As I’ve mentioned before, my partner and I are leaving New Zealand for Melbourne this week. This post is a little more specific in its intended audience, and serves double purpose as my farewell and thank you message to the New Zealand Ultimate community.
I first picked up Ultimate in 2007 in Nelson, through the help of Q Gately and Mike Packer. At the time, I was in my last year of high school and had been playing soccer for 12 years. Somewhere along the way, I had lost interest in playing soccer. I was no longer feeling the enjoyment for it that I once did. It wasn’t very rewarding. It was thanks to a chance message sent to our high school from another local school that I, along with a few of my friends, said “hey, why not?”
Although learning a new sport was, at first, a little tough, I kept at it. I instantly fell in love with the sport. Like a number of people I have since introduced to the sport, I was wondering where this wonderful game had been all my life.
In 2008, I moved to Christchurch to attend university. I had heard there was a local club before arriving, and thanks to a rather enthusiastic recruitment effort, I found them pretty easily. What I also found, somewhat unexpectedly, was a great community. Thanks to Ultimate, I made friends with people that I will probably remain friends with for the rest of my life. The rest, as they say when speaking in cliches, is history.
Since my humble beginnings, I’ve played in a number of beach tournaments, a few other social tournaments, one Uni Games, and a bunch of competitive tournaments all over the country (with increasing levels of quality). I represented New Zealand in Australia one time in the first Under 23 Open team. I’m pretty proud of the player and the person that Ultimate has turned me into.
I’ve met a lot of people at tournaments, leagues, and parties. It’s one of my favourite things about Ultimate; that you can be brutally competitive against someone during the day, and best friends with them at the party that night. If you and I have ever spun a yarn together, either at a party or on the sideline, you’re the kind of person I’m going to miss. The New Zealand Ultimate community is one that I am extremely proud to be a part of. Look me up if you’re in Melbourne sometime.
I look forward to seeing you again on a sideline in the future.