I just deleted about two pages worth of bitter brooding about random things going on in the ultimate community. Like how USA Ultimate had Titanic syndrome; they think they can do whatever they want because they are too big to sink. And how if they finally did sink I was going to have to shove Jimmy Mickle up onto a (barn) door to float away while I froze to death with the rest of the ultimate players.
There was an especially grumpy paragraph about how the MLU keeps getting sponsors and the AUDL doesn’t ever seem to get any, and I wanted to know who the heck was in charge of making things happen for the AUDL. I segued into a question about what it would take for USA Ultimate to realize the AUDL is here to stay and find a way to work together. I ended the whole tirade with how absurd it is that USA Ultimate refuses to work with E.R.I.C.
But, after rereading all my berating and thinking over what the common problem was, I came to the conclusion that it might be pride. Then I did as I often do: I tied it back to myself and it turns out that the issue wasn’t too hard to find, for it was large, with an even larger head.
Like many, I don’t actually know him, but still harbor a certain resentment for him. I think my mildewy uncertainty for Brodie started back in college when his team cheated more than Bill Clinton in his prime.
“I did not have physical contact with that person,” Florida would say, right after destroying some player, then proceeding to call travel 12 times in a row because, back then, who needed observers?
Since then we have taken different paths in life: I set out to try and create the best ultimate teams in the world. He became the most well known frisbee person ever. Does this upset me? Yes. Of course. Every kids clinic we do, if they know one name associated with ultimate, it’s Brodie.
Why am I such a hater? I guess I have a vision of ultimate being a beautiful sport, not just a gimmick for ads or an activity involving another sports goal (basketball hoops), or my beloved disc ending up where garbage goes (trash cans). I have a dream that, on Bumble, when a beautiful woman asks why I moved Dallas and I say “because of pro ultimate frisbee”, the conversation won’t go silent. I envision little kids choosing ultimate over football to get college scholarships and then actually having fully functioning brains to go through college.
What I eventually had to accept is that Brodie is an entertainer; a personality that works for his demographic. We, the ultimate community, may not like his persona, but the truth is he brings people to our sport, and I believe we need to grow by any means necessary. If drug dealing movies have taught me anything, it’s all about getting people to try your product. If they get hooked on our pure fine grade sport because of some dealer known on the streets as brodiesmith21, then so be it.
“Haha, I will never let Brodie play on a team I make,” I would often say to my friends in San Francisco as we sipped our $9 coffee that took 20 minutes and a 8th grade science lab to make and nibbled on our $14 piece of toast with a butter derived from a free range platypus.
But why? Why did I say that? I think it was pride:
That I could heave this sport into the hearts of people without him.
That I could make it a sport, not a halftime show.
That I could show the world what a real pro ultimate player was.
Over the last 4 months I’ve wrestled, fought and tried to ignore the idea of Brodie playing on my team. I’ve listened to the players, the coaches, and the owners, as well as one particular loudmouth named Kurt Gibson.
It came down to 3 things:
A healthy Brodie is good enough to be on the team, and he can make the type of exciting highlight material plays we want. Besides, who doesn’t want to see Brodie try and out-throw me?
Brodie can help us reach outside of the ultimate community and help us become way better at social media. I want to believe that he wants to help the sport grow, not just his own brand.
I shouldn’t hate someone who creates, I should help him create new things. He is an artist, and he has matured significantly since college, both on and off the field.
We all should have pride in ourselves, it gives us strength. However too much pride can stop us from growing. So without further ado, I would like you all to witness me swallowing my pride and welcoming Brodie Smith to the 2016 Roughnecks (congratulations Jimmy Mickle on no longer being the fattest player on the team). I look forward to trying to get to know Brodie as a teammate and, who knows, maybe as a friend.