In late 2016, we lost an amazing teammate, cherished friend, and beautiful person who had long been part of the NOISE family. Her heart gave out while coaching Ultimate. And now our hearts are broken as well.
Kelly first joined NOISE in 2011. She was considering a move to Madison so she made the five-hour commute from Champaign, Illinois for tryouts. When she was offered a spot on the team she made the commute several more times for practices before moving here later that summer. Her dedication and willingness to make personal sacrifice for the things and people she believes in was apparent from the first day we knew her.
Over the next five years, Kelly became the heart and soul of our team. She was passionate about NOISE and proud of our accomplishments. She worked hard to contribute to our goals and embody our team pillar of Game Respect Game. She pushed us to be better as teammates and opponents. She was driven to compete at the highest levels, yet she retained her sense of humor and her love of the goofier side of Ultimate. She battled hard on the field yet embraced her opponents after the game and built lasting friendships across many teams which deeply strengthened our bonds. She didn’t become reliable, fearless, loyal, and bold because she was good at Ultimate. She was good at Ultimate because she was already each of those things.
There are many things that make Kelly one of a kind: She never stopped yelling to support her teammates and you could hear her cheers from fields away. Monday after a tournament she would be hoarse and yet still full of smiles and laughter. She was not shy about her love for dancing and pop music. Perhaps most famously she was ubiquitous in her gold skirts, dresses, shorts, and jackets. She would regularly change from her team uniform into her golden wardrobe to lighten the mood or give our team a spark.
Ultimate was a big part of her life and yet she was so much more: a partner, a confidante, an artist, an animal lover, a shoulder to cry on, an advocate for fairness and justice, a daughter, a sister, and one of the best huggers of all time.
When Kelly moved to Seattle to start a new life with Henry a year ago her absence was felt, but we knew that her personality would help her quickly set new roots. And so she did. This loss hurts, but we draw strength from all the people who love Kelly and hope to give some strength back to anyone who is struggling with her loss.
Kelly, our hearts are full of golden memories and the desire to play and live by the standards you set. We will celebrate you, as we know you wouldn’t have it any other way.
Our deepest sympathy goes out to the Donovan and Arends families.
We love you, Kelly.