Coaches Ron Colon III and Josh Blumkin, who have been teammates for years, have always wanted to give back to the ultimate community that they have fallen in love with.
Both loved the idea of spreading our awesome sport and aiding in its growth, especially at the youth level. They saw the perfect opportunity with two inner city high schools, Douglass and Monroe. The two friends were talking one night at winter league, when Blumkin told Colon he thought it would be great if he could start a team at the school he worked at, Douglass high school.
“I told him I thought the same thing, but I wasn't ready to do it this year,” said Colon, who works at Monroe. “Josh looked at me and said what if we combine would you then? I agreed and we both went all in to make it happen.”
In order to get kids interested in joining the team, Colon walked all around his school (Monroe high school) with a Frisbee in his hand and sat with students in the cafeteria while showing them highlight videos of the sport. Colon also got the kids excited by telling them they would be the first ever team from their school. He then followed by asking other coaches of other teams to encourage their students to join.
“Our first week of practice we had four kids. Week two, I was excited when we had eight and by the end of the season we always had at least 12 kids at every practice,” Colon continued. “Originally the practices were only planned two times a week, but the players asked for more and we ended up practicing three to four times a week.”
The logo for the DougRoe Flow jerseys was inspired by one of the students work and the kids were beyond excited when they heard they were getting uniforms.
“The minute the team heard that we were getting jerseys they were asking all the time if they had come in yet,” said Colon.
DougRoe received their jerseys on the sidelines of their final game of the season and their enthusiasm was evident. The team went on to win the game decked out in their new gear and were so proud of their achievement that they all wore their new Taïga jerseys to school the next day.
It is difficult for young athletes to find the funds for something like jerseys and receiving them was a big bonding moment for the players. Jerseys for these kids also helped to unify the two schools as they combined to make one team.
“I think as coaches and as a team we succeeded in what we wanted to do,” Colon explained. “We offered students an after-school activity that was fun, safe, and positive. We used ultimate to teach them how to discuss disagreements, learn the value of a team, and make better decisions.”
Coaches Colon and Blumkin credit a lot of the success of this new program to the outstanding support from the ultimate community. The jersey donations from Taïga, as well as the help of the GRADA (Rochester Ultimate Community) who stepped up to help donate money, practice discs for players, post-practice food, cleats, and bus, passes for transportation.
“This experience to me was proof that ultimate is more than a sport, it’s a community that helps each other and I am so proud to be a part of it, but even more proud that I have got to introduced some new children it.”