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Callahan Scholarship

Chicago Ultimate Training is proud to offer two scholarships to CUT Camp 2013! These Callahan Scholarships come from the Henry Pfau Callahan Memorial Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to youth, recreational, and educational activities. We are extremely appreciative of the Callahan family and of the organization to help support sending youth players to a great camp such as CUT Camp. These scholarships are for any youth Ultimate player (8th-12th grade) that is interested in attending CUT Camp but is struggling financially to afford attending. Read below to learn about Henry Callahan and the application process. 

Application Process

The purpose of this scholarship to offer any youth Ultimate player the opportunity to attend CUT Camp, an overnight Ultimate summer camp, that otherwise may not be able to afford it. This scholarship is for any youth Ultimate player in grades 8-12, boy or girl, that needs financial assistance to attend the camp. In order to receive this scholarship, you must be able to attend one of the given weeks of CUT Camp 2013. The scholarship only covers the registration fee for CUT Camp and not any traveling expenses to get to and from the camp. To apply for this scholarship, read Henry Callahan's story below and click on the application link. The deadline for applications is February 15th. The announcement of the two winners of the scholarships will be made by early March. 

Henry Pfau Callahan (1957-1982)

Henry Callahan (1957–1982) was a player and an ambassador of Ultimate. He represented everything that the game was about, character, sportsmanship, and dedication among others.

Henry was born on December 11th, 1957, in Waukegan, Illinois. His mother and father were Joan and Harold Callahan. Henry was the youngest of 4 boys (Joe, Pete, Jay, and Henry) and he also had 1 older sister (Melissa) and 3 younger ones (Charlotte, Shelagh, and Amy). He attended Lake Forest Academy, in Lake Forest, Illinois for high school and graduated in 1975. Henry was a standout athlete in high school and loved basketball, long distance running, and golf. In addition to being very athletic, Henry was also extremely independent. His mother, Joan, lovingly referred to Henry as always being a "free spirit". Rather than attend the University of Illinois, as most of his family had, he headed westward and attended the University of Oregon, in Eugene. As a student at U of O, Henry studied Finance and was drawn to sports of all kinds as he had a competitive nature.

Henry came across the game of Ultimate while at the University of Oregon. With skills in basketball, golf and long distance running, it is no wonder he liked disc. It takes skill, patience, talent, endurance and athleticism, things Henry had stockpiled in his closet. In any event, at this point in the late 70's there was only one other college Ultimate team in the Northwest, Washington State University. This was insufficient for Henry and he took it upon himself to start the first Ultimate Club at the University of Oregon. He pitched the idea to the club sports office at UO and on October 5th, 1978, the first Oregon Ultimate club was born and the team was given $300. The next task was to come up with a team name and Henry and his disc friends quickly settled on the "Low Flying Ducks". A name which Oregon loosely held onto until 2001 when they went from the Ducks to a name better suited for an elite but sophisticated group, the "Eugene Gentlemen's Organization" or EGO. In addition to this, Henry also made some pretty powerful friends and convinced a young entrepreneur in Phil Knight to donate $10,000 to this new team as a sponsor. EGO still wears this sponsor's logo today, you might recognize it as a NIKE swoosh.

It was after this formation of Oregon Ultimate that Henry really began to impact Ultimate. He knew the potential for this game and he wanted to see it come to fruition. He had a vision of an intensely athletic, albeit spirited game that should be played in parks and college campuses throughout the country. He began to lobby the Ultimate Players Association (UPA) to change the rules of the game to favor more athletic and fair play. At this point in time, things like a stall count were non-existent or loosely followed at best and Henry wanted to accelerate the game and make it more challenging yet more fun. Another thing that was fantastic about Henry was his commitment to "spirit of the game", perhaps when SOTG wasn't even that well known. He was notorious for playing extremely intensely, yet he never contested fouls. His belief in the game was that "karma will play out here."

In addition to lobbying the UPA, Henry also worked tirelessly to improve not only his own game (with daily 7 mile runs and more sprints than his team mates would have liked) but he also wanted to expand the sport around him. He started and taught Ultimate PE courses at Oregon, and these still exist today. He is also credited with starting the Darkstar Alliance, which has been an Ultimate organization that has lasted for many years and is responsible for putting on tournaments in Eugene as well as competing in both open and coed club tournaments. Henry thought that "the nature of the game brings out the cooperation in people." Even 30 years ago, people competed against one another but they still wanted to "have a good time and meet new friends." Henry always encouraged his teammates as well as his opponents to go out after games and really be friends as well as competitors. This camaraderie still exists today and most people in the Ultimate community have come from playing intense physical contests between opponents and then celebrating our mutual love for the game afterwards.

After graduating from Oregon in 1980, Henry returned to his roots in Illinois but only as a pit stop. Henry was a free spirit and wanted a change of scenery. After a brief stint in Waukegan, Illinois, he headed back west towards California. In January of 1982, he stopped to visit his older brother James, in Boulder, Colorado. Henry fell in love with Boulder. The urban yet small town feel and beautiful scenery probably rivaled Eugene and Henry found his calling. He decided to stay in Colorado and he took a job at Bennigan's Tavern. This was not his most lucrative option, seeing that he was offered a job at a more "upscale" restaurant (The Greenbriar). However, Henry was very light hearted and figured Bennigan's would "be more fun". Given his charismatic yet friendly nature, Henry quickly moved up the ranks and became Headwaiter. Not long afterwards, he had his sights set on entering Bennigan's manager training program.

However, fate would have other plans. On June 23rd, 1982, a heroin addict and career criminal, Robert Wieghard, robbed Bennigan's. Robert had been convicted for multiple crimes that included armed robbery, possession of narcotics, larceny, fraud, and breaking and entering. Henry, being the rock and headwaiter of Bennigan's, dealt with the criminal as he demanded money from the cash register. Robert got his money and without reason or cause decided to take the life of a man infinitely more evolved and honorable than himself. Henry was murdered while seated with his hands in the air. At arm’s length, Robert ended Henry's life with a solitary gunshot to the head. After committing this horrible atrocity, Robert left the restaurant only to be later arrested, tried and convicted. Robert was sentenced to life in prison.

Henry Callahan's legacy should and will live on. In 1983 at the World Flying Disc Championships in Santa Cruz, California six Oregon players stepped out on to the line. Henry would join them, however, and his remains were laid down in an urn on the field as the 7th player. These 6 Oregon players gave it their all and when they scored that first point they lovingly cheered "That one's for Henry". The UPA (now USA Ultimate) has not forgotten Henry and in 1996 they named the college MVP award after him, the Callahan. Keith Monahan (Oregon State) and Val Kelly (UPenn) won the award that year and they both held their awards high in remembrance of Henry and all he has given to the sport. Today there are over 500 college ultimate teams that travel all over the country to compete in a game that "Henry lived for". They embody not only the hard-core dedication to athleticism that Henry held near and dear to his heart, but also the spirit of the game, the friendship, the respect between players. The subculture that ultimate has developed over the last 40 years is amazing and spectacular in its own right. However, without people like Henry Callahan, the sport would not have grown to the strength and respect it has today. We are all in Henry's debt and hopefully his story and legacy will live on as our sport develops worldwide.

To apply for the Callahan Scholarship, click here.