Sarah

I tell people all the time that to know truly know a place — to know a people, a culture, a community — you need to be there, physically present in that place.

In early 2012 I was pulled in to Ultimate Peace. I had known about the organization for years, but I crested over a certain tipping point to a summer’s worth of commitment due to conversations with old friends. I remember standing in a frozen parking lot, running practice for my HS team and making the full realization that I was going to see Ultimate Peace Camp in action. I was excited.

Without having been able to by physically present at Camp, my belief in the organization hadn’t been fully formed. But it was on it’s way due to everything I had heard from old friends, and from one video I had seen in particular:

That woman. Speaking at the beginning of the video. What she was saying was so important, so well spoken. What she said pulled me towards full belief in Ultimate Peace. But I wasn’t there yet.

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I made it out to camp and started to meet my new family. I met Tomer and Karym, two people for whom I would do anything. Abe, and the rest of the local UP coaches for whom UP is a year-round, continual devotion. All people who immediately earned my complete respect. The kids. The kids who are the reason we do what we do, and who make it so. dang. worth it.

That first summer I shared a room with Abe. And then Sarah joined us.

I saw Sarah work with her teams. Watched her team win one of the week’s tournaments with a diving layout. Watched Sarah drive so, so many positive UP events and experiences. To me though, on a personal level, my most valuable Sarah experiences were our dorm room conversations. In our spare moments, in the glow of total UP exhaustion, we would talk about life, the world, and everything. We talked about why we did what we did, and why it was the perfect thing to do.

I was there. Because of Sarah, I believed in Ultimate Peace. I knew Ultimate Peace.

For that, and everything else Sarah gave me, I will forever be grateful.

Thank you Sarah.

In these moments, I find myself focusing on how someone is never, every truly gone. That is especially true about Sarah, someone who had such a large, everlasting impact on so, so many people.

Here’s a word cloud generated from all the text left on her Facebook wall since her passing:

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The full resolution file for that image can be downloaded right here.

Here is the above photo of Sarah filled in as a photo mosaic based on 3,400 photos taken at Ultimate Peace Camp 2013:

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The full resolution file for that image can be downloaded right here.

Last, here is a video of the creation of the above photo mosaic, with audio from the UP video in which I first saw Sarah:

Thank You Sarah

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