I joined Backhanded 3 years ago as a "retired" college captain who was very hesitant to start playing club. I was burnt out from the college ultimate experience. It is almost hard to remember that feeling now, but I thought playing club might mean more overwhelming responsibility about a sport I still felt brand new to. I resisted playing club my first year after graduating, but the next year I was lured into Backhanded by friendly faces and reassurances that it would be a whole different world.
Once I caved, I was met with extraordinarily knowledgeable teammates and coaching staff who boosted my confidence and allowed me to see ultimate in an entirely different light! I was used to emotionally charged games with high highs and low lows. Backhanded taught me that maintaining an "even 7" (codeword for our calm mental game) was much more beneficial for the team as a whole than bouncing around the spectrum. Each year we had more talent, and our returners grew tremendously, myself right along with them.
This made ultimate feel like a much more viable long-term activity than I had thought possible after college. I started to see the wonderful impact of this sport on the community as a whole and how my role models on Backhanded began to expand my role in that community. I began to help out with youth leagues, GUM clinics, and this season, I began coaching Hammertime (Towson) B.
This year, it felt like time to dedicate myself to a leadership role on a team that has given me so much over the last few years. I feel honored and excited to know that myself, and my co-captains, were chosen through a consensus building process to represent Backhanded. I am particularly excited to share my leadership with two wonderful teammates: one who has been supporting Backhanded since the beginning and another who just finished her first season on the team and brings a fresh new perspective on how to better our program. I hope to bring intensity to practices and tournaments and continue to build upon our supportive team culture that I hold dearly to my heart.
I last captained Backhanded in 2012, four years ago! Backhanded has grown so much over the last six years to become this really incredible community. So many people have invested in the program; it's kind of overwhelming. Through playing Backhanded, I've forged some of my dearest friendships and created a support network. I think being part of a team is really about being part of a learning community: there is a bond of mutual respect to simultaneously push each other and support one another. Creating strong community is what I'm all about in my personal and professional lives!
I'm captaining because I want to pour all of the love that I have received from my Backhanded family in the last five years back into the team. I'm excited to captain the 2016 season to build off of 2015'2 successes. Our strong Regionals finish had given us access to some sweet tournaments, the Select Finale and Heavyweights. I love traveling with my teammates, and I'm pumped at the chance to play teams from around the country!
As a newer addition to the Backhanded family, I am thrilled and humbled to be captaining alongside two incredible teammates this season! This will be my second year on the team, but my fifth season playing club overall and my third as a club captain. As I think about what most excites me about this opportunity, I find myself thinking first and foremost about the core values that Backhanded not only espouses, but lives and breathes, every day of the year.
I think about the family that my Backhanded teammates have built: one that supports each other not only when everything is running smoothly, but also in those inevitable moments when nothing seems to be going right, and when the unconditional love and belief flooding in from your teammates is the only thing pushing you to pick your head up, grit your teeth, and try again.
I think about the hard work that my teammates pour into this team 365 days of the year: the hours and hours spent pushing themselves towards new PRs in the weight room, meeting with other team leaders to learn how they've built successful programs, watching game film, researching new strategies, and discussing how to steadily push our team to greater heights.
I think about the pride and inspiration I feel when I reflect on Backhanded's whole-hearted commitment to service; how my teammates coach or captain EIGHT different college women's teams in the DC-Baltimore area; run dozens of GUM clinics and leagues; coordinate local events and tournaments for women of all ages and levels; and facilitate dialogue about the growth and role of female athletes in the greater ultimate community.
I am beyond excited to work with Zara and Echo this year to continue to nurture and strengthen our team culture, and I am ecstatic about the potential of our team to reach new heights this season. I can't wait to see what we accomplish!