My name is Bryant Boyer. I’m not exactly your super athlete. I’m 5’ 7” and weigh a little more than the luggage you’ll fly home for Christmas with. And this is my story.
I got my intro to Ultimate Frisbee in High School. Most cross-country athletes treat frisbee like a second sport. One summer I played probably 3 times a week at Goodman Middle School in Gig Harbor, WA with friends.
In 2008 I accepted a call to serve a 2 year LDS Church mission in South Chicago. I was assigned to an area near Hyde Park in downtown Chicago from January to December of 2009. A group of people got together every Saturday morning at “The Point” and played Ultimate together right next to Lake Michigan. For the entire year I was there, I played with this group. I got better and better, but eventually was transferred to another area in the mission. I still consider Hyde Park to be the place I learned to play.
Transferring to BYU (from NAU) after I got home from my mission, I started playing pickup frisbee around town. I became good friends with a couple people, and we would play together often. I realized that I wasn’t as good as I thought. In frisbee there are two throws that are necessary: the backhand and the forehand (or flick). I couldn’t throw a forehand. Period. Not at all. But I usually ran in circles until the other guy was tired and then got open for the disc.
I was introduced to the BYU team when it was called “The Destroying Angels” in January of 2012. If the team then was as good as it is now, I would have been cut for sure. In fact, I have stayed just ahead of the team’s cutoff skill level each year as it has improved. My second season was the first year we had a coach. He really wanted to make us a team that could compete at the highest level. There were a lot of changes. We changed our name to BYU CHI Ultimate, became more disciplined, and introduced higher level strategies and thinking.
The turning point for me when it came to ultimate was at the end of my second season. My exact words a blog I worte were, “MmmMmmm. Nothing says ‘you're a mediocre player’ like being in your team's highlight reel only once (0:58), only for a second, and the picture is actually staged, not a live action shot...” It was a critical turning point for me to realize that if I wanted more, I had to deserve more.
That’s what this team has done for me. It has taught me to demand and deserve more. Each person that steps up to the plate, regardless of what challenge they are facing, can deserve more. It’s in our nature. Stick to a task until it sticks to you. I started working out on my own and showing up to practice an hour early for throwing practices with some other players. I also started coaching a High School team with some of the best high schoolers I’ve met. It’s all been part of my improvement.
Now I’m captain of the team I didn’t feel like I was good enough to be on. I have spent countless hours on the track, in the gym, on the field, and watching video footage at my computer. I consider myself a premier shut-down defender. And it’s not my doing. It’s CHI. Here are three things the team has taught me:
To Stand For Something - As a team we stand for something, and we hold each other accountable. Competition – Humility – Integrity. We don’t trash talk. We do our talking by how we play. And boy do we play hard.
To work hard - I’ve learned that the only thing that can stand between you and the things you want is work. If you can bear the work, you can get the reward. One thing that I now know to be true is that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. I’m not built for this game, but I have clawed my way up until I feel like I belong.
Worry only about what you can control, but control those things completely – before my third season, my coach asked me to read the book “The Inner Game of Tennis,” which is a sports psychology book. It taught me that people are always focused. The key is what they are focused on. I can’t control if the weather is downright awful or amazing, but I can control my attitude. It’s going to rain on everyone. The key is to plow your fields.
BYU still doesn’t have a path to the National Championships, but we work to be the best we can regardless of the outcomes. We work and fight so that when we look in the mirror we can be happy with what we see. And that is why I play for CHI Ultimate.