Ultimate Frisbee, Pole Dancing, And A Big Misunderstanding

The SD Growlers are clearing up a halftime controversy

It is not commonly known but San Diego has a professional ultimate Frisbee team. On Saturday the San Diego Growlers lost to the Los Angeles Aviators 31-26 in the opening game of the 2017 American Ultimate Disc League season.

The result on the field was overshadowed by what happened on the Balboa Stadium sidelines at halftime.

Several pole dancers from Sexy Beast Fitness in San Diego performed their routines on portable poles in front of the stands. The athletes train and compete in pole dancing competitions and ended up at the game through a connection with the Growlers.

“Our trainer’s wife works at the dance studio,” said Growlers co-owner Justin Goodman. “He recommended these women would be interested in performing a choreographed routine showing off their fitness and strength. We thought, ‘That sounds like a good display of athleticism and we’d like to show it to our fans.’”


However, many of the spectators were unaware of what was going on and thought the Growlers decided to ask strippers to perform at halftime, provoking an immediate and harsh backlash on social media, something the disc team was surprised by.

“Obviously it’s been sort of a polarizing topic but we don’t want to alienate anyone and it was never our intent to offend anyone,” said Goodman. “In the end we wanted to give our fans a glimpse at an athletic performance. It was not a marketing ploy or a publicity stunt. We just wanted to entertain our fans in an interesting way it just came off the wrong way. If we offended anyone we apologize.”

Pole sports are a growing athletic endeavor worldwide and even have an official governing body, the International Pole Sports Federation. Goodman says he feels badly for the women who performed that got caught up in the outcry.

“They’re having to defend their sport that they compete at. There are national and world competitions for this but there is that stigma that is there for them. These women are not strippers. They are athletes performing.”

There was also one male on the pole. The athletic trainer himself trains on the pole and got up to perform. The Growlers next home game is Sunday, April 30 at 1:00 p.m. at Balboa Stadium against the San Francisco Flamethrowers. There will not be any pole exhibitions at halftime that day.

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