on all fronts is needed and having a men’s team taking up the cause helps create a sense of comfort to talk about potential issues more freely. 

 

How long have the Cannons been partnering with ACS? How did this partnership start and how has it grown? How has COVID-19 impacted your fundraising efforts?

PM: The partnership officially started last season, in 2019 after the move to Tampa Bay. Last year, we held a Mother's Day Pink event (and had another one on the schedule for this season). We gave flowers to all the moms who came out to the game. We also had our two Florida club partners — Fiasco and Tabby Rosa — play an 18-minute long half-time showcase. Basically, the whole weekend was all about women. Women in sport, moms, and health by the way of breast cancer awareness and fundraising. Everyone on the team wore pink wristbands to represent our dedication to fighting breast cancer. We sold pink merch and 100% of the profits from any pink merch sold were donated to ACS.

 

AUDL Tampa Bay Cannons Real Men Wear Pink Wristbands Mother's Day Game American Cancer Society Fundraiser

 

We also engaged in several remote fundraising events under the RMWP banner, as well as participated in the Making Strides walk in October. I believe, overall we were able to raise a modest $2500 through our various fundraisers.

This season, we planned to build on that foundation. On Mother's Day, ACS planned to have a large presence on-site for RMWP with a booth to help with awareness. Each game leading up to and after Mother’s Day, the RMWP Pinellas team would hold a 50/50 raffle. The intent was promoting the Mother's Day event and gaining maximum exposure to raise donations by just reminding people constantly PINK! Along with that, the Cannons were planning to wear their official pink jerseys that day. Naturally, we expected that to create some attention. We had the local news affiliate who is heavily active with ACS and Making Strides to shine a light on it. 

All this effort would culminate in October again at Making Strides where the team would show up to meet and greet, wear the pink jerseys, and be there for whatever the ACS wants to use for promotion. The grand plan is to auction the game-worn pink jerseys for more donations.

Minus some setbacks from COVID-19 delaying the start of the season, this is all still building and developing. Throughout the year, we expect to continue to build in partnership with ACS and the RMWP. 

 

What are your goals for this fundraiser?

PM: Honestly re-evaluating this due to the COVID delays. We were originally shooting for a modest $5000 total donations, but potentially moving to a more realistic goal due to the fundraising delays. Perhaps $2500 would make more sense with all the unknowns. 

(Editor’s note: I believe they can do it! Let’s all help them get to $5000!)

 

How can your fans get involved and support this cause?

PM: By purchasing pink Cannons gear! A portion of the proceeds will be donated directly to the ACS. Share our RMWP promotions to spread awareness and, if possible, donate!

 

Shop the Tampa Bay Cannons Real Men Wear Pink jersey. A portion of all sales will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

 

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No Tomorrow is Promised: The Tragic Loss and Inspiring Perseverance of AUDL’s Mechanix

No Tomorrow is Promised: The Tragic Loss and Inspiring Perseverance of AUDL’s Mechanix

2020 started out as a year full of promise and exciting change for AUDL’s Mechanix — the team was growing and relocating to a new city, and couldn’t wait to get out on the field. Then suddenly, on Feb. 29, 2020, an unimaginable tragedy struck. Michael Cannon, Drew Piet, and Kevin Coulter — three beloved team members of the Mechanix — were traveling to weekend practice in Detroit when their car was struck from behind by another vehicle on I-96. The injuries sustained in the collision proved to be fatal. Coulter was pronounced dead on the scene and Piet and Cannon remained on life support until their organs could be donated. 

Almost immediately after that horrific car crash, while still mourning the loss of three of their teammates, the team suddenly faced a whole new challenge — the COVID-19 pandemic.  With AUDL games and practices suspended for the foreseeable future and strict social distancing measures in place, the Mechanix family had to find new ways of coming together while remaining apart. 

AUDL Mechanix Ultimate Frisbee Team Roster Photo

Yet, despite the challenges and tragedies, the Mechanix story isn’t one of sorrow, but one of perseverance, resilience, solidarity, and strength. More than a team, the Mechanix consider themselves a family, an ethos perfectly summed up in their mantra of “We Before Me.” Together, they’re determined to get through these trying times through their unity and positivity, and come out stronger on the other side. 

The new Mechanix Memorial Collection is a loving tribute to the three teammates they lost, a testament of the team’s strength, and a reminder that “No Tomorrow is Promised,” so always make the most of today. A portion of all proceeds will go to a memorial fund for the families of Michael Cannon, Drew Piet, and Kevin Coulter — the three players that died in the crash.

We recently spoke to Brent Steepe, the General Manager of the Mechanix, to learn more about the new collection, moving the organization to a new city, and how the team is coming together to forge ahead.


Savage: What was the inspiration behind this new collection? What does the black ribbon signify? Tell us what “We Before Me” and “No Tomorrow is Promised” means to you and to the team. 

Brent Steepe: 2020 has been a challenging year for the Mechanix as a whole, and myself as a leader in the organization.  

The season was off to a tremendous start: we made thorough changes throughout the organization, even relocating the organization itself to Grand Rapids, MI. The year began with new athletes, new personnel, and a return to active coaching for me, marking my 10th year with DMX. Little did we know that the season was to be riddled with both challenge and loss.  

More energy and dedicated effort were placed into the Mechanix than ever before — not only practices and workouts, which were the norm — we also doubled-down with weekend retreats and "get to know your team" assignments throughout the week. Then, while we were at practice, the call came. Three of our players — one of whom I had worked with for multiple seasons and teams — were gone. Sass (Kevin) was family, and Drew and Mike were well on their way to becoming that as well.   

Then, in a flash, it was forgotten as COVID-19 was announced, turning our sport and our world on its side. Just as quarantine had become the "new normal", we got another shock to the system. My personal friend and team lawyer, Daniel P. Marsh, was gone. Dan had been with us since 2012, and he and his family were champions of both the Mechanix and the sport. To say that this has been challenging really does the journey a disservice. Yet the resilience of the team, the staff, and specifically my co-coach Gerald Chizmadia have been an inspiration for all who hear the story. They are a championship-caliber group of ladies and gentlemen, and I am excited to see their passion for the sport ignite in this time of uncertainty. Thus, the "Memorial Collection" is born, as it is these events that drive our passion and inspire us to grow beyond ourselves. 

AUDL Detroit Mechanix Team Jersey Memorial Jersey for three teammates that died in car accidentThe Black Ribbon is the memorial for the numbers our fallen brothers would have worn this year. Cannon 91, Sass 55, Piet 8.

"We Before Me" is the mantra of the Mechanix, a call to action placing our teammates and families first in our lives, recognizing that together we are greater than alone, so let our priorities reflect this in our actions.

"No tomorrow is promised" is a statement said to the gentlemen on a regular basis and throughout meetings and events. Little did I know how much more gravity those words would have after this spring. The time is now, this moment, this blink to make your activities and outcomes align, as a new day brings with it both new circumstances and conditions, some of which may not be favorable to your current passion and path. The team has embraced these phrases and adopted them into many aspects of team and life.

 

Savage: How has the team and the organization been getting through these tough times?   

BS: We have each other. We seek to understand each other and the importance of each aspect of the lives of our teammates. We support and rely upon each other and our families equally, creating a unity that is unlike anything I have experienced in over three decades of sports, athletic training, and coaching.


Savage: What are you most looking forward to in the second half of 2020?  

BS: Watching this team… this family… succeed both on and off of the field.

 

Savage: The Mechanix has a new home! How do you feel about the Mechanix leaving Detroit and moving to another city? What impact will this move have on the team as a whole?

BS: There is excitement and new life to the organization, as it allows us to reset our organizational plan, as well as align with a very robust Ultimate community and youth programming. We are partnering with local athletes, the Grand Rapids Ultimate group (GRU), and ZigZag Ultimate, one of the finest youth organizations that I have had the pleasure of working within recent times.

AUDL Mechanix Team Ultimate Frisbee Game photo

 

Savage: What do you think are going to be the biggest changes in the new season once it starts? For the Mechanix and the AUDL/Ultimate as a whole?

BS: With COVID-19, a new experience for both the players and fans will be the central theme of the AUDL this year, and perhaps many more to come. As a team, we seek to continue to deliver safe, fun, and exciting family entertainment in the realm of professional ultimate, and through our school, youth, and community programs we seek to find ways to inspire growth in our sport through participation and exposure. We are reignited...One Team, One Chain.


Shop the Mechanix Memorial Collection. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to a memorial fund for the families of the three players that they lost.

All team photos by Elizabeth Maryland Photography

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Disc Golf Pro Tour is Back! Here’s What You Need to Know

Disc Golf Pro Tour is Back! Here’s What You Need to Know

Some much-needed good news came to the Disc Golf community today when Disc Golf Pro Tour (DGPT) made the big announcement that they will return to Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) Elite Series sanctioned play this June. The Tour came to a grinding halt on March 13, 2020, in the middle of the Waco Annual Charity Open in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Disc Golf Pro Tour’s announcement came on the same day as the PDGA update that 23 states and 11 countries are now available for PDGA sanctioning. While we’re starting to see sports and other businesses open up again, COVID-19 is still a major concern and both the PDGA and the DGPT have presented detailed plans outlining new policies and best practices to keep players and staff safe during events. 


The Disc Golf Pro Tour will restart in the Midwest in Emporia, KS, with a brand new event — The Dynamic Discs Open on June 26-28. The San Francisco Open and Portland Open have both been canceled in order to stay in alignment with local government guidelines. The Portland Open will be replaced by another new event — the Preserve Championship in Clearwater, MN on July 3-5. The Jonesboro Open has been rescheduled to Oct 1-3. With these changes, the DGPT will continue to have an Elite Series consisting of 11 events, as originally planned. The Tour also plans on keeping 7 of 9 original Silver Series events for a schedule of 18 total events in 2020. 


To protect the safety of players, staff, and volunteers, the DGPT has outlined a detailed three-phased approach to resuming play. When the Tour resumes in June with Phase 1, there will be strict precautions in place. The Phase 1 guidelines include:

  • Spectator-free events
  • No caddies
  • Sanitization of common surfaces and hand sanitizer available during play
  • Enforcement of social distancing measures, requiring all players, staff, and media to stay at least 6 feet away from each other at all times 
  • Group sizes will be limited to three
  • Field sizes will be reduced for speed of play and to allow for better social distancing

The DGPT will also provide optional COVID-19 testing for all players. If any player shows possible symptoms of COVID-19 or has come into contact with someone who has tested positive, testing and a negative result will be required in order to participate in the event. 


Once state and local governments declare that it’s safe for gatherings of 50 or more people, Phase 2 of the DGPT safety procedures will go into effect. During Phase 2, limited spectators will be allowed and players will be grouped into foursomes. Testing, social distancing, and sanitization procedures established in Phase 1 will continue in Phase 2. 


While it will be quite different than what we’ve seen in past years, we’re unbelievably excited to see the Tour return. As a DGPT partner and with several members of our Savage Squad participating, we’re unbelievably excited about this news and for the future of Disc Golf. We can’t wait to follow the coverage and cheer everyone on while social distancing in our homes.

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Spikeballer Tori Farlow: Quarantine has been a healthy change and transition for me

Spikeballer Tori Farlow: Quarantine has been a healthy change and transition for me

We're all getting through this quarantine in different ways, and we love hearing updates from all of you on how you're staying healthy despite the circumstances. N.C.-based pro Spikeball player and personal trainer Tori Farlow (who we profiled on the Savage blog back in February) has been keeping us motivated with active and upbeat Instagram posts, so we tapped her to share some of what's gotten her through the past weeks. Take it away, Tori!

Quarantine life has definitely been a huge change for all of us, and not all of it has been positive — but that doesn’t mean it can’t be used for good.

Like I say to most people, including my clients, everything is transformed through perspective. Whatever you focus on magnifies.

Here is a glimpse into what my life has been like as of late, and things I have realized for my own positivity and health. No one is the same, so I’m not saying this will work for you, but I do hope that it pushes you in a direction or a realization that does help you!

Three things you can do to come out of this quarantine as a healthier person

 

1. Find a morning and night routine.

For me, this requires waking up without a screen. Whether that means making breakfast, doing yoga, or spending time with my dog, I try to allow my brain to wake up in the morning without screens, especially knowing that I work throughout the day from my computer or phone.

When you think about it, if we are looking through emails or social media right when we wake up, we are training our minds to wake up stressed. We see all of the work that we need to do, immediately compare our lives and bodies to others, exercise FOMO, and hype up our insecurities — all in a matter of seconds once our eyes open. Before we even get out of bed, we possibly have a feeling of less worth and joy without even realizing it. 

I have noticed a difference in my mood and productivity throughout the day when I wake up without these things, even though it’s sadly not easy. It had become such a routine for me to look at my phone as the first and last thing I did in the day, and I never saw it as an issue. I definitely didn’t figure this out on my own. It took me spending time with a very smart, seasoned, and loving human to even realize that’s what I was doing and that it would be in my best interest to make a change.

For me, the most trouble is in the morning, but it might be the night time for you. Allow yourself to be quiet, still, and present. My favorite way to cool down is with some jams, tea, and a lit candle. Find what soothes you the best!

Tori Farlow Personal Trainer

2. Move every day.

I am used to lifting weights 4-6 days out of the week, and lifting pretty heavy most of those days. I’ve been doing this for eight years now and my passion continues to grow. The most strict cardio you’ll find me doing is five minutes on a bike or stairmaster as a warmup because I prefer to get my cardio from playing sports. I coach soccer as well as play in multiple soccer leagues, travel for Spikeball, and play as many sports as I can get my hands on, so I stay pretty busy and active. With the feeling like everything got stripped away from me, this time of quarantine has been a test of my patience, determination, and creativity. I have had to come to grips with the fact that since I cannot change the current reality — there is no sense in being upset over it. The new question is, “what am I going to do to continue to try to be the best version of myself?”

I have done way more bodyweight and strict cardio workouts than I ever have before and I honestly think it has been a healthy break for me. I have been able to give my body rest when it needs, push my body to new and different limits, and show my body that different is okay. Most importantly, I’ve learned how to love my body through those differences. I’ve had to realize what I truly want out of this time and make the choice to be productive even though it’s much easier to sulk. 
Some of my favorite workouts during this time have been…

  • Various HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts
  • Riding my bike 
  • Yoga 
  • Banded exercises (glute kickbacks, creative lat pulldown, abductor walks, etc.)
  • Jumping to conclusions
  • Lots of squats
  • Sprints
  • Playing Spikeball in my basement

Tori Farlow Spikeball Player

3. Be willing to accept a new norm.

I graduated in 2018 with a degree in exercise science and have been a soccer coach and personal trainer since then. I started to lose steam with my training position because I wasn’t sure of the full value of what I was offering. I wasn’t finding my passion in it anymore. I was going through the motions, and while I felt like I didn’t deserve that, I was realizing more and more that my clients didn’t either. If you can’t show up for yourself, then you also can’t show up for others the way that you want or the way that they deserve. 

So, I redirected my attention to why I do what I do. I thought of the reasons why I was so drawn to coaching and it was because I was able to work with girls who trusted me with more than just their skill training. They trusted me with their home life situations, friendships, breakups, and all the worries under the sun. I felt purpose when I was being a mentor and realized a huge reason of why I even stay in shape myself and why I love exercise — it’s an amazing outlet with incredible mental health benefits.

So how could I bring all of those things together? With the help of some amazing people, I was pushed and encouraged to start my own online wellness business. It’s not just about the workouts anymore. It’s about full-body wellness and health. Most of the time I spend with my clients one-on-one is by working through mental perspectives and how to truly love our mind and body during the journey, not just the destination. It’s always about the big picture.

I’m not saying it is going to be easy, but I am saying it is going to be worth it. Once we can sit down, accept, and embrace life for what it currently is, then we are more able to move forward in a positive manner.

Whatever you focus on magnifies.

If you are interested in the personal program that I have created, you can get in touch with me on Instagram (@torefarlow) or through this link

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Savage Check-in: Working through the pandemic

Savage Check-in: Working through the pandemic

A lot has happened in the nearly two months since we first posted about the effect of COVID-19 on Savage and XII Brands (which includes partner companies Five Ultimate and ARIA Discs). Like large and small business around the world, our operations have been deeply impacted by the pandemic. Like others, we have been struggling to survive.

There were definitely moments when we didn't know if we could get through this. As sporting events were canceled around the world, we recognized there would not be a need for our services for the foreseeable future. Incoming orders dried up almost immediately, and we were forced to lay off a large portion of our staff. We simply did not have the revenue to pay them anymore. 

Since March, we have been forging ahead with a dramatically reduced number of team members. We implemented new safety and sanitation measures in our production facility to keep our remaining staffers healthy while catching up with remaining orders. Things slowed down, but with our reduced staff, we still struggled to keep up.

We also had to think of new ways to make money in order to pay our bills and our skeleton crew's salaries. We started pushing our Neckies, and prioritizing those orders, knowing that our customers needed face coverings ASAP. Our sewing team started making masks to donate to local healthcare workers. We sorted through old merch stored away at HQ and hosted sales to try to bring in some money. We even started to explore new markets, including making scrubs. 

Still, our money was running out, and we got to the point where we wondered if we'd have to close our doors completely. Then just in time, in late April we received our PPP loan as well as a grant to help us not only keep the lights on, but also bring back many of our team members. 

What's next for Savage and XII Brands?

The future is still uncertain for our industry and the sports that we work with, but we are forging ahead with the hope that things will return to normal in the not-so-distant future. We are thrilled to have so many of our team members back working for Savage and XII Brands, and to finally have the staff we need to be able to catch up on outstanding orders.

To our customers who have been so very patient and understanding as we work through this, we want to extend our deepest gratitude. It's because of you that we have remained functioning, and will hopefully continue to do so as we figure out what life looks like in a post-pandemic world.

For those of you asking where your late orders are, we are happy to report that we can finally give you some answers, thanks to our recently replenished workforce:

  • Where's my High Tide back-ordered gear? After High Tide was cancelled halfway through the tournament, we had a huge clearance sale to try to at least break even with all of the leftover merchandise we had. We also made some of the more popular, sold-out gear available as back-ordered merchandise to be made on-demand, noting that those items would take eight weeks to produce and deliver. Well, that deadline is fast approaching and most of these orders won't be ready for shipping. Rest assured that these aren't forgotten, and we're in a much better situation to catch up quickly. Our goal is to have all of these orders to you by June 1, if not sooner.
  • Where's my AUDL gear? Savage is proud to be the official apparel partner of the AUDL, and we have continued working on their uniforms and fan gear through the pandemic. However, as the league has been adjusting their season plans, we have adjusted our own production timeline as well, and some other orders have taken priority as a result. Our goal is now to have all AUDL orders shipped by June 15, with the oldest orders taking priority and shipping out within 7-10 days. 
  • Where's my Team Marketplace order? Our typical turnaround time for Team Marketplace orders is 4-6 weeks from the closure of each Team Marketplace. We have a handful of TMP orders now that are overdue or approaching their shipping deadline. Our goal is to have all of these orders shipped by the end of May. 
  • Other orders: When will I get my stuff? We totally get it. You're anxious to receive the order you paid for, and you're wondering where the heck it is. It's taken longer than we promised, and that is frustrating — for you as well as for us. Please know that we haven't forgotten about you. Our crew is working hard to get back on track, prioritizing any outstanding orders in the order that they were received. Our goal is to have all outstanding orders shipped over the next three weeks.

Again, we thank each and every one of you for your orders, your support, and your patience. Your kind emails and tweets and Instagram messages have added some brightness to this dark time, and served as a much-needed reminder of why we do what we do. We think of you as family, and we're excited to get through this together and move on to the other side.

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10 Fun Ways to Stay Connected to Your Friends and Teammates While Social Distancing (That Aren’t Just Skype)

10 Fun Ways to Stay Connected to Your Friends and Teammates While Social Distancing (That Aren’t Just Skype)

In the span of just a few tumultuous days, the sports world ground to a halt and social distancing became the norm — leaving many of us feeling unmoored. Humans are social beings, and sports are truly about so much more than the game itself. While we love the intensity and fun of playing, the community and social aspects are just as important — and one of the main reasons why we love sports like Ultimate Frisbee, Spikeball, Quidditch, Disc Golf, and Dodgeball so much.

So what happens when high-fives are suddenly forbidden, all social gatherings and games are canceled, local hangouts are temporarily closed, and social distancing becomes a critical part of staying safe and healthy? We get creative and come up with new ways to stay connected to our friends, family, and teammates. Social interaction, bonding, and coming together as a community are probably more important now than ever, which is why we’ve come up with a list of 10 fun and creative ways to help you stay connected. 

Host a Virtual Group Lunch or Coffee — When you’d normally be at practice, do a full-team coffee hour or eat a meal via Skype or Google Hangouts video chat. Having a set time to bring everyone together as a group helps to maintain a routine and stay connected and is a good way to check in on everyone.

Go Outside! — Large social gatherings are off-limits, and maintaining a distance of six feet is encouraged, but unless you’re in a city or state where you’re barred from leaving your house for unnecessary reasons, you should absolutely be going outside and getting some fresh air and a bit of exercise. Take a friend or two and go on a hike or a jog or bike ride (give the handlebars a good wipe with sanitizer before and after). So long as you’re all healthy/asymptomatic, refrain from high-fives, and maintain a safe distance apart, some time outdoors with a couple of friends should be totally okay.

Have a Remote Workout Sesh — Set up a group video chat and have your team captain or another volunteer lead the group in a basic workout or yoga session. Even though you can’t get out and play together, you can still stay in shape and game-ready for when seasons start up again. Group motivation and holding each other accountable is a great way to stay fit and healthy together so you can dominate next season. Stay tuned to the Savage Blog, Facebook, and Instagram for some tips and home exercises to help.

Do a Group Photo Challenge — A photo challenge is a great way to stay busy and have some fun together. Decide on your approach (Googling “photo challenge” will give you plenty of options to choose from, but here’s a good basic one). Every day, you each have to take a photo that fits the theme for that day then share in a group chat or on social with your own hashtag. 

Play Mobile Games — The great thing about mobile games is that everyone has a smartphone, and most of these games are free. Draw Something, Words With Friends, and Drawful are pretty much modern classics at this point. Ever get into a cut-throat game of Draw Something with your grandparents? If not, you have 100% been missing out. 

Host a Virtual Game Night — If you’re more a fan of playing board games and missing your regular Cards Against Humanity throwdown or poker night, there are also plenty of options for playing board and card games online with your mates. Monopoly, UNO, Yahtzee Party, and poker are all solid options for a virtual game night. There’s also a fun Cards Against Humanity clone that includes a very necessary group chat feature since commenting and laughing over the card combos is an essential part of the game. 

Organize a Virtual Book Club — Google Play, Open Library, Free eBooks, and Project Gutenberg offer an extensive array of free eBook options to choose from. If you don’t feel like falling down a black hole of book options, r/freeEBOOKS is a great place to find solid recommendations. Other than entertainment and offering mental escape, plenty of books can also impart valuable lessons in leadership and teamwork. Our friends at Five Ultimate put together this list of great reads that can also sharpen your game. Once everyone decides on a book, set up a reading schedule and video chats to discuss. And yes, it’s totally fair to read Harry Potter again together.

Give Each Other a Little Boost — Sarahah is a site and iOS/Android app that lets you post anonymous messages for your friends. Have everyone on your team sign up and share their links, then go through and leave everyone a nice message telling them something you admire or appreciate about them. It’s totally anonymous, but you can leave your name if you’d like.

Start a D&D Group  There’s a reason why Dungeons & Dragons has been the most popular role-playing game since the 70s — it’s fun! With everything going on right now, this feels like the perfect time to get together with a group of friends and escape into a fantasy world for a few hours. With social distancing, you might not be able to gather around a table to play, but fortunately, there are some really amazing online options. Roll20 is a great way to play D&D together online, either building your own campaign from scratch or using one of their ready-to-play campaigns. Set up a video chat using FaceTime, Skype, or Google Hangouts and get ready to party with rangers and warlocks.

Start Planning for Next Season — It’s a very rough and uncertain time right now, and many of us are mourning our interrupted seasons. Though things can seem pretty grim at the present moment, it’s more important now than ever to keep looking ahead. There will be a light at the end of all this. Sports will come back. Leagues will start up again. Tournaments will be rescheduled. And when they do, it’ll be such an incredibly celebratory moment. The start of next season will likely be the biggest, most exciting start to any season ever. And it’s totally okay to start getting hyped about it now! Skype with your teammates and discuss game strategy and ways to kick more ass than ever next season. Brainstorm ways to introduce new people to your sport and get them excited and involved. Start designing those new uniforms you’ve been talking about for ages. Come up with some cool fundraising ideas. Plan the most epic first-game after-party ever. Because we will all play again. And together, we’ll come back stronger and better than ever.

Photo by Bruno Gomiero for Unsplash

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A Phase of College Ultimate May Be Over, But We’re Ready to Focus on What’s Ahead

A Phase of College Ultimate May Be Over, But We’re Ready to Focus on What’s Ahead

In the four years I’ve been attending the High Tide Ultimate Tournament as a Savage employee, I’ve seen a lot of crazy things happen — but 2020 is the year I know I’ll always remember. The spread of COVID-19 ended this year’s tournament two weeks early, and most of us also recognized it could mean the end of the college season as well. For many seniors, it was a heartbreaking moment. 

There was a distinct shift at the tournament among players and staff as we all began to process what was about to happen. There was a deep feeling of mourning as news spread that not only was the tournament ending, but schools were closing their doors for the foreseeable future, effectively ending the college Ultimate season.

It’s natural for players to obsess over what didn’t happen, or what could’ve been. I know I’ve struggled with this myself. For some players, it may be the last time they see some of their seniors for a long time. For some seniors, it’s the last time they’ll be playing with some of their teammates. 

But this is what I keep thinking about, and why I’m grateful that I was at High Tide at this moment in time: Witnessing the love players have not only for each other, but also for their opponents at this event, has been life-changing. This truly is a special sport we play. From seeing teams treat a fun Spring Break tournament like it was their last Nationals run, to crying with new players on my old college team, High Tide 2020 was unforgettable. 

It’s painful to think about, but we ought to stay positive, keeping this in mind: Our family of Ultimate players may just be one of the most tight-knit sports communities in the world. I — and the rest of the Savage team — love to come to Myrtle Beach not just to interact with you all and see you play some of the wackiest “games” of ultimate possible, but to be reminded of how much we love this sport ourselves. 

Seniors, addressing you all directly for a moment, we want to offer our sympathy for the abrupt end to some of your seasons. While this is the end of one chapter, we can assure you there’s so much more in store for you. Look forward to joining new teams, new players to befriend, plays to make, and yes, more tears to be shed. 

For now, make sure you leave your teams in a better state than you joined them. Leave a lasting impression for the younger crowd, and continue to be the leaders you wanted when you started playing. While the season’s ending early can lead to questioning of what might’ve been, it’s pointless to wonder about the unknown. Try not to mourn the fact that this chapter is over. It’s better to focus on the incredible times we had, celebrate the fact that you got to experience it, and that you have so much to look forward to. 

It’s crucial during times like this that we hold our favorite people and memories close to give us comfort. We can and probably will feel sad thinking about it, but remember: This community doesn’t end with college. One of the things I love most about Ultimate is that it’s truly a year-round sport if you want it to be. With almost unlimited access to seasonal leagues, club tryouts, and even just casual pickup, Ultimate has never stopped growing — and this will not stop it. 

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay Savage. 

 

Written by Savage's Production/Order Rockstar, Nick Evans 


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COVID-19 and Savage Apparel Co.: Our response to Coronavirus

COVID-19 and Savage Apparel Co.: Our response to Coronavirus

Like the rest of the world, XII Brands and its companies — ARIA Discs, Five Ultimate, and Savage Apparel Co. — are closely monitoring the development of COVID-19 in the U.S. and abroad. The sports world is being deeply impacted by event cancellations worldwide, and our hearts go out to our fellow members of this global community as we navigate the weeks ahead. Our priority is always the health and safety of our employees and customers, and we are taking the situation very seriously.


We have been dealing with the effects of COVID-19 in China since the beginning of 2020, when the spread of the disease and resulting factory shut-downs began impacting our supply chain for Five Ultimate products. Unfortunately, this slowed down the production of some of our customers' orders, and we have been working toward remedying these issues. This has also sped up our transition to domestically produced fabrics and gear at XII Brands’ North American production houses. 


At our production headquarters in Richmond, Virginia, we are closely following local, state, and federal guidelines for the health and safety of our workers. For non-production employees in Richmond and Seattle, we are encouraging remote working until further notice.


Many Savage, Five, and ARIA employees have spent the last two weeks on location in North Myrtle Beach for the High Tide Ultimate Tournament. On March 12, tournament director Ed Pulkinen announced that the remainder of the tournament will be cancelled in the interest of the players and the public health. In an effort to clear out our significant remaining stock of High Tide merchandise, Savage will be selling tournament gear at a discounted rate online for players who were unable to attend.

As major sports institution-partners, like USA Ultimate and the American Ultimate Disc League, continue to release announcements regarding cancellations and postponements, all of our brands are working with leaders of these groups to address their apparel needs for the future.


What does this mean for you? 

As a loyal customer of any of the XII Brands, you can feel confident that we’re working diligently to ensure that gear is produced and delivered as expected. Because health and safety are top priorities at this important juncture, limited staffing and supply chain issues could impact our production processes in the future, however we are all being proactive about producing solutions, substitutions, and solving any unforeseen problems as quickly as possible. 


Because colleges and universities are taking precautionary measures to ensure everyone’s health and safety, we recognize that shipping addresses and schedules may change, events may be delayed, or players may end up scattered to different geographies. Please be sure to email sales@savageultimate.com with your order # and address as soon as you can so that your gear ends up in the right place at the right time. 


Everyone at our production facility is being vigilant about washing their hands frequently, sanitizing working areas with disinfectant, and monitoring their health. Though we are doing our part, commerce and transit is a multi-step process. We encourage all of our customers to wash their hands and dispose of (recycle!) packaging immediately after receipt of any gear. 


The entire sports world is being affected by COVID-19, but ARIA Discs, Five Ultimate, and Savage Apparel Co. will continue working hard as a team to ensure that you have what you need to be ready to hit the fields when it is safe to do so once again. Stay healthy, look out for each other, and don’t hesitate to reach out if we can help in any way.

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