Regardless of who I play with, Janus always brings back good memories. My first ever away tournament was Janus. My first time ever seeing or hearing of a showcase game (Gnomes vs. Giants) was Janus. The first time ever getting food after Saturday was Janus. The first time playing on epic fields (Lakewood Ranch High School) you guessed it Janus. The 20th Anniversary was no different except the food was ice cream, and the showcase game was Republicans vs Democrats which by the way brought epic heckles!
TitleTown is run by the one and only Legendary TK. If you haven’t played on a TK team then all I can tell you is it’s the wildest ride you’ve ever been a part of. I have nothing but respect for TK because ever since I’ve been playing he’s been a living legend in the Gainesville area. This years team was surprisingly a little light on numbers from years past with only 13 players, but brought with it great chemistry and unity. Low numbers don’t bother me because there is more playing time for me, and we picked up a couple darkhorses named Brodie Smith and Tommie Rruusshh? Saturday felt like I was on the Bulls when Michael Jordan hit 6 three pointers in a half. Brodie was on FIRE… not warmed up 60 yard flick huck: SCORE, point to flick space 50 yard hammer: SCORE. It was raining!!! We went 5-0 and set us up for the easy ride to the finals.
Sunday, games didn’t start til 11:00 and we were still short a couple players at game time. We played down a couple points til we got numbers. Once everyone arrived we stepped it up and took care of Riff Raff out of Melbourne. Next up was a rematch with Greathouse. We pushed out to a large lead then they fought back a little and we finished it 15-11. Going into the finals the injury bug was biting and starting to take a toll: TK got hurt when some noob ran through his backhand huck hyper extending his left arm on Saturday, Brodie laid out and needed a few points off, and my wrist got a little shaken up in the Riff Raff game. This added with the lack of players made it tough to compete with UCF. We had a few miscues out the gate and UCF played like a well oiled machine. They always knew where to cut, when to cut, and got the reset off when they got in trouble. Was very frustrating, but keep your head up Gainesville they aren’t that tough!
Some of the illest ultimate video’s out there right now are coming from JEfilms or better known to us in the Gainesville community as Jacob Evans. If you haven’t seen his most recent ultimate vid about Doublewide’s National Championship then give it a whirl — you won’t be disappointed:
Jacob Evans with Cole Sullivan @ 2012 Club National Championship
The surprise of the weekend was the play of Cole Sullivan. When we heard of the pick up in the spring, I thought it was a move based purely on past Florida chemistry. While that is a great attribute for a team filled with Florida and Texas players, I did not think the 2010 Sullivan from college would transition this well to the club level. Regardless, Sullivan’s size and quickness have quickly become a positive attribute that allowed a squad without Brodie Smith, Kurt Gibson, Kevin Richardson, Stephen Presley and Jake Anderson to continue rolling.
Joe coaching FUEL at FWC 2012 photo by Alana Hardeman
Coaching the team these past two years has caused me to reflect a lot on my own athletic career. I’ve thought back on various soccer, ultimate, and other sports teams I have played for and led both as a captain, as a coach, or as something in between. I’ve thought about the great teammates I’ve had and the great Coaches, and I’ve also thought about some of the ineffective players and disappointing coaches that I have played with and for.
Two years ago, when I accepted the offer to coach FUEL, I didn’t have a lot going on. I was trying to figure out which direction to take my life and how I hoped to shape my future, but I was a little bit lost in terms of what the next step was. FUEL for me was the perfect project to focus myself on to give my life a little structure. It was a challenge and it required me to think and plan and work hard instead of just sitting around and filling the boring parts of my days with useless tasks that didn’t lead to anything constructive. In the end it helped me finally take real steps towards getting back into school and getting my life back on track.
I won’t say that coaching in that first season was easy because no matter how good the team or how experienced the leaders, the responsibility and commitment that comes with being a coach requires more focus and determination than I could imagine. However, during that season I had a lot more free time to plan practices and consider strategies while still being able to get away from time to time to relax or enjoy playing ultimate or doing other things to relieve stress.