Ultimate Canada Magazine – February 28, 2019

Black History Month takes place in Canada every February. Canadians are invited to participate in Black History Month festivities and events that honour the legacy of Black Canadians, past and present. You can find more information about the month here.

This profile features Kim Davidson, an avid member of the Toronto community who has competed at WMUCC 2018 and most recently won gold at CUC 2018 with Forever 31.

Ultimate Canada: How did you get started in Ultimate?

Davidson throws for the score. Photo/Ed Kung

Kim Davidson: I first started playing Ultimate while I was doing a summer internship in Washington DC prior to my final year of University. The organization I was working for had a team in a rec league and one of my colleagues asked if I was interested in playing. All it took was one game and I was hooked! Soon after I returned home I started playing in a local sport and social club, and a few years after that I moved on to play in the Toronto Ultimate Club. Since then, Ultimate has pretty much been an integral part of my life.

UC: How has your experience been, being a player of colour in the community?

Celebrating gold at CUC2018 with Forever 31 teammates – friends for over a decade! Photo/Courtesy of Kim Davidson

KD: My own personal experience has been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve been fortunate to play on Ultimate teams not just in Canada but all over the world, and I can’t recall a time where I’ve had an overtly negative experience due to my skin colour. If anything, I think that people who don’t know me might automatically assume I’m a way better athlete than I actually am because of my skin colour, but at the end of the day it’s not my responsibility to meet other people’s expectations of me – only my own. When you’re the “only one” on a team or on the field, you can’t help but feel like you always stand out, whether you want to or not.

UC: Do you have any thoughts on how we can increase participation from the Black community in Ultimate?

Davidson competed with Bingo and Chill at WMUCC 2018 in Winnipeg. Photo/Louis-Philippe Blouin

KD: Even since I started playing, I have half-joked that I would love to put together a league team with all Black players on it – the problem being that I’ve never known enough other Black players to field more than a single line, let alone a full roster. So this is a question that I have contemplated for some time. I think an effective way to bring change is to make even more of an effort to bring Ultimate into the mainstream, especially through targeting youth. As a teacher at an inner-city school in Toronto, I have worked hard to promote Ultimate as a competitive sport at the elementary school level through convening tournaments and offering support for other coaches in neighbouring schools. Unfortunately, currently there’s not really much opportunity for these kids to play outside of school unless they have parents willing to drive them well out of their own neighbourhoods. I would love to see youth leagues, or even just clinics, offered in a more diverse range of communities.

Davidson makes a reaching grab in the end zone. Photo/Ed Kung

UC: Do you have anything else you would like to add?

KD: I wouldn’t have the amazing opportunities I’ve had playing Ultimate if I didn’t have people who took the time to support and encourage me, and I strive to pay it forward when I can. When you don’t see many faces that look like yours in a space, that’s when self-doubt can creep in and make you question whether or not you belong. Don’t be afraid to be that person to tap someone else on the shoulder and say, “Hey, we’d love for you to come and play on our team” or “You should go to that team’s tryout”. It might not seem like a big deal to you, but it could mean the world to someone else.