The Seattle Rainmakers are excited to announce that a preseason game will take place at Renton Memorial Stadium on Sunday, April 7th at 3:00 pm.
But this announcement comes with a twist. Allow me to set the stage…
The Rainmakers-Stags preseason opener was originally going to be invite-only, giving the operations staff a chance to ease into the season with a smaller and more controlled environment. Said Assistant General Manager Gemma Pérez, “There were some concerns to open it to the public because we felt we might not be ready, but we’ve decided to open it to everyone because we are using it for something bigger than just the Rainmakers.”
But last week Rainmakers D-line cutter Sam Harkness was able to catch a glimpse of a match between the Nathan Hale and Franklin High School women’s Ultimate teams. “Not only did I find myself impressed,” he said, “but also inspired, which is a strange feeling to have when you’re stepping up into the role of ‘professional athlete,’ being inspired and motivated by the passion and determination two high school girls’ teams are playing with. It was awesome though: bids everywhere, cross-field hammers to break zones, boxing out battles in the endzone.”
“Not only was the play sweet,” Harkness continued, “but you can actually just visualize all of them being the captains of their college teams come senior year. Their leadership skills are limitless and well-nurtured, thanks to a lot of the coaches out there putting in the effort. Imagine in four years having 16 Riot/Fury level teams in the women’s division, that’s the change these girls could have on the sport.”
So much of Ultimate has been grassroots-based: less about money and fame, more about Spirit of the Game. MLU even evolved their financial incentives to reflect this sentiment, and the Rainmakers are poised to follow suit.
The Rainmakers staff recently sent a message to 200 youth Ultimate coaches and coordinators to garner support. Here’s a relevant excerpt:
With the inaugural season just around the corner, the Rainmakers are striving to create a lasting positive impact on the youth Ultimate scene in Seattle. A primary goal of Major League Ultimate is to expose Ultimate to more people in an effort to help the sport grow. We want to assist the amazing programs that youth coaches and organizers in Seattle are putting forth by showcasing the hard work and dedication that our players put into the sport, providing opportunities for youth to learn from the city’s elite Ultimate talent, and producing a platform for youth teams to network and grow. Many of the Rainmakers got their Ultimate careers started right here in the Seattle youth scene, and we want to show our support by giving back to this invaluable community…starting this Sunday, April 7th!
Admittance to the April 7th preseason game will be free and open to the public, but there will be a table set up inside the stadium where the Franklin HS women’s team will be accepting donations. We hope you’ll stop by and give them your support in whatever way you can. We encourage you to check out their website and chip in there too if you’re able. If you can’t, we hope that you’ll show your support in some other way, and be sure to cheer them on as they lay a major beat down on the east coast teams at the Amherst Invitational in Massachusetts on May 4-5.
Think of this Sunday as a last dress rehearsal before the start of the season, when the crowds fill Chief Sealth Stadium to take on the Vancouver Nighthawks later this month.
“It’s just a taste and a test,” said Pérez. “People will have to wait for April 20th for the full show. But why try to hide a game with some of the best players in the world?”
So while the halftime entertainment may not be top-notch quite yet, the Rainmakers are ready to strut their stuff. This preseason matchup, celebrating the youth scene of Seattle’s Ultimate community, will be held at Renton Memorial Stadium (406 Logan Avenue North, Renton, WA 98055). The pull against the Portland Stags goes up at 3:00 pm, but fans are encouraged to show up half an hour early to participate in games, a raffle and more. Come enjoy the game and pitch in to help the Franklin High School women’s team get to Amherst so that Ultimate, this sport of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.