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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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Photo Gallery: High Tide 2020 Week 1 Recap

Photo Gallery: High Tide 2020 Week 1 Recap

We're so stoked to be back in Myrtle Beach for week 2 of High Tide! Week 1 was such a blast. We brought in Dani from Aria Discs to help out and show off this year's Aria custom High Tide discs. We built and stocked our Savage High Tide Store with tons of great merch, played Spikeball, had cookouts on the beach, threw our first VIIIP Pizza Party, cheered on all our teams, celebrated our new merger, and, of course, played plenty of Ultimate.

The Savage staff crushed it on the field during the weekly Hat Tournament and the entire crew – including Savage/XII CEO Todd! – teamed up with Cedarville and the High Tide Staff for one truly epic and very rainy game on Wednesday. Scroll down to check out more photo highlights from the first week of High Tide 2020!

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Tournament Hat Tournament

 High Tide 2020 Week 1 Hat Tournament

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Tournament Hat Tournament

High Tide 2020 Week 1 Hat Tournament

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Ed Pulkinen Todd Curran Savage XII Brands CEO

Savage Founder and CEO Todd Curran with High Tide Founder and Tournament Director Ed Pulkinen

High Tide 2020 Savage Team Spikeball Roundnet

 Savage and High Tide Staffers play some Spikeball by the tent

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Tournament University of Mary Washington VA

 Former Mary Washington Ultimate Coach and current Savage Sales Coordinator, Keys, played some points with the Mary Wash crew who— despite not wearing their Savage gear — were still some of the best-dressed on the field this week

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Tournament Rain Game

 Savage Events & Web Store Manager, Austyn, bringing the heat despite the freezing rain

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Tournament Rain Game

 The rainy Savage/High Tide/Cedarville vs. Valparaiso game on Wednesday 

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Tournament Todd Curran Savage

Don't let the jeans fool you. Savage CEO Todd showed he's still got it when he played a few points during the rainy staff game on Wednesday.

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Tournament Ed Pulkinen

 High Tide Founder & TD, Ed Pulkinen, took a break from directing and helped lead the rest of the staff/Cedarville team to victory

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Tournament Rain Game

 Playing in the rain on Wednesday

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Tournament Week 1 Finals Championship Game Kenyon Grand Valley Loyola

 We cheered on Grand Valley & Loyola's Flying Pagodas – two Savage teams – during Week 1's championship game. 

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Week 1 Final Game Championship Loyola Flying Pagodas Kenyon Grand Valley

 The very wet and very intense Week 1 Championship game on Thursday

High Tide 2020 College Ultimate Frisbee Week 1 Final Game Champions Winners Kenyon Grand Valley

The High Tide Week 1 Champions! Grand Valley & Kenyon

All photos by Lauren DeLuca for Savage

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4 Reasons Why 2020 is Going to be the Best AUDL Season Yet

4 Reasons Why 2020 is Going to be the Best AUDL Season Yet

The first pull of the 2020 American Ultimate Disc League season is fast approaching, and we honestly can’t wait for April 4 to get here. Some major developments took place during the off-season, so we put together a quick breakdown of all the important news you might have missed out on while hibernating and/or frolicking in the snow. Be sure to check out our AUDL Partner Store, and keep reading to find out what’s new, what’s changed, and why 2020 is gearing up to be the best year ever for the AUDL. 

Savage Ultimate AUDL GreenLine Jerseys Official Apparel Store

The AUDL is Getting New Uniforms and Going Green With Savage

In a groundbreaking partnership, Savage signed a three-year deal to become the official on-field apparel company of the AUDL, as well as the official apparel merchandise partner for the 2020-2022 seasons. 

What’s so great about that? For the first time in history, every team and every player in the AUDL will step onto the field wearing eco-friendly uniforms made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. Using Savage’s proprietary GreenLine fabric is just another big step in the AUDL’s commitment to being eco-conscious and reducing their carbon footprint. Other recent environmental efforts include the 50K Tree Planting Challenge, where the AUDL partnered with ForestPlanet to plant 20 trees for every fan through the gate during Championship Weekend, totaling 50,000 new trees planted. 

We’re thrilled to be working together toward reducing the environmental impact of Ultimate and bringing our new GreenLine fabric to the players and fans. The fabric is lightweight, sweat-wicking, antimicrobial, comfortable, and sublimation-friendly — plus it’s rated UPF 50+, the highest level of UV protection you can get from clothing. 

Switching over to GreenLine fabric is just part of why we’re so hyped about the uniforms this season. A whopping 14 teams will be debuting new and updated jersey designs this April. Montreal Royal, Austin Sol, NY Empire, Philadelphia Phoenix, Pittsburgh Thunderbirds, DC Breeze, San Jose Spiders, Atlanta Hustle, Minnesota Windchill, Dallas Roughnecks, Tampa Bay Cannons, San Diego Growlers, Indianapolis AlleyCats, and Boston Glory will all be taking the field in brand-new jerseys, with the rest of the teams following suit in the 2021 and 2022 seasons. 

Savage’s design staff spent a great many hours working with these teams on the designs for their new kits, and we can’t wait to see them in action. Fans can purchase authentic replica team jerseys now on sale in our brand-new Savage AUDL Partner Store. Order by March 12 to have your gear on game day.

Be sure to follow Savage on Facebook and Instagram, because we’ll have even more AUDL products rolling out throughout the season in the Savage AUDL Partner Store.

AUDL Boston Glory Official GreenLine Team Jersey On Sale Powered By Savage

 

Boston Glory Joins the AUDL

This year marks the first major expansion of the league since 2016, with the recent addition of Boston Glory, who will be joining the newly reconfigured East Division alongside the Montreal Royal, New York Empire, Ottawa Outlaws, and Toronto Rush. Boston is a city known for its passionate fans, top-tier athletes, and heated rivalries with NY teams, and we’re certain Glory will be no exception. 

The city has long been home to one of the best Ultimate communities in the world, and the Glory roster certainly includes some of Boston’s best, with plenty of handpicked locals who earned their spots through rigorous tryouts in the middle of a blizzard. Glory also scooped up some talented out-of-town players with early announcements last month that they had secured commitments from Tannor Johnson, Tyler Chan, and Henry Babcock.

While the bulk of the team is comprised of players making their first appearance in pro Ultimate, the Glory roster also includes four seasoned AUDL players: Maxwell Rick, Rusty Ingold-Smith, Davis Whitehead, and Brendan McCann, who played an incredibly impressive 2019 season with Minnesota Wind Chill, scoring the second-most points per game and showing off his effective D-line handling.

It’ll be interesting to see how all this amazing talent comes together and how the team matches up with the rest of the division, especially NY Empire. Boston-New York rivalries have long been notorious in the sports world, so we’re sure to see some major heat, intense gameplay, and certainly some smacktalk go down this season. On May 2, Empire and Glory will face off for the first time in history and we’ve already got our popcorn ready. Keep an eye on the Savage Blog for more on Boston Glory and why we’re so stoked to watch them play their first season.

AUDL 2020 Division Realignment: East West Midwest and New Atlantic Division

 

We’ll See A New Division Structure and Welcome the New Atlantic Division

Not only are we welcoming a new team this season, but we’re also welcoming the new Atlantic Division. With Boston joining the league, there’s been some major reshuffling of division alignment and an entire new Atlantic Division has been formed. The South has been dissolved and Austin and Dallas have been shipped out West. The Dallas Roughnecks have made it to Championship Weekend every season since the team first joined the league in 2016, so they’re definitely a force to be reckoned with, and we’re curious to see if they can continue this streak and claim their spot as the best of the West. 

Raleigh, Atlanta, and Tampa have moved over to the new Atlantic, where they will be joined by Pittsburgh from the Midwest, DC and Philadelphia from the East, and Tampa from the South. These new divisions should make for some memorable games this season.

AUDL Ultimate Frisbee Game of the Week Broadcast AUDL.tv Fox Sports 2 FS2 Roku

 

AUDL Signs Fox Sports 2 Deal

The AUDL recently announced that they’ve partnered up with Fox Sports 2 (FS2) for the next two years. This means that Fox will broadcast every AUDL Game of the Week throughout the 2020 and 2021 seasons — and that more people will be able to watch AUDL games than ever before. 

In 2018 and 2019, the AUDL’s Game of the Week partner was Stadium, and this new deal certainly is a major step up. FS2 reaches around 57 million homes each month compared to Stadium reaching around 25 million homes. Teaming up with a major sports network with a massive online following is a huge win, and hopefully, this expanded exposure will lead to an increase in people getting excited about and involved with this sport that we love so much. 

The AUDL Game of the Week program will air on Wednesday nights on FS2 throughout the 2020 season. The Game of the Week will also be streamed live on audl.tv and on the brand new AUDL Roku app that’s also slated to launch before the season starts. 

A new team, a new division, a new major broadcasting deal, and new eco-friendly uniforms featuring our exclusive eco-friendly GreenLine fabric are all huge changes for the 2020 AUDL season, and we couldn’t be more stoked for April 4. Stay tuned to the Savage Blog throughout the season for more AUDL coverage including interviews with Beau Kittredge, Khalif El-Salaam, Goose Helton, and more. 

Visit the AUDL Partner Store and get those orders in by March 12 to have your gear in time for game day!




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Savage's custom jersey production process, from start to finish

Savage's custom jersey production process, from start to finish

Ever wondered what really goes into making a custom Savage jersey? Or why the process takes 4-6 weeks? Unlike some of our competitors, we’re proud to handle every step of the process in-house, from design to production to shipping it to your doorstep. If you order custom Ultimate jerseys, disc golf gear, quidditch jerseys, or any other custom athletic apparel from Savage, this is what it takes for it to go from an idea in your head to a piece of apparel you can wear on the field.

Step 1: The Custom Jersey Ordering Process 

You’ll start by reaching out to sales@savageultimate.com with an idea for custom jerseys for you or your team. Our sales coordinator connects you with a member of our sales staff who will be your liaison for the entire ordering process. You’ll talk budget, timeline, and general needs, and we’ll officially get the ball rolling on your order.

Step 2: The Custom Jersey Design Process 

Every customer gets three free hours of design time included in their order, which is usually more than enough time to finalize your designs. This includes Team Marketplace orders. Having a good idea of the design you want, and quality art files, will speed up this stage of the process significantly. You’ll share your ideas and art files with your sales rep, who will communicate what you need to the Savage design team. There will be some back and forth to settle on the final design for your gear, which typically takes one to two weeks to reach final approval. This blog post has some tips for getting through the design stage as efficiently as possible.

Step 3: The Custom Apparel Production Process 

Once you’ve officially signed off on the design mock-ups for your gear, we pass the order over to our production department. While screen printed and spot sublimated orders are printed onto existing jersey and T-shirts, all fully sublimated gear is printed on our GreenLine fabric (made from 100% recycled bottles), then cut out and sewn up. After that, we pack up your order and send it on its merry way. 

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Fully Sublimated Jersey Sizing

Fully Sublimated Jersey Sizing

Trouble finding your fit? We’re here to help. 

Our fully-sublimated ('full sub') gear has slightly different sizing than our spot-sublimated and screen-printed gear. We thought it would help to show the most common sizes on different bodies. We’ll keep updating this post with more photos and sizes.

The Size Chart with measurements is available hereDon’t forget, you can always email us and ask about sizing if you need help.

Fit Tips:

Our fully sublimated short-sleeve jerseys, long-sleeve jerseys, and sun hoodies all have the exact same cut in the body.

If You're Between Sizes, we suggest ordering the bigger size for full sub jerseys. Some of our staff wear one size smaller for spot sub/screen printed gear, others wear the same size. In the photo above, Dan is wearing a Men's Large in both types of jerseys.

If You're Tall: If you're tall, you may need to size up for long sleeve jerseys. Jake, 6'2", wears a Men's L for short-sleeve jerseys and a Men's XL for long-sleeve jerseys.

Women's Cut: Our women's jerseys are more fitted than our men's cut. Some people prefer to wear men's jerseys. Our staff are split; you can see their honest opinions below our photos. 

Note if you're thinking about the different cuts: Women's jerseys are smaller than men's - we suggest sizing down one if you're going from women's to men's.  




Our thoughts on Men's vs Women's Cut jerseys:

Ariel, 5'7", female (wears a Men's S): For my body type, the women's cut is a little loose in the chest and very fitted in the hips. I prefer the men's cut for the way it fits and the smaller neckline. I also find it easier to tuck in; and personally, I think it makes me look more athletic.

Vega, 5'3", non-binary (wears a Women's M): I'm short and curvy, and the womxn's cut is really great for me. When I work out I almost always wear a Savage jersey (full subs and screen prints). If a men’s jersey fits at my chest it will have way too much fabric in the waist, but get stuck at my hips. Savage womxn’s jerseys actually fit over my hips, and I like the shorter cap-sleeves. The womxn's jersey is flattering and comfortable without being too fitted. 

Eug, 5'5", female (wears a Men's S): Since I have a more straight body type, I prefer to wear the men's sizes. I also like the men's sizing because I like my athletic gear to fit a little looser to avoid feeling limited in my movement. I feel that the men's fit is more versatile on my body and I can wear it relaxed and baggy or tuck it in when I need things to be more controlled. I occasionally will wear a women's size and while a medium fits me perfectly (tighter but comfortable fit all around), I prefer a women's large for the extra space. I appreciate the switch up, but can always rely on the men's small.

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Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month With Savage: The PinkLine

Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month With Savage: The PinkLine

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and Savage is going all in. $7 from every PinkLine jersey sold will go directly to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Custom PinkLine jerseys are available for your team. A portion of the profits from every online purchase and team order in October will also go to breast cancer research. 

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