Wildfire Scrimmages with Youth Players at GLUE’s Meltdown
This past weekend, the Chicago Wildfire was fortunate enough to make their way out to Rockford, Illinois for Great Lakes Ultimate Events’ (GLUE) spring high school and college tournament, The Meltdown. Teams from as far as Wisconsin traveled to compete in the two-day tournament sanctioned by USA Ultimate. While the weather provided wind, rain, freezing temperatures, and even fog, GLUE still prevailed in providing exactly what they’re known for-a quality tournament with everything included.
Saturday began with less than ideal conditions. Yet, as GLUE Founder and Tournament Director Nick Lindeke stated, Rockford provided the opportunity to continue play:
“The Meltdown went so well! We had some minor scheduling challenges with the rain delay, but thanks to the amazing turf fields in Rockford, we had no other issues from the weather. It was awesome to give players the opportunity to play under the lights and we did our best to make sure everyone had a great time.”
GLUE provided more than just an opportunity to play ultimate. While the wind and rain kept play conservative, the added fun and games began heating up as teams weathered the storm. There was the games tent, where you could find a group of players relaxing while they enjoyed a game of Mario Kart on a flat screen television. Next door you could find the food tent, where young players read about how to make ramen for the first time thanks to the boiling water that was provided. Mailboxes were provided throughout the complex to deposit spirit scores, while volunteers with horse masks picked them up and brought them back to tournament central. You could hear the parents laughing from across the concession stand.
Rockford even had fog in store for the College Women’s Division.
While the Wildfire provided support for the running Meltdown, GLUE invited the team to come out and practice while high school teams continued their round robin play. It was a rare opportunity for the students to share the same field with an AUDL team. Lindeke encouraged young players to join the Wildfire for a scrimmage after their Saturday games:
“I’m so glad that the Wildfire came out to The Meltdown! It was great to give the high school players an opportunity to play along side the professional team and have fun with them on the field. Both the high schoolers and the Wildfire players were all smiles during the game and I can’t wait to do it again next year! Also, the players were a huge help with setup at the tournament and brought great positivity on a cold rainy day.”
Wildfire scrimmaged with high school players from all over the region, including James Madison Memorial.
Thanks to GLUE, the Wildfire were able to come out and support youth ultimate, while also getting a chance to encourage Spirit of the Game and emphasize it’s importance within the community. The GLUE organization embodies and exudes the culture that makes Ultimate so unique. Spirit cards provided team captains the chance to reflect on other teams as well as themselves. Captains focused solely on spirit were not only required, but rewarded with spirit prizes at the end of Saturday’s games. Spirit circles could be found throughout the complex at any given time. Tournaments like The Meltdown provide rare opportunities for young players to play in quality settings, while also playing with a culture that promotes balanced competition and mutual respect. It was a thrilling weekend to be a part of, and the Wildfire look forward to the many other opportunities ahead.