Sports can be a powerful thing.
We see it every day in every sport — athletes going beyond their limits to achieve ultimate goals.
Growing up on the Sunshine Coast, Danie Proby played a lot of sports through high school and was a star player on the Elphinstone Secondary School senior girls basketball team. She was introduced to the sport of Ultimate Frisbee and credits that introduction to the sport on the Coast for continuing to play and continuing on an athletic journey at the University of Victoria.
After five years of playing at UVic and four as team captain, Proby recently helped lead the team to the national championships in Ohio.
UVic finished with a record of 3-2, a very respectable showing, and just missed out on qualifying for the playoffs. Out of 200 teams that competed, only 20 made it to nationals. UVic and the University of British Columbia were the only two Canadian teams at the event.
The UVic team has gone from being ranked 224th in the U.S. Ultimate college rankings to 11th as it attended nationals for the first time in the school’s history.
“This sport is so incredible in so many ways,” Proby said. “It is self-governed [no referees], which teaches the players to conduct themselves in a respectful and spirited manner. The sport is pretty powerful in that it teaches you so many things about respect, discipline, conduct, manners. After my rookie year at UVic, I was named team captain. We just all kept working and working and making the program here bigger and better. We went from having one team and struggling to get players to even come out and scrimmage to having an A and B team. To be team captain and lead the team to nationals this year was a huge honour. It’s a dream come true and a perfect way to end my university career.”
And the UVic Ultimate experience is only part of Proby’s story.
This week she is travelling to Israel to work with kids from different religious backgrounds in a camp teaching them conflict resolution strategies using Ultimate Frisbee (called Ultimate Peace). She will fly into Tel Aviv and will work at the camp outside the city.
“It’s an amazing cause,” she said. “I’ve been working towards this for several years now, and when my application was accepted, I was over the moon.”
Proby will serve as the videographer for the camp and is going with a friend, now living in Victoria, who also played Ultimate at UVic.
“If things go well, I might be going back next year and we might also be working on a documentary film about the experience,” she said. “It’s just amazing. I would never have dreamed that playing Ultimate Frisbee would give me an opportunity like this.”
Proby will graduate this year with a degree in physical education, and she wants to pursue her masters in leadership and coaching.
“There is nothing wrong with being a physical education teacher, but I think I’m meant to do more,” she said. “I want to work with under-privileged kids and show them that through sports, you can be a part of something positive, something amazing. Being dedicated to sports, I found a family, a community. I have never experienced anything like it. Sports can be powerful.”
© Coast Reporter