BE Ultimate sponsored athlete
by BE Ultimate
or Dena Elimelech, the time off from ultimate during quarantine has been a welcome opportunity to learn new skills. An artist by birthright, with parents involved in fine arts and fashion design, Dena has used the break from the field to reconnect with her old passions, taking up print-making and sketching. The UCSD player has far from given up on ultimate—quite the contrary—but being forced to step back from the field has come with some unexpected boons. It has acted as a forceful reminder of how much Dena thrives off of competition and how good it feels to push herself to the limits, something that she can’t quite do in training.
“Usually I’d be playing frisbee on the weekends, or pickup in the evenings, but now that I have a lot of free time I’m just going back to old passions.”
The time off has meant a distinct shift in free time for Dena. It was a hard lesson to learn for someone so dedicated to the sport, but a good one nonetheless. With much more time on her hands, the California resident took up a wide range of activities, including baking sourdough and hiking. More than anything though, Dena got back to art. It’s an excellent reminder that there’s a world outside of ultimate, no matter how excellent a player is. Art has taken a bigger role in Dena’s life not only has a hobby but potentially as a change in career direction. She hasn’t decided if the chance to take up her passions again will mean a new future, but she feels that it has already been worth it to re-hone those skills.
“Now that I have a little bit more free time I’m learning to fill it better.”
Dena has maintained her training as well. Putting in daily workouts thanks to Haddock Sport Performance means staying in top shape, despite the lack of competitive opportunities. Dena enjoys the physical activity, and sticking to a schedule has helped her maintain a consistent routine while everything else in the world seems to toss and turn, but she misses the thrill of competition. Chasing down static cones just isn’t the same as making a universe point end zone bid on a disc. It’s a strange in-between time for ultimate players and all athletes, and Dena recommends doing something you enjoy to stay active until games begin to open back up. It’s been a difficult period, and there’s no reason to add more stress, especially while tournaments are still cancelled. If you’re going to stay healthy, you might as well enjoy doing it.
“[I've] been working out regularly, but now it’s more for enjoyment, how my body feels, and I enjoy physical activity, so that’s been good.”
The pandemic has been hard, but Dena is an excellent reminder of the light that can be found even in dark places. Sure, ultimate was cancelled for at least a year, but it presented the opportunity for growth in other places. Dena is using the time to make sure that she is heading in the direction she wants to be in life. Whether it’s pursuing beautiful art or professional forestry services off the field, Dena has no plans to slow down on the field once tournaments open back up. Her goals for ultimate remain the same as they were before lockdown: To play at an elite level. To gain even greater field knowledge and strategic awareness, to add to an already impressive repertoire of talents. To play on a team at worlds. To play ultimate for a very long time.
“I thrive off of the competition. I realized that during field workouts I can’t really go 100% like I would in a game.”