Ultimate dreams

Jessica Rockliff is reaching great heights as an ultimate Frisbee champ.

When not at her Vancouver office, it’s a pretty good bet you’ll find PwC audit manager Jessica Rockliff running after a Frisbee. She practises the emerging sport of ultimate — which was recently recognized by the International Olympic Committee — three times a week and does strength training twice a week, on top of playing competitive league games. And while the typical season for competitive play in Canada runs from

May to August, Rockliff says, “I’m one of those crazy people who play throughout fall and winter too.”

It’s that type of dedication that explains why Rockliff plays at the highest levels of competition. She has been a member of Traffic, a Vancouver women’s club team, for three years, travelling to competitions in the US and overseas. In 2014, the team placed fifth at the World Ultimate Club Championships in Italy and last summer, it won the Canadian Ultimate Championships in Winnipeg.

“Winning the Canadian nationals was a pretty special feeling,” she says. “There are nationals every year, but it’s only every four years that the winning team’s captain qualifies to choose Team Canada.” As one such member, Rockliff will play in the 2016 World Ultimate and Guts Championships in London, England, in June.

Rockliff could never have imagined how far she’d go with the sport when she was introduced to it at Windsor Secondary School in North Vancouver. “I had never even heard of it before,” she laughs. She went on to play in recreational leagues for the University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Ultimate League. “It was all just for fun and to stay active,” she says.

And maybe for love?

“My long-term boyfriend, Kevin Lore, also plays ultimate. We actually went to the same high school — he was the captain of our team,” she says. Today, they still throw the flying disc around together, on top of her already busy training and work schedule. “He’s incredibly supportive,” she says. “It’s all pretty demanding.”

But it’s worth it. Rockliff believes that playing ultimate Frisbee actually makes her a better CPA. “Playing at the competitive level requires teamwork, dedication, perseverance and being calm under pressure,” she says. “Every audit is done in teams, so all those same traits needed for ultimate are pretty key in my job.”

And will those traits help put Rockliff on the ultimate team that could one day be part of a future Olympic Games? “For me, if I can still run at that point,” she says, “that would be the ‘ultimate’ dream.”