Who Is Your Terrific Teammate?

An homage to wonderful teammates.

Emily & Lauren Baecher.
Emily & Lauren Baecher.

In the spirit of greeting 2016 with more gratitude and fun, I sent out a Terrific Teammate survey a few weeks ago and asked everyone to share it far and wide. As you will see, some of our international friends responded, as well as a heavy cohort of players from the Northeast. I could not include everyone’s answer, but, if you are so moved, please share the name of your Terrific Teammate, as well as a story about them, in the comments below.

A coach can only see so much. I watch player interactions all the time, but I do not usually know who is a Terrific Teammate until well into the season. After reading all of these submissions, I understand that support, compassion, and total buy-in are three of the most important characteristics of a TT. Thanks to all who took the time to respond! And a special thanks to Maeve O’Sullivan of Tufts for help in creating the survey and formatting the answers.

I also know the name of the only person who was a Terrific Teammate for two different people. Quite an accomplishment, ____________! You will have to read further to find out who that person is.

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Jimmy Bress
Amherst, MA
Dark or Light

Jeremiah Berlin was a TT last year because he never once failed to meet minor expectations. He attended every practice and was never late. He attended every tournament, even when injured. He paid his dues and signed his waivers without needing reminders. He is a wheel that never needs grease.

Sam Greenwood
Hanover, NH
Michigan

Christine Palmer was my best teammate and scrimmage opponent when I was 15 years old. I used to guard her when I first started playing, and she always gave me tips on how to beat her. Like one time, when I was going deep, I cut under, and smashed into her shoulder – she said I was already beating her deep and should have stayed with that cut. Most teammates would snicker in satisfaction for playing good defense, but Palmer had bigger plans. She prefers to smile big, laugh loud, give great hugs, and push her teammates (and opponents) forward.

Andrew Manganelli
Clinton, NJ
Garden State Ultimate

Isaac Saul. He was a player I played against a few times prior to being his teammate, and I always disliked him. But when his extremely vocal and cocky self is on your team, he just makes you a better player. My confidence boosted significantly when he was on my team, and having him as a line mate just always had my pumped to get back on the field and dominate a point. It’s no wonder he has so many medals.

Brendan Awerbuch
Brooklyn, NY
New York Empire

Isaiah ‘Izzy’ Bryant, captain of the New York Empire, is absolutely my favorite teammate of all time. I think a lot of people have a hard time bringing game level intensity to practice but Izzy did that every single moment we were together as team and forced me to do the same when guarding him. The emotion that he plays with is unlike any teammate I’ve ever had and Izzy never lets his competitive drive or intensity get in the way of keeping the highest spirit of the game. I don’t think there is any one anecdote for this guy. The ultimate community knows how great he is, but you never fully understand it until you’re in the huddle with him.

Hannah Yee
Amherst, MA
ARHS Varsity, BUDA YCC, 2010 Junior Worlds

The captains’ meeting prior to our senior year High School Easterns had just ended, and while waiting for the rest of our team to arrive, Katy Peake and I were killing time sitting at the top of a hill overlooking the empty fields where we’d soon be playing our last tournament together. We were both silent for a good 15 minutes, knowing the other was reflecting on an experience so great there were no words to describe it. A terrific teammate is someone who you can share these intangible, indescribable moments with, knowing they appreciate and value them the same way you do.

Jeff Babbitt
Easton, MA
UMass

Jeff Dreyfuss is always positive. And every point he is out on the field high-fiving, giving words of encouragement and he loves talking up teammates. Just a great teammate to have when playing.

Eugene L’Heureux
Seekonk, MA
UMass

The captain of my first ultimate team was a young man named Dan Gruber. He was the ideal teammate. Dan was always happy, helpful, and just the right amount of competitive. He was there for you if you ever had any questions about the sport and he would instantly become a friend to anybody who said hello. He maintained our team’s competitiveness while also keeping the spirit of the game alive and making sure everybody playing was having a great time. He still stays in contact and pushes me to be the best player i can be.

Molly McKeon
Seattle, WA
Seattle Riot

Jaclyn Verzuh is the teammate that picks you up when you’re down and the first to celebrate with and for you when you have success. She brings out the best in those around her.

Ben Beehner
Seattle, WA
Rainmakers, Birdfruit, Voodoo

On the mixed team Birdfruit, the guys were trying to think of a gift we could give the ladies of our team after a touching gesture they had done at the end of our season. Our teammate Ky Lewis came up with the idea of having us volunteer as the support staff for a GUM clinic. We assisted the female coaches as they ran the clinic and got a lot of the grunt work done. As Ky explained at the event, he has received so much support from the women on our team that he wanted to share that support with something that worked to build more strong female leaders in our sport.

Maeve O’Sullivan
Haydenville, MA
Tufts

Jojo Emerson is relentlessly positive, incredibly smart, and admirably intense. She gets so fired up whenever anyone does something great on the field, which motivates me to both work harder and be a better teammate myself. Jojo maintains a great awareness of the needs and feelings of everyone on the team and works hard to address these while also keeping the team on track.

Eli Motycka
Nashville, TN
Garuda, Ironside

Matthew “Rowan” McDonnell is a Terrific Teammate. Garuda is playing PoNY at Northeast Regionals in 2014 and I’m completely out of my league, trying to play offense against guys who are bigger and stronger than me. I’m getting stuffed and when I finally get up line and we score, Rowan comes over to me and shakes me, “Eli, you can play with these guys. Trust me. You can play with these guys.” That’s the conversation I remember when I feel like things are moving too fast, I can’t get open and everyone is bigger than me, even though I bet Rowan has long forgotten it. He does stuff like that for his teammates all the time.

Russell Wallack
Amherst, MA
Boston Ironside

Jim Foster is a terrific teammate. For (I think) two years now, Jim has commuted from NYC to Boston for practices. He attends practices more consistently than almost anyone on the team, he sends great emails confirming that he is putting in the mid-week work from far away, and he never complains about how hard it was to make it to practice. Jim’s approach to the team, and to showing up in-full is exactly what I look for in a teammate.

Paige Soper
Cincinnati, OH
Riot/Ohio State

Janine Walker was my first interaction with ultimate. She would be at every practice and make the whole team do knee injury prevention exercises and would stay 10 minutes after practice and encourage people to join in core exercises. She was always including everyone in events outside of frisbee. In her first year captaining, she also found us 2 new coaches who helped shaped the Fever program and eventually drive the program to win a national championship. Janine also helped set-up our alumni program, and she now coaches Fever’s B team. She has truly helped create a foundation for Ohio State’s program.

Cam Bailey
Seattle, WA
Mixtape/Ghetto Birds/Rainmakers

Phil Paul – ruthless competitor. Whether it’s for a national championship, or bragging rights in a lunch game, he cares the same. It is easy to be the 1st one to the teammate after a big touchdown catch to celebrate greatness. Phil is always the 1st guy to a teammate who messes up. He will go to that person, dap them up, jog down the field with ’em, and tell them they are the bee knees (in more colorful language).

Chelsea Murphy
Amherst, MA
Brute Squad/Ozone

When I think of a Terrific Teammate, it’s someone who thinks and acts for the good of the team and is a positive influence whose presence is noticed if they aren’t around. One of my favorite teammates to play with has been Liz Duffy, who now plays on Fury. I had the pleasure of being Duffy’s teammate on Ozone for two years and she was a role model for me in the way she always brought her A-game to every practice and game – a role model for pushing herself and the rest of us always. She has a positive intensity about her that is contagious. Apart from being a dominant player she is humble and supportive of her teammates and cares about the growth of everyone. She exudes positive energy, trust, caring and commitment and fun. I remember watching her tear up the field with her cuts and layout D’s and suffocating defense, then watch her crush the sideline with her supportive cheering and fun dance moves. As a Terrific Teammate, Duffy’s presence always positively impacted the rest of the team and was missed when she wasn’t around.

Tannor Johnson
Lexington, MA
UMass/Fooligans

The most amazing teammate I’ve ever had is Tim Schoch. He always knew how to push me on the field, and forced me to improve. We would fight now and again on the field but off the field we would stay best friends. To this day, we make sure to keep in touch and make sure that the other person isn’t slacking off.

Sophie Kay
Cedar Grove, NJ
Wreck, Outbreak, Anarchy

I moved to Atlanta in July 2015 from New Jersey before my first year of graduate school started. I was super pumped that I was going to able to play a 5th year of college ultimate, but didn’t know a single soul in Atlanta or on my new college team, Georgia Tech’s Wreck. My newest teammate and captain Cate Woodhurst welcomed me with open arms (literally, giving me a giant hug when we first met that summer). She made sure I got put on her team for summer league and was super friendly and goofy. She made me feel so welcome and comfortable in a new ultimate community and college team. There’s something important to be said about a teammate’s ability to make you feel comfortable and accepted in a brand new environment.

Alyson Colin
Atlanta, GA

Taylor Hartman is one of our amazing Wreck captains at Georgia Tech. She has always been a person on the team excited to answer questions about rules and genuinely cares about the well-being of her teammates at all times.

When my father unexpectedly passed away. Taylor texted me saying, “Wreck is here for you. Let us know if there is literally anything we can do for you and your family.” I knew that Taylor was serious when she said “literally anything” because she was well aware of my financial situation.

The next day I called her. Through tears I said, “Taylor, we can’t afford a funeral.” Her response was filled with love and compassion. She assured me that the ultimate community was ready to support me, and she was determined to raise the money. Within the week, she made a GoFundMe account, which spread like wildfire!

I relied on all of my terrific Wreck teammates for support. Taylor Hartman, in particular, spent years building the trust it took for me to reach out and be completely vulnerable. She is a Terrific Teammate that sparked a large scale act of love that my entire family will always appreciate.

Lisa Pitcaithley
Pleasanton, CA
Fury

Alex Snyder made me believe in myself. She gave me confidence and the determination to keep pushing throughout a rough season. She is a Terrific Teammate because she is one of the best leaders. She is so goddamn supportive and her positivity is addicting. She has so much love to give and everyone wants to be around her all the effin time!

Micah Flynn
Dedham, MA
Bodhi

Joe Costello. Really, Joe’s the definition of a “team first” guy. He makes his teammates better by supporting and pushing you to get better without ever appearing to put his own successes above yours. He’ll be the one who checks and says the one small thing that gets you motivated on Saturday morning during warmups because he’s spent the time to get to know you and knows what will motivate you. Everyone needs to play on a team with a player like that.

Marika West
Atlanta, GA
Outbreak

Courtney Farrell: though she doesn’t have an explicit leadership role on Outbreak, I often go to her for advice. At a tournament where I was feeling overlooked, she took me aside give me very specific feedback. It takes a selfless person to genuinely observe the details of someone’s play other than themselves at a tournament.

Hannah Bo Gannon
Aurora, IL
Michigan

Leah Bar-on Simmons. I could say so many things about her abilities on and off the field. She always connects with teammates on a personal level off the field so on the field frisbee connections come naturally. She sees the field in a way I don’t think I ever could; it’s like she’s in your head or already three steps ahead of you. Even though she plays at such an elite level she always tries to make herself, and her teammates, better.

Sarah ‘CO’ Davis
Seattle, WA
Seattle Riot

Everyone knows that Riot loves to cry. Andy wrote the beginning of an article about it last year in USAU’s magazine (see “”New Eyes, Lovseth 2015). Even though Riot culture promotes a heavy tear quotient, it takes someone who is over-the-top supportive to let you well up when you’re at your most vulnerable. Nora Carr is the person I turn to in those particular moments of need. At Nationals this past year, the morning of our final game, I felt a beast of a crying jag building up on my chest. I chased down Nora, dragged her outside and she — without question and with plenty of support — let me cry and whine in her direction for a straight half an hour. I am very grateful for [that].

Moritz Hartig
Leipzig, Germany
Germany U23 Mixed

Once I met a terrific teammate, he was incredible talented. We met at a tryout for the U20. He joined the ultimate community just a few months ago but he made it! He was always smiling, kicking ass on field, and he had (and has) an awesome personality.

Ráchel Tošnerová
České Budějovice, Czech Republic
3SB

Among all my amazing teammates Tereza Burešová will be the one I pick. She has been there since the beginning with me and never questioned any of my decisions as a captain of our newly found women’s division of 3SB. Her silent support, hard work, and invincible positive thinking have helped me to stay focused and motivated through the times I was not sure about the steps the team or I were taking. And it paid off – after three years of the team’s existence we placed second at Czech Nationals last spring and I’m looking forward to winning some more. By her side.

Daniel Roach
Barrington, RI
UMass

Max Perham would definitely be someone I would consider a Terrific Teammate. Through the entirety of the 2014-15 college season he was the definition of consistency; he was consistently trying to better his game and helping his teammates improve theirs. During games he knew when we needed to bring it down and when we needed to bring our energy up and when we needed a big play, he was one of the people that delivered. His lay out D against UNCW at nationals comes to mind.

Kodi (Sabrina Fong)
San Francisco, CA
Fury/Riot

Kelly Wiese (Madison Heist) is the epitome of a teammate–always giving energy back to the team, always intense and on point on practice, and always looking to serve her teammates. When she catches a goal (and she catches many many many goals) her first inclination is to celebrate the thrower and the playmakers that set her up.

Izzy Pitman
Atlanta, GA
Paideia Groove

Ellery Koelker-Wolfe was the star of the girls varsity basketball team. She is aggressive, strong, and extraordinarily competitive. Her athletic ability is admirable and once the basketball season was over she chose to play ultimate. During our scrimmages and drills she was totally engaged and a fierce opponent and teammate. We made it to our first tournament and we had a bunch of discussions about spirit of the game and what it means to be a team player. Coming off of the basketball court, Ellery has a very aggressive, contact-port playing style. Throughout our games there were fouls called and contested plays resolved. From the sideline and on the field, the entire team watched her learn about how to play without contact or resolve fouls without referees. Off the field, she asked a ton of questions and it was awesome to see how a starting basketball player was able to make the switch to frisbee smoothly. Her competitive spirit never dwindled but she learned how to control her aggression and play with grace and spirit.

Johannes
Nuremberg, Germany
Sandsturm / Frank N

Michy Schulenberg really gave it all during the selection and preparation of the german mixed beach team for Dubai 2015. He was permanently dedicated to bring success to the team by pushing himself and his teammates to work hard and improve as much as possible. All that while being a fun person, too and bringing a positive and fun attitude to tournaments and practices. We couldn’t have won without him!

Zara Cadoux
Hastings on Hudson, NY
Backhanded

My friend Echo is a Terrific Teammate because she is so emotionally intelligent. She senses what the team needs, when you need help or support, and is proactive about taking on roles that alleviate weight on members of the leadership. Her work experience has given her expertise on giving simple directions and redirecting energy — we are her willing subjects during the season.

One example is Echo’s belief in shifting from language like “heads up, ladies” when we get scored on to power poses. Because of Echo we now power pose after each point (no matter who scored) with our hands in the air as we run to greet each other in the middle of the field. Even when it feels silly, she is always the first out there setting the example for the team. The ritual has given us an evenness instead of riding emotional roller coasters through games. Plus she gets really sick layout D’s.

Charlotte Cloyd
Atlanta, GA
Outbreak

Courtney Farrell is the most terrific teammate, ever, period. Being on a team with Courtney is an absolute joy because she not only runs her hardest during practice, but she always has a smile on her face and is loving every minute of practice, games, team meetings, and everything else. To fill you in a bit more about Courtney, you should know that she is a whiz at spreadsheets, and has single handedly kept our team organized financially and logistically for two seasons. Courtney’s birthday fell over one of our tournaments, and on the Saturday night after games all day and after we had eaten dinner, we all sat in a circle and had a Courtney Appreciation game. We all told stories about something that she had done that was special to us, and each story showed how deep and strong Courtney’s compassion runs. She loves her teammates, her friends, her family, and works so hard to be an amazing friend. I can’t imagine playing on Outbreak without Courtney because she has made being on the team not only fun, but also an extremely inclusive experience. She reaches out to everyone in her own quiet way without being over the top or loud. She leads our team in her strong, silent, ferocious play on the field, and her calm, quiet, demeanor of the field. We all love Courtney, and she is most certainly the most Terrific Teammate that I have played with on Outbreak or any other team.

Isaac Saul
New York City, NY
Pittsburgh

For a long time my favorite kinds of teammates were the ones who I knew were watching me, always in my ear, never missing a moment of my play and holding me accountable. As I matured, though, I really fell for the silent killer, the kind of teammate who would say maybe three or four sentences to you but they’d all be perfect, the teammate who was too busy winning his own battles to be concerned with you. Ethan Beardsley, formerly of U. of Pitt ’12 and ’13 championship teams and now my teammate on Thunderbirds, has embodied this to an incredible degree. He has always been a quiet workhorse on and off the field, and when it’s game time I see him lost in his own battle, only concerned with me if he sees me beating myself up about something. “Head up, Ike.” “Let’s see it 19.” “Hey! Let’s go! Turn that swag on!” Those are the only kinds of comments I need and he’d always be there to give em, when things were good or bad. I think I fell in love with that kind of teammate because once you’re on the field, there is nothing you can do but be positive to the guy next to you and then go out and focus on what you have to do to win. It never feels good to think other teammates are concerned about you but it always builds confidence to see them winning their battle.

Amanda Bolli
Philadelphia, PA
Science Leadership Academy

My previous captain Imani Holness is my definition of a terrific teammate. When we placed in semi-finals last year at the high school state championship tournament, she motivated our team to keep going and play as hard as we can. She pushed us past our comfort zone to be the best that we are.

Colleen Conrad Kepner
Amherst, MA
Texas, Showdown, Chewbacca Defense, Yeehaw

I began my ultimate career late in life. After completing my high school and college athletics experience in other sports, I found myself craving a new team in my mid-twenties. So, as a graduate student at the University of Texas (Austin), I negotiated my way on to Melee mid-season.

At my first-ever practice, I was shy and withdrawn. But I specifically remember a conversation with Tina Woodings, as we watched the end-of-practice scrimmage from the sidelines. She was one of the first girls to approach me, and I’m still so grateful that she made a point to introduce herself and make me feel like a part of the group.

Tina is direct and focused, and I’m sure that she can come across as intimidating to those who don’t know her. But once you talk to her, you realize how incredibly selfless and committed she is as a person and a teammate. In that first conversation with her, I asked her who I should watch and study, being a brand-new player myself. She listed half a dozen women (Amanda Berens, Cara Crouch, and Nazish Waliany, to name a few), but of course didn’t mention herself. So when I saw her play — with the bold, skilled, no-holds-barred style that she still has today — I was incredibly impressed. (And I did NOT want to match up against her!)

Tina and I have been teammates many times over, and we’ve played against each other a few times as well. In the 10+ years that I’ve known her, I’ve learned that she is at once welcoming and encouraging to players ranging from beginner to elite. As a captain she’s knowledgeable and supportive; as a teammate she makes everyone on the field better; as a friend she is reliable, loyal, and trustworthy.

Tina helped form the Ultimate Players League of Austin, bringing much-needed structure and organization to our local community. She’s played locally, nationally, and internationally, but Tina’s greatest strengths (I feel) lie in her ability to build community through Ultimate. She’s a leader and a driving force in every facet of the Ultimate scene.

Grace Freeman
Eden Prairie, MN
St. Olaf

My teammate, captain, confidante, and best friend is the perfect example of a Terrific Teammate. Tulsa Douglas embodies spirit of the game in everything she does both on and off the field. She always plays at 110% and encourages her team to do the same. Not only this, she also provides us with resources and guidance to help us reach maximum potential both individually and as a team. Tulsa has experienced unimaginable loss since joining Vortex as a college freshman, but she has remained a source of strength and consistency for her teammates. She deals with more on a daily basis than what most college sophomores should face in a year, but she does it with grace and poise in order to lead her team and herself to reach potential both physically and mentally. As Tulsa always says and embodies beautifully, “Let’s get mentally tough!”

Imani Holness
Philadelphia, PA
SLA Rockets

The best teammate I’ve ever had the opportunity to play with was Amy Chen. She’s helped me become a better player but more importantly a better captain. From the perfect huck throws to the countless talks after a close game, we both had the drive to be better than the other & that’s what made us the great players we are now. She was there for me when I was so frustrated because I couldn’t throw a flick, and also at all the PADA summer/winter league games. Whenever I had any doubt in mysel,f she quickly changed that with only a few words & a laugh. When I found out that I had the opportunity to tryout for the women’s U20 team, she was one of the very few people I wanted to talk to. I was so nervous & I didn’t know if I even wanted to tryout. She brought me back to reality & once again gave me the confidence I needed. Even though we are colleges apart now, I know she’s only a phone call away. I still get good luck messages before every tournament & I can always hear her annoying voice saying, “You better show them what you’re really made of.” Thanks, Amy, for everything!

Miranda Abazoski
Philadelphia
SLA Rockets

My teammate Jackie and I would always practice together. When we went to states we were kind of ready to go hard when playing. So we played and we always complimented each other or told each other what we needed to do to improve. Right now, we both have the same goal this year. We both would like to layout in the endzone to score a point. We started sending each links to layouts from random kids or Brodie Smith and we made a plan to have a couple days to just practice getting our bodies used to laying out. Hopefully that can happen but it’s great how we can help each other out so much.

Ben Van Heuvelen
Brooklyn, NY
PoNY

I’ve had many great teammates, but one who stands out is Henry Phan, whom I coached on the USA boys team in 2012. Henry liked playing in socks with NBA team logos stitched into them. Before our semi-final game against Canada, Henry said to me, “Yo coach, it’s a pretty big game so I thought you should have these.” And he gave me a pair of New York Knicks socks. I was struck by his expansive sense of his own ability to inspire people — who would think to try to pump up the coach? I also found that I really appreciated the gesture. The game was close and very tense, but every time I looked at my feet I got a big smile. It helped me keep a cool head. I still wear those socks for big games, and I don’t even like the Knicks.

Hannah Baranes
Somerville, MA
Slow White

In my mind, there are a few types of players that every great team needs: vocal on-field leaders, exceptionally hard workers who lead by example, and “heart and soul” of the team sort of players who make everyone look forward to practice. I had never met a player who simultaneously filled all three roles for a team, until I met Jeff Smith. Jeff creates fun and laughter everywhere he goes (which includes every single team workout), calls our offense, invents and leads every cheer, and on top of that, is arguably the best player on our team. Thanks, Jeff, for being a Terrific Teammate!

Alex Snyder
Vancouver, Canada
Fury

So many to pick from…

One of my all time favorite teammates has been Gen Laroche. There are so many reasons why she is a terrific teammate but one thing that I’ve always been impressed by is her dedication to the team. I believe she held the best practice attendance record on Fury for at least 3-4 seasons in a row. She always put the team first and it inspired me to try and do the same.

Sharon
Pittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh

There are some people in the world that everyone just seems to gravitate toward. People that have a natural ability to influence others and motivate in a way that makes you want to work harder than you could have realized on your own. Molly is one of them. Her charisma influenced every person on the team, and her passion is undeniable.

One of the biggest impacts Molly had this past club season was motivating the team to stay fit by sending out a workout regimen which, in combination with physical training and maybe more importantly, included food for thought in developing our mental game. Visualization was big this year, and she even found a song whose lyrics include the words ‘visualize it’ to pump us up and serve as a subtle reminder to control your own game (“Peanut Butter Jelly” by Galantis holds a special place in my heart).

Despite moving mid-season, Molly continued giving encouragement 3,000 miles away; her last bit of inspiration before club regionals, she claimed, was the key to creating opportunities to achieve anything: “don’t save anything for the swim back”…. Last point in semis, passion and exhaustion reaching their peaks, and I got my first legitimate layout D. It didn’t change the outcome of the game. The other team scored and won, but to me it was confirmation that visualization is a powerful tool and was the culmination of a season I’ll always remember – my gratitude to Molly for believing and for being a Terrific Teammate.

Shiellah Quintos
Montreal, Canada
WDF Game Advisors

My terrific teammate is Linda Kudo.

She is a highly respected observer, a great traveling partner and a ferocious foodie like me. Both of us have paid our dues as observers in North America which resulted in an invitation to be part of the first team of game advisors at WUCC in Lecco. Working 10-12 hour days, adapting to a new rule mindset and conquering communication issues did not dampen our spirits, it just amplified our love for the sport of ultimate. I’m proud to call her a friend as well as a teammate. Kudos to you Linda!

Caterina Pagano
Sewickley, PA
Danger/Hot Metal

Lucy Bender is an incredible teammate. Since my freshman year of college when I started playing Hot Metal, I was in dire need of a role model. Within a few days, Lucy had filled that hole. Not only does Lucy have amazing skills as both a handler and a cutter and an unbelievable work ethic, but the positive energy and overall enthusiasm and excitement that she brought to Hot Metal directly attributes to our cohesiveness as a team. I would not be as mentally or physically strong without Lucy Bender.

Tim Bobrowski
Amherst, MA
Binghamton

In high school at Amherst, Lucas Denit was one of the best teammates I could have asked for. When he was injured and couldn’t play in a major tournament, instead of sulking on the sideline with his head down, Lucas was the loudest voice on field. On a more personal note, when I myself was injured and couldn’t play, he offered a shoulder for me to cry on. He was there for me, and for the team, in more ways than one.

Kaia Roast
Seattle, WA
7 Hills

Soumya Keefe is a terrific teammate. She is great at having chemistry and connecting with anyone on the field, she is also patient with her teammates and appreciates a good play whether it came from her team or her opponent.

Jody Avirgan
Brooklyn, NY
PoNY, coach of USA U-19 and U-23 teams

I imagine this is like being asked to pick your favorite child – tough, but here goes. Isaac Saul. On the 2008 U-19 team, as one of the youngest players, Ike was in many ways the heart and soul. One thing I came to realize about Isaac: he LOVES being on teams. He loves the silly sideline games, he loves the inside jokes, he loves nicknames. Yes, he also loves riling up the opponent. And it’s a reminder that you need people actively doing team-building. It’s not enough to hope it just happens organically. The best teammates are the ones that work at it.

Louie Cohn
Podunk, MA

Oh dear, too many to mention.

I grew up before Title IX, I did not grow up with team mates in the same way my brothers did. I learned to compete and compare with everyone about everything. The feminine spirit imbued with empathy grew in me in an environment of competition. By my senior year in college it was pretty much buried. Then one day in Amherst mass I played catch with a frisbee with Bo Lowe and watched people play ultimate with THE JOY OF PLAY!

But it was not until playing in Ithaca, New York, that I learned what a Terrific Teammate really means when I played with Tiina Booth, with her and against her on Ultimate Fields of glory days and as her DDC partner. Of course, there are no words or too many to describe it but, most definitely it is created by THE JOY OF PLAY!

Gloria Miller
Amherst, MA
Connecticut College/ARHS GV

My friend and teammate Kathie Brill is such the ideal teammate. Even though our team is struggling to find commitment, she has invested herself and takes it upon herself to come to every practice, and every tournament, and makes the team a priority even when many people around her don’t. She also, as a senior but not a captain, has provided the perfect amount of leadership. This past fall, I found out that someone I knew died right before the last game of a tournament. She recognized that I wasn’t really able to be a vocal leader during that game, and she stepped up in my place and called the lines, and some plays, all while I could just focus on playing. She knew how to handle the situation perfectly.

Joe Costello
Leverett, MA
Dark or Light

Jonah Herscu is one of the most functionally competitive people I’ve ever known. Some competitive teammates get angry or hostile during practices or games. This tends to alienate teammates, and lower performance levels, but is often justified as one of the side effects of being competitive. Jonah NEVER shows anger or hostility to teammates or opponents and he ALWAYS expands his competitive view to include his teammates, whether they are on the field or not, meaning that he shows that every detail matters. This type of attitude creates Belief. If Jonah is on my team, I know that we can do anything. I learned from his example that being truly competitive means any time, any place, win or lose, be yourself.

Dan Kaplan
Amherst, MA
Mass Hysteria

I like all my teammates who remain positive and caring during the ups and downs of games & tournaments. I also appreciate the ones who reach out and communicate in ways that are thoughtful and meaningful. Here’s a good example: When we were returning from Montreal from our last tournament, I was driving in a car with Joel Harris, Tim Coppinger, and Scott Hartl. As we got on the highway Scott proposed to we do a “strengths” and “weaknesses” assessment of ourselves and each other from our weekend. It was a simple thing to ask, but his ease of asking and his willingness to openly share made for a really inspiring and useful drive home. Not to mention we didn’t have to focus on our cramping hamstrings! Scott is a terrific teammate.

Will Neff
Amherst, MA
Ironside, Twisted Metal, Michigan, Hurricanes

Greg Sanda is a great teammate because he cares more about the team and about his teammates that he does about himself. He is truly selfless as a teammate. Passion, joy, camaraderie, and teamwork embody his essence as a teammate. This past season, Greg gave me a call on the morning of our semi-final game, just to send me his personal encouragement. I haven’t played on the same team as Greg in almost 10 years, but still, he supports me the same way.

Tulsa Douglas
Amherst, MA
St. Olaf

During a scrimmage at practice the two teams were uneven with my teammate Amy T. as the only veteran player on one team. After practice I texted Amy and apologized for what I thought might have been a frustrating scrimmage. She responded by saying “It makes me think more and play harder! Lines aren’t always going to be even, it’s the way the game is. I have to change my mental state to play smarter and realize who I’m playing with to make the right movements. It just makes me smarter! So thanks!”

Ciaran Shaunessy
Portland, ME
UMass

Ben Tseytlin is the textbook example of a captain who uses positive reinforcement. He rarely misses an opportunity to build a teammate up. Example: I knew I was having a good game. As I was running off the field and Ben was running on, he stopped me and said something close to “”You’re playing great. Remember these moments so you can use them later.”” Simple? Yes. Effective leadership? Yes.

Julia Johnson
Holden, MA
UMass

The terrific teammate on Lady Zoo is Justine Guarin, aka Juice. If there is an opportunity to hustle, lay out and work hard Juice takes it. She brings a high level of play to the game and sets the bar for the rest of her teammates. Our team would not be the same without her.

Clare Frantz
Lawrence, KS
Kansas

Janie Reiter joined the Bettys with no ultimate experience and has turned herself into one of the captains of our team. Off the field she’s the workhorse for our relationship with the university. She’s single-handedly gotten the university to triple the amount of funding that we receive. She’s been a huge part of the Bettys return to that national stage.

Nico Bayard
Bloomington, MN
Birdfruit

Jon Klaasen concussed himself something fierce at Potlatch this past summer, benching him for a majority of the club season. (It was real bad; all he could do for a whole week was watch birds outside his window.) In spite of this, he stuck with us, using his uncanny frisbee smarts to break down each point into the best tangible feedback I’ve experienced in this game. Birdfruit relied immensely on Klaw on the road to our first club natties, without him even lacing up from July through September. (Plus, he makes concussion helmets look really cool.)

  1. Tiina Booth
    Tiina Booth

    Tiina Booth is the director of the National Ultimate Training Camp and a co-coach of the University of Massachusetts men. She founded the Amherst Invitational in 1992 and co-founded Junior Nationals in 1998. In 2006, she published a book about ultimate with Michael Baccarini, entitled Essential Ultimate. She has coached teams to numerous national and international titles. Her ongoing passion is sports psychology, and she offers clinics to coaches of ultimate and other sports. Tiina will be inducted into the Ultimate Hall of Fame at USAU Club Nationals in October of 2018.

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