We've seen a lot of questions and discussion about the Cascades Cup since our announcement at the beginning of the month. The Cascades value the input of the ultimate community and opportunities to promote discussion about the Cascades Mission and Values. Our General Manager, Xtehn Titcomb has written some responses to some of the questions and concerns that have been voiced by the community. Be sure to check out the original press release to learn more about the Cascades Cup.
What will the gender ratio on the field be?
Our plan is to play each quarter, in alternation, with four of one gender and three of the other. The order will be determined by whoever wins the coin toss.
What field size? What rule set? Will the game be played with refs?
We’ll play the Cascades Cup on an AUDL field with AUDL rules and referees.
Why do try outs conflict with long-established women's events like DiscNW's Women's Winter league?
Due to a couple other large Seattle sports organizations that also use our venue (Memorial Stadium), we had to fit our two tryout weekends within a pre-existing schedule. In other words, the only availability was Friday night and Saturday morning. This was the case in 2015 and 2016, so it’s the third year in a row that we’ve followed this Fri/Sat tryout schedule. In fact, it’s becoming sort of a tradition.
In order to compensate for the late notice and to allow women to attend DiscNW Women’s Winter League, we kept the tryout attendance requirement as low as possible for women: attend one or more of these four dates (Feb 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th). Two weeks later, the final (invite only) tryout will take place on Feb 23rd.
Our expectation for men is full attendance at our Feb 3 & 4 Combine, and Feb 10 & 11 Tryouts if they make the semi-final cut. The male-identified players who make the Cascades roster will be announced by Feb 20th.
If the AUDL, the Seattle Cascades, or the San Francisco FlameThrowers value women players as much as they say they do, why won't the women on these rosters play throughout the AUDL season?
I can speak officially on behalf of the Cascades, and offer some intuition on behalf of the other AUDL owners. It’s also worth considering the perspectives of AUDL Council Member, Rob Lloyd and AUDL Commisioner, Steve Gordon, who are thinking about the AUDL on a many-years time scale.
The AUDL was created and is being cultivated under the mission to “showcase the sport being played at its highest level.” Every team in the league is a franchise that subscribes to the same AUDL Operations Manual and AUDL Bylaws. Beyond that, we are encouraged to run our individual teams the way we please. This is why you see very different mission statements from team to team... and in the case of Seattle, a set of mission & values that speaks to community, athletic excellence, and gender equity.
[* The following paragraph has been edited; refer to the version below. 2/14, 5pm, XT] The reason the Cascades are not putting women on the field for the entire AUDL season is because this would not line up with the mission and intentions of the AUDL as a whole. Instead, we’re putting women on the field for 1-2 unofficial games in order to tangibly promote women in ultimate. We see this as a step in the positive direction, and by all means not the only/final step we will take to move the needle on gender equity. In fact, this is just the beginning. Whether it’s under the AUDL brand or elsewhere, we have a lot more work to do.
* We're showcasing women and men at the Cascades Cup in order show that women also demonstrate the highest level of the sport. We see this as a step in the positive direction, but by all means not the only/final step we will take to move the needle on gender equity. In fact, this is just the beginning. The way we see it, there is a lot more work to do!
What will the AUDL do if these "exhibition games" are better attended/viewed than regular season games?
Good question. The AUDL consists of 24 teams, and I imagine each ownership group will react in a different way. I, for one, will be excited to see all the attention/coverage that female athletes will be getting. Also, I’ll be curious to compare the fan demographics at “exhibition games” with who attends regular season AUDL games.
What will you do? What will the entrepreneurial minds around the country/world do?
This is not enough. Put women on the field, pay them as much as you'd pay a male player, and make it count towards the team's W/L record.
This is not enough, but it’s what we’re capable of doing this year. While the Cascades Cup is not part of our regular season games, we are paying women and men the same amount for 2017 season.
Why aren’t elite players joining the AUDL to promote change from within?
Many top level players are playing for AUDL teams and shaping the future of the league by building relationships with teammates, managers, and owners. In fact, the majority of AUDL players around the country also play for USAU Ultimate Club Championships level teams.
While I find this question provocative, I would prefer to discuss the question, “what do top level players like about the AUDL and what do they want to change?” Here's my take:
I’m Xtehn Titcomb and I’ve played top-level ultimate with Chicago Machine (USAU), Seattle Sockeye (USAU), Seattle Rainmakers (MLU), and Seattle Cascades (AUDL). I like the pace of the the game that referees enforce, and I like the opportunity to overrule foul calls with the Integrity Rule. I would like to see widespread and consistent acknowledgement from the players that we are in control of the behavior and resulting sportsmanship that occurs within AUDL games. I’d like for every team management group to do a mandatory “arbitration workshop” that addresses these issues head-on with the players. I like the high level of competition that we have at games, and the impact that it has on the growth/reach of our sport. I would like to change the awareness level of players, staff, and fans with respect to gender, race, and class privilege. I think that AUDL owners are in position to promote “healthy masculinity” during the season and take measures to combat sexism. On these topics, I would like to see more discussion between players, management, and owners. I like that we have two female owners of the Seattle Cascades, and that they play an instrumental role in directing our vision, our strategic planning, and our fiscal management. I would like to see more women in leadership positions in other AUDL cities. I like the way the Commissioner (Steve Gordon) and AUDL Council (Andrew Zill, Don Grage, Jean-Levy Champagne, Steve Hall, Tim Debyl) support and care for the various teams around the country, but I’d like to see other team owners step up and become more involved in issues that impact the league and the sport as a whole.