Tosa East Creates Girls’ and Non-Binary Students’ Ultimate Frisbee Team

Abbigail Schell, East Staff Writer

Francis Kelley, teacher of Project Lead the Way and engineering courses at East, decided to start a girls’ and non-binary students’ ultimate frisbee team with the help of his students. This club has been in planning for the past 2 years. Now, after being delayed by Covid-19, Mr. Kelley has finally been able to bring it to life. This is the first club that officially includes those who identify as non-binary.

Mr. Kelley has been involved in ultimate frisbee for a total 23 years, coaching high school for 10 of them.

“People who are good at Ultimate are willing to learn, support other teammates, and are open to trying new things. Notice nowhere on that list is runs faster than 11 seconds in the 100 meter dash or is 7 foot 2,” Kelley said. 

Mr. Kelley is committed to creating a welcoming environment.

“I want as many people to find the joy I found with Ultimate as possible, and I hope our experience will influence others,” he said. “It’s important that our Ultimate community looks like our school community, not hard for people to access. This club hopes to guide East towards a more inclusive and supporting community for LGBTQ+ students,” he added.

The first meeting took place on Wednesday, January 19th. A total of 26 people showed up. The meeting included information on the sport, joining, and more about Coach Kelley. Availability is very flexible for anyone interested. Practices take place twice a night indoors, starting in February. 

As there are not a lot of other local frisbee teams, the East team will have to attend short travel tournaments and the weekends and may even host their own. Over Memorial Weekend there will be a big State Championship for the sports team. 

Overall, Kelley wants to achieve a place where everyone is welcomed, challenged, willing to learn, supportive of their teammates, and open to trying new things. Nobody has to be experienced in Ultimate Frisbee to be able to join the team and have a good time.