By Peter LaVoie, Board Chair and Tournament Coordinator
Every year around the third weekend in May, hundreds of players, coaches, volunteers, and spectators gather for the annual Chris Goeke Memorial Ultimate Tournament. The Goeke Memorial draws top teams from across Minnesota in the growing sport of Ultimate (formerly known as ultimate frisbee) to compete for fun, for glory, and for one of the coveted wooden disc trophies. It has become a mainstay in the Minnesota Ultimate calendar.
The first Goeke Memorial was held in 2011. After Lt. Goeke was killed in action while serving with the US Army in Afghanistan, his friends and family wanted to honor his legacy. Chris had played Ultimate at Apple Valley High School in the days before it was recognized as a club sport, and sponsoring a tournament in his honor was a natural choice. Over the past decade, the Goeke Memorial has raised thousands of dollars to fund scholarship awards to graduating high school seniors who display outstanding leadership qualities. These are awarded by the Warrior 196 Leadership Foundation, the event's sponsor. The tournament has also introduced its many attendees to the legacy of Chris Goeke, a man whose extraordinary character continues to influence those lucky enough to have known him and those who hear his story.
Chris was a renaissance man, equally adept at reading literature, playing his drum kit, or throwing a frisbee. He loved to explore difficult questions of philosophy and religion, and always tried to understand the world and the people in it. As a student, Chris was smart and inquisitive. As an athlete, he was a top performer who loved physical fitness and hard work. As a man, he was guided by his deeply-considered faith and his love for his wife and family. In honor of Chris, the tournament's motto is Mind, Body, Spirit; three words that describe his values. Each May, as volunteers set out field cones and fill water jugs, as teams arrive full of anticipation and spirit, as spectators cheer on the players, we again get the opportunity to connect with Chris Goeke's legacy. Some of us remember the man we knew. Others are inspired by the stories of Chris and the passion of his supporters. Chris keeps on giving, and his legacy thrives.
Join us May 21-22, 2022 at Aronson Park in Lakeville, Minnesota to connect with the Warrior 196 Leadership Foundation and to watch some top class Ultimate! If you would like to volunteer or your group would like to sponsor the tournament, please reach out to Pete LaVoie.