Jordan Jeffery is a Captain of Stanford Bloodthirsty. Originally from Barrow, Alaska, the most northern town in the United States, Jeffery taught himself how to throw based on the free whamo videos. He’s helped bring Stanford back to Nationals after failing to qualify in 2010, and hopes to make some noise in Boulder.
What was your introduction to Ultimate?
I was first introduced to ultimate at a summer language camp in Bemidji, Minnesota. I really got into the sport during my second summer there,
when my best friend at the camp was a huge ultimate fan (and was also one of the only people who could throw a flick). After that summer I resolved to get better at throwing. Unfortunately, I had zero opportunity to play ultimate back home. I’m from Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost town in the United States, so pretty much nobody else had ever heard of ultimate before. I basically watched those free dvd’s you get when you buy those “wham-o” frisbees on repeat, trying to learn correct throwing form. Since I didn’t have a throwing partner (apart from the occasional sister or parent humoring me) I ended up playing prolonged games of fetch with my dog, who loved frisbees, out on the tundra. Eventually I got pretty decent at throwing, and I actually think teaching myself and throwing in the wind as much as I did was actually a big help in developing my throwing skills. During my senior year of high school I was able to teach a few friends of mine to throw, and ended up convincing my gym teacher to let me teach people in P.E. to play (albeit indoors on a basketball court). Although the game was met with skepticism, people started to get into it once we started playing, and I hear they still play in P.E. from time to time. I like to think that’s my little legacy of ultimate back home.
What sports did you play before and how did the skills translate into Ultimate?
I played both indoor soccer and basketball profusely as a youth. I went on to run cross-country in middle school, and played varsity basketball in high school, along with wrestling for three years. I am best at basketball, which is what I spent most of my free time back home playing. I think indoor soccer helped with agility, having quick feet is a huge plus in ultimate. Basketball helped me improve my jumping and catching ability. Perhaps more importantly, it taught me how to set your mind to something and improve on it. Similar to shooting jump shots alone on a court, I think that sometimes the best improvement to your throws can happen when it’s just you, 5 discs, and an open field.
What has your career at Stanford been like from the beginning?
The biggest high early on was simply getting selected on to Bloodthirsty as a Freshman. Learning from guys like Sherwood and Tom James was
awesome. Tom has one of the best work ethics I know, and is definitely someone who led by example throughout his career. During my sophomore year, the team had a great year, and while I did not receive that much playing time on a team stacked with veteran talent, I spent the year continuing to work hard to develop my all-around skill set and saw vast improvements to my game at the end of the season. In the summer into my junior year ultimate was on my mind even more so than it had been during my first two years (if that was possible). I came to school 3 weeks early and basically couch-surfed with friends on the team and family that lived in the area for the sole purpose of preparing myself for the season, hitting the weights and the track hard. The 2009-2010 season was difficult for us as a team, and while I grew as a player, we fell short of reaching nationals. Not making it to nationals was like getting punched in the gut. As a captain this year I wanted to work as hard as I could to help get us back to Nationals. Getting sidelined with injuries from early-mid season was frustrating, but fortunately I was able to come back in time for late season tournaments and the series. The team ultimately was able to learn from last year’s disappointment, and making it back to nationals this year tasted that much sweeter.
What do you do outside of Ultimate? Hobbies, Major?
I’m graduating with a B.A. in Science, Technology, and Society, and am pursuing an M.A. in Sociology, so I should be around at Stanford for one more year. I still play a lot of basketball whenever I get the chance.
What is your plan for Ultimate after College?
This summer I’ll be playing with Boost Mobile, but after that it’s up in the air. I definitely plan on continuing my ultimate career on the club level, but ultimately what team I’m on will depend on where I get a job post-graduation.