Seconds after becoming a champion my Dad pulled me aside. He looked me in the eyes and said “Do not take this for granted, soak up the moment because this does not come easy. Becoming a National Champion in ANYTHING is extremely difficult. Go have fun.”
You cannot simply become the best in any discipline without putting in the practice and workout time that are essential to preparing for competition. This year my college Ultimate Frisbee team Mamabird, at the University of Colorado, put in the teamwork that was critical to bond us together more than any other team in the country. We didn’t take any rookies, and even had to trim the roster from last year, which meant that all players were returning Mamabirds. It showed at Nationals in a Cincinnati high school stadium where we put up a blowout game against Oregon in semi-finals 15-8 then onto the no doubt victory against North Carolina 15-10.
Here is the final point in the championship game where our MVP Jimmy Mickle throws to his best buddy Carrot Tim.
After partying with my teammates and living up the moment, we all headed back home to Colorado to enjoy the championship life. Nothing was extremely different about life, but the feeling of wearing a gold medal and knowing that you are the best in the country for that year is amazing. All of the late night practices in freezing temperatures, laying out onto turf that feels and scrapes like concrete, and trying to catch a frozen disc with frozen hands eventually paid off. Some teammates made a decision to throw everyday, or lift weights to boost strength in the off-season, and personally I went backcountry skiing, but no matter what each one of us did, we brought that dynamic to the team that was critical to winning the season. This helped in securing the number one seed at Nationals, out of twenty, and then going on to win the whole tournament in dominant fashion. All of the hard work and money that we all had put into this team that we loved finally paid off and it felt so nice.
Here is a nice video from Skyd Magazine summarizing the tournament.
The world was ours. We were at the top of the mountain looking down upon all of the other college Ultimate Frisbee teams that came to Ohio to try and beat Mamabird. Some people wanted massages, candy, lobster, fine wines, beer, casinos, and even a coffee cake with cream cheese icing. opted for a straight razor shave, a tattoo of our team patch on my calf, and two ferrets named Frodo and Bilbo, the Hobbits. I also signed up for a trip to Chile to ski for my 21st birthday. My choices were different than other teammates but that’s what makes such a diverse group so great. We all came together and made winning the Championship our common goal. Every game we played each season we talked about how we can improve to reach our goal. Becoming a champion took time, effort, and the collective chemistry that this team had. I listened to my Dad and soaked up the moment. My first football coach in 5th grade told our team “Hard Work, Pays Off!” and it was nice for this wisdom to finally ring true.
2014 College Ultimate Frisbee National Champions: University of Colorado Mamabird