Andrew Gelston Graham: Frisbee hat tournament honors much-missed player

On Saturday, June 11, devotees of Ultimate Frisbee will be sailing discs with abandon in spirited competition on a field in Centennial -- while raising cash for "random acts of kindness" in response to an act of senseless violence that claimed one of their own.

Andrew Gelston Graham would have dug it.

Graham, a 23-year-old University of Colorado graduate, was an athlete, musician and scholar who loved both poetry and engineering. He also threw a mean Frisbee. He was killed by a single gunshot wound late one night in 2009 while heading from a light rail station to his family's Arapahoe County home.

Although the homicide has been linked to a series of apparently racially motivated attacks and robberies, Gelston's death remains unsolved. But family and friends have responded to the tragedy by forming the Andrew Gelston Graham Charitable Foundation, which provides funds for CU scholarship programs, athletics and yes, random acts of kindness.

Saturday's event is a hat tournament, meaning that teams will be drawn at random from the individuals who register to play. The pool includes players from CU Ultimate men's and women's teams Mamabird and Kali, so expect some pretty lively action. But there will be room for all skill levels, in keeping with Gelston Graham's own conviction that something as fun as Frisbee should never turn into a high-stakes smackdown. Light snacks, water and some bodacious CU schwag will be available, and registration is only $15 by going online here, versus $20 for signing up on the field.

Things get underway at Willow Creek Park, 8000 E. Phillips Place, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Let your freak disc fly.

More from our Mile High Murder archive: "Do you recognize anyone in Andrew Gelston Graham surveillance videos?

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Alan Prendergast has been writing for Westword for over thirty years. He teaches journalism at Colorado College; his stories about the justice system, historic crimes, high-security prisons and death by misadventure have won numerous awards and appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies.
Contact: Alan Prendergast