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The Beginning of UVM Women's Ultimate

recalled by Kimo Shotz

Winter 1986. I was a sophomore, heading for my first women’s ice hockey practice. Pete Thomas (Team Chill, and Catamount Acapella singer) intercepted me in Mason and MADE me come to the men’s practice at the indoor track. He said there were a couple women who had arrived in town and wanted to get some UVM women playing. These women were: Heather Morris (now Morris-Raker a Hall of Fame former Tufts & early Boston Godiva player) and Gardner Powell (a Boston, Tufts player). Soon Betty Goodman (a Bucknell and earlier Boston Godiva player) came up to raise lots of trouble with them. Christine “Teens” Dunlap (a Hall of Fame Godiva player) showed up that night or the next- coaxed by her Gym Teacher Scottie Webb. She needed to take Ultimate for her final gym credit senior year or else she wouldn't graduate… talk about serendipitous! These women were “legends” of ultimate at that time, known nationally. Teens and I were honored and humbled. Teens and I were hooked from that night. The men were awesome, welcoming and helpful. A couple other UVM women joined in at some future practices. I feel terrible I can’t remember their names; there wern't many.

Heather, Betty and Gardner suggested we should go play at Easterns, UMASS. We went with 6 people! It was Heater, Betty, Gardner, Teens, Jen Sampou, another woman named Holly and myself. Heather’s knee was recovering from a car accident so she wasn’t really playing. Our name was 'Factory Seconds' and we wore Ben and Jerry’s Green Classic cow design shirts that said “Vermont’s Finest” on the back! Teens, Jen and I drove down together, in classic Groovy Uvee high-flying style. We went to this tourney, totally fired up, and then even more fired up once we actually saw what a huge deal (and huge party) it was; and the weather was unbeatable that weekend; gorgeous after a freezing Vermont winter.

We instantly got networked into the women’s Boston, D.C.,  and NYC scene because of our mentors, so we felt welcome, truly nurtured from the start. The first sign we saw that validated and spoke of our newfound passion was on the Shirts of NYC Survival players. It said “Play Ultimate of Die of Boredom” We looked at each other and smiled and said, “OMG, That’s it!!”

We played a pretty tough pool and got better and better the harder the teams were; scoring 0-13 the first game, then 3-13, then 6-13, then I think 10-13. We were laying out, going for broke. I think we played another tourney that season and changed our name to Rod’s and Rocks (ala our staples at the time). I only played a year with Teens- she had the nerve to graduate ON TIME and moved to play with NYC Survival, and later with Godiva. Heather moved back south to Boston and Gardner moved to Tempe, AZ. Betty remained our honorable mentor, thank her ever-loving goodbosom!

I started playing with the men again and slowly gathered women to start a team. Becky Kline, who was my year, started coming to practices and we decided to start a team. We designated ourselves captains. She did most of the real work administratively; I did the coaching and we got chartership that Spring. We went to seemingly many tourneys up and down the East coast before and since chartership, including Florida Frost Breaker for spring break. If we didn’t have enough women for a team bid we “whored” around with other teams, often makeing it to finals, or even winning tourneys.

We changed our name to Cool Runnings, a nod to our predominant practice and road trip music choice then. Chrissy Pratt, artist and player, designed out shirts. I guess that name stuck for a while. Burlington was a nothern mecca for reggae greats: Bob Marley, Burning Spear, Jimmy Cliff, Pablo Moses, Black Uhuru... we all went to all those. Our favorite post-practice hangouts were The OP for Rolling Rocks and Tacos and of course Nectar’s for Open Face turkey Sandwich and Mash.

We also went regularly to tourneys at Ithaca, UMass, and Purchase NY. I don’t think the team ever made it to Purple Valley at Williams- well, actually, Becky did.

After Becky graduated (on time) it was harder for me to hold the team together; she was the admin grudge-worker. So I played a lot with other teams when Cool Runnings wanted to stay in Burlington for “big parties.” One team I played with was called The Other Women, a team from Western Mass, during a time when the two Boston Teams were dominating Ultimate. We weren't so aggressive.