Ignite Phoenix Recap – My Personal Timeline From Fan To Presenter

Martha Schulzinger speaking about rugby at Ignite Phoenix 10
‎(CC) Devon Christopher Adams & @nooccar

Speaking at Ignite Phoenix 10 was a tremendous experience. I was already becoming an Ignite Phoenix groupie from my first Ignite Phoenix night experience — Ignite Phoenix 8 — but I needed to take the leap and become an Ignite Phoenix veteran.

Was It a Matter Of Time?

I had worked with Jeff Moriarty, one of the founders of Ignite Phoenix, as well as some Ignite Phoenix veterans: Dustin Diehl and Tina Perez. Jeff’s comments and their presence were reminders that I should share my passion with the fantastic community that is Ignite Phoenix.

This was also around the time that I had rediscovered rugby through the Tempe Women’s Rugby team. Some of the best girls I’ve had the pleasure to be on the pitch with. Things were coming full circle. Sorta.

I needed to actually submit to be a presenter. I can recall lying in bed with a real nasty head cold when the tweet went out that submissions were open. Thanks to a fellow rugby lover I had the title ready to go — “Why I Love It When My Hooker Gets The Ball. Why I Love Playing Rugby.” I put together a quick bio and description and it was fingers crossed from then on out. And after some Nyquil I was also out.

Several weeks went by and I had nearly forgotten about it. Then an email came and, oh crap, I actually got picked.

Time to Get Serious. Finally.

Procrastinating. That’s exactly what happened as I had the illusion of time, family in town and I was starting a new job. Legitimate excuses? Maybe, but I was still not writing, assembling or practicing my speech.

With maybe a week and a half to go, 50 notecards that tracked the progression from full sentences to keywords, I was feeling less jittery.


The Moment Has Arrived – Time to Talk to 853+ People

It was a full house. After all the running around from last minute ticket exchanges, materials needed to set up the speaker booth and seat arrangements for friends and family — all there was left to to do was wait. Wait and watch the other eight speakers present.

I’m not even sure what I said. I strayed from the script, but not badly. But the crowd, the Ignite Phoenix crowd, is so fantastic that it doesn’t matter. They responded to my questions and were eager to learn about why rugby is so awesome.

Littlest Martha at Ignite Phoenix 10
(CC) Devon Christopher Adams & @nooccar

But the secondary tactic might have also been at play — distract the audience with bright blue sexy shoes.

Truthfully, I’m grateful. I’m grateful that this event goes on. I’ve learned so much from other people’s passions and am honored to have been able to share my own passion. I’ve made further connections that I hope can turn in to friendships.

Ignite Phoenix or Ignite [Your Town]

If you’ve not been to Ignite Phoenix – you need to go. Ignite Phoenix 11 is October 28. Fair warning now: When they announce tickets are on sale, buy them that day as they will sell out. And usually that same day.

Not in the Valley? Find an Ignite near you and get involved. You’ll be glad you did.


How Not To Write Your Ignite Phoenix Presentation

So I started with the best intentions. I wanted to get the ol’ creative juices flowing and I thought I would share with you how my practice on Tuesday went, which I’m still feeling now. (My legs look like a thoroughbred’s — good thing? I don’t know either.)

But this latest practice was for Sevens Rugby or Rugby Sevens. See, I’m not quite sure myself. I’ve never played Sevens.

The plan was to do a little research, whip up a quick post and then be on my way with said presentation. My search began with YouTube as I wanted to show you the difference between Sevens and what I’ll call “regular rugby.” I found some decent footage and then I found the greatest (and I’m not being sarcastic when I say this), the greatest time suck. Ever.

This little gem here:

Did you give the video just a quick cursory glance? Then look again. Something just isn’t right. Why are there men in the background wearing full on Lycra exercise outfits and waving pom poms?

Of course I was intrigued and I clicked to the guineapigs’s channel — I even subscribed! — and watched all 55 videos. And like that, two hours were gone. Wasted? I think not.

Do you call this video a waste? Surely not. Look at those determined faces!

Or, not. Perhaps this humor wasn’t for everyone as I found that the Human Guinea Pigs only made it through two seasons (and the first season was rough — or the clips that made it on to YouTube). Nonetheless, my heart and my attention span went to the “pigs” as they were subjected to cruel and unusual punishments.

Bias Alert: I realized that I’ve always hated Jackass. Perhaps because they did the pranks to themselves. Or perhaps I like the “pigs” because as the videos will show they’re being subjected to experiments and not always sure why (playing that victim card). Or, maybe it has something to do with their accents. Or maybe I’m becoming aware of the potential that in another life I was a frat boy.

Either way, I can’t invest any more time to it. But you can! Check out these fantastic time-sucking videos and I’ll go and finish my presentation.

This time sans YouTube.