Ultimate frisbee is a young sport in India and has a close knit and vibrant community. My most precious memory was my first international tournament representing India in the 2015 Under 23 World Championship in London, it was India’s first fully funded campaign. We had an inspiring coach Dan Rule who built the team and trained the mixed team of 10 girls and 14 boys. It was numerous months of effort and we enjoyed playing together, we knew this was a chance to represent India internationally and had to do justice to this amazing opportunity.
We overcame multiple obstacles, including our visas being rejected close to the date of departure. There were tears and disappointment, but also laughter and support systems being built. That night at a team meeting Dan imparted an important message – that of gratefulness, and how the journey mattered more than the end result. But we finally had our visas accepted and travelled as one big family to London.
The whole community back in India was watching our match live. The nerves were high. Walking onto the field with India’s flag was a moment we would never forget. We played our hearts out and won India's first match 13-11 against Ireland. We went on to win the Spirit Award for the tournament among the 12 countries, also a sweet win as Srijan and I were the 'Spirit Captains' that year.
The team was special, chosen not solely on playing skills but also on personality and leadership. Every member of that U23 team went on to contribute significantly to various club teams across India, spreading this beautiful game. Personally I developed from being a shy introvert to being more outspoken, taking leadership responsibilities. I wanted to give back to my country and this sport,my leadership would help others discover this treasure-of-a-game we call – Ultimate Frisbee” -Maitreyi Ananth @maifeather in Instagram