Sunday, December 18, 2005

Role Models for "Young" Players

So this issue has bugged me for a little bit, and since it is the "off-season" for most high school ultimate players, i figured i would bring it up.

first off a little exercise...

1. name five nba players
2. name five nfl players
3. name your top 5 sports role models from any sport

not too hard eh? ok now try this -

name five upa club players
name your top five ultimate role models

for most high school players, this is where the difficulty comes in. as a sport, we dont have, at least as far as i can see, those players that are universal. everyone that plays basketball has heard of michael jordan. everyone that plays soccer has heard of pele, for cycling - lance, etc.

as a sport i think this is something perhaps we are lacking. we have the local role models, the coaches, the alumni of your teams, perhaps local college players you've seen play, etc. but what we lack is the nearly idolized distant role model. the one you watch from afar, perhaps send for an autograph.

so - to the point of this long rambling post. if you disagree with me, who are the universal role models for ultimate? (name names) and if not, have you seen any players (lets keep it in club, which is undeniably the closest thing to pro for ultimate right now) who are worthy of such acolades?

i wanna hear names here. and if you cant answer either of the above questions, how about this one - do you think ultimate needs or wants a michael jordan?


TallE said...

I got Chase S-B of Sockeye to autograph the cover of my Ultimate T&T next to his picture. He was willing enough, but seemed to think I was a little strange.

Can't say that I blame him.

Nick said...

The super stars of sports are sculpted by fans and media (two things Ultimate kind of lacks). The super stars that I think of in Ultimate got that way because I hear lots of people talk about them and then I watch them do sweet things. Chase, Nord, Cruikshanks, Dan Snyder (yeah, I Bleed Black really made him awesome not to mention that he just is awesome in his own right). Anyways, I think this is something that is getting built up as more and more people start talking about the best players in the sport and start becoming fans while at the same time still being players, but it won't really happen until there are fans beyond players.

Role models mostly spring up for individual people and since tons of people don't know other people and there is no mass media of Ultimate, other people don't become affected by these people. Henry Callahan seems to be the most universal person Ultimate players can look to as a role model. Dan Snyder from I Bleed Black, once again, is the man. But you have to feel like you know people to consider them role models (even if you don't actually know them).

Anonymous said...

In the late 80's/early 90's, Kenny Dobyns of the legendary NewYorkNewYork championship dynasty was arguably the closest thing to being the Michael Jordan of Ultimate. And Jon Gewirtz was Kenny's Scottie Pippen.

Mid to late 90's, Ultimate's MJ were DoG's Steve Mooney and Paul Greff.

Nowadays, I would say Jeff Cruickshank and Mike Grant are the MJ's of this current era.

Dan Schneider? Please... The guy is a head-case. Passionate? Yes. Dedicated? Yes. But someone I would want to look up to? Hell no. His own teammates on Kaos don't even like him as a captain (source: Evan Pierce).

Chase Sparling-Beckley? He's still a kid. More like Lebron than Michael. Give him a few more years and a string of Sockeye championships before you look up to him.

Forunate Mueller? Most similar to Derek Jeter. Hasn't won a championship since 2000.

Greatest of all time? Kenny D.

Thomas Sanchez said...

Have to go with Chase S-B, Cruickshank and perhaps Alex Nord.

Whether or not ultimate NEEDS a Michael Jordan, i think raising these people to idol status makes the ultimate experience more rewarding for us younger players, because we can easily go and meet and talk to the people we idolize.

our Ultimate heroes aren't as distant as perhaps our Basketball ones are.

Nick said...

"Dan Schneider? Please... The guy is a head-case. Passionate? Yes. Dedicated? Yes. But someone I would want to look up to? Hell no."

Just because he wouldn't be a good role model doesn't change the fact that he has been risen to fairly high status because of I Bleed Black - something I'm sure a lot of juniors have seen. He's ultra-hyped in that movie and most kids will never meet him, but since they know nothing and have nothing to read about all these other players, he is someone they atleast feel like they know and is an awesome player. Hopefully, 'The First Four Decades' will change this.

Anonymous said...

fuckin steve mooney.

i think the above and beyond movies did that for me.

Nick Ongpauco said...

The sport is not nearly large enough to have a poster boy. because of that it is seen as kind of nerdy to think of such a thing. to have these little boy idolizations of players. at this point it should be about respect rather than being a fan boy. i have a lot of respect for parinella because of the knowledge he has and also a lot of respect for Chase because of all the ass saving of sockeye he does for them. but im not gonna lie, i have players that i look to mimick because i like their game and drool over their highlights. for instance, i am a huge mamabird nerd.

Seigs said...

I think you gotta have Zip on that list in the Lebron category. Great player, great teammate, hard worker.

And if I had a role model when I was learning how to play, it would have been Chain's AJ Tiarsmith. But he was also my summer league captain...

And, for a little shameless self-promotion... Junior players: Don't forget that the Dartmouth application is due Jan. 1! It's common app--Doesn't take much time.

If you have any questions about Dartmouth (college or Frisbee-related), send me an E-mail at seigs AT

Fraggle said...

How is no one going to mention Jimmy P? Of course, I'm sure Kenny Dobyns or Paul Greff were probably more MJ like at their time, the gap between the second and third waves of ultimate limits their legacy potential. And I suppose Parinella is probably more like Larry Bird than Michael Jordan, but he certainly deserves mention.

Bobby Burtley said...

I would have to say that my "ultimate role modle" would be Alex Nord. I just think he brings the game to a whole new level. He has this aura of greatness about him. My first college tourney was college sectionals. I was forced to be a handler, I played only deep in high school. Our first game was against Carlton College. We recived the disc first. It was a windy day, so naturally they threw a cup on us. Coming down the field was Alex Nord in the cup. I didn't know who Carlton was or that Nord was in contention for the Callahan Award. I was a niave young player. It was very intimdating haveing the first person making you be the Nations best player in 2000.

After the game, I expected him to not even bother talking to people not on CUT. To my suprise I got to talk to him on the sidelines. He was very down to earth. He struck me as an all around great guy.

Now espcially seeing what he has been able to do after college is amazing. I now strive to be like Nord. I mold my game to be a dominate presence on the field.

If I ever get the chance to watch him in person, I would think to get his autograph...but I think he would think I'm nuts.

I think that the most elite players think the idea of "fans" is a little weird. It maybe because they are so accesable to us. We can go up to them on the sidelines and chat with them. They don't get paid to do this, they are everyday ordinary people.

luke said...

moons played so long ago that it's silly to say his 90s days were his heyday. he won a title with rude boys, i believe, many moons ago...

jg, would obviously not like the pippenesque quote. it's not like being called robin, but i think any good player would say, 'i'm not the next michael jordan, i'm the first luke smith.'

seigs, i'm not terribly impressed with lebron's 'd'. jordan was a stellar defender when he needed to be, and my recollection, fuzzy, true, is that the team's 'd' was good enough to allow him to roam around and poach...

also, those bulls teams were always anchored by a bevvy of 7 footers... foul 0 matic... but few layups...

the consideration, in terms of addressing individual talent, is made difficult because we can't run with the ball... which raises the value of intangibles... kd's leadership, the cerebral nature of moons, etc... different deals, both valuable...

i'd kind of over looked this blog. good reading.