While 2019 will mark my eighth year in the U.S. Army, my third collegiate ultimate season, and my third year as a student at BYU, it will be my first as captain of the BYU CHI Women’s team. This will be a season that I look back on a year from now, but as I look ahead, I’m also looking back at all the things that have led me to this point.
Right out of high school, going to college was not really at the top of my to-do list. In fact,
there wasn’t a to-do list. Say what you want about junk mail that USPS sticks into your mailbox, the U.S. Army recruitment flyer works (at least for me). Since 2011, I have been in the U.S. Army and was on active duty for three years, 2011 to 2014. After serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Australia, I was attached to a National Guard unit as I went to school at BYU, and am currently still serving in that unit. My time in the Army has taught me several frisbee-related skills. The most obvious of all, running. Each day in Basic Training we ran, and ran, and ran. With the occasional Physical Training Test, I had to keep up my two-mile time. So I ran some more.
As I served in the military, there were many opportunities to work with others and lead. While frisbee is unlike leading my squad through an ambush during Boot Camp, it has shaped how I’ve worked with teammates and developed leadership qualities. Though it was a drill with people shooting at you and trying to “kill” you, it’s much easier to lead a team to get a piece of plastic down a 70-yard field.
My time spent in the military has shaped me on the fields of combat but also the fields of frisbee. But apart from running and working with a team, nothing in the military taught me how to throw a flick.
Only three short years ago, I was just starting to practice with the BYU CHI Women’s team. I had joined the team late and had never competed in ultimate before. Not only did I lack competition experience, my backhand throws went (maybe) 15 yards and my flicks were near non-existent. To add to this dilemma, I was throwing with my right hand, my non-dominant hand. Ever since I was little, I had learned to play sports with my right, while I did everything else with my left. Coaches just didn’t know how to coach a lefty, so I became a righty.
Throwing was just impossible. Yes, I can run and catch, but how am I going to get rid of the disc? My throws just never improved. Fast forward a year, my teammates realize I’m actually a lefty and told me to switch. Who knew throwing with my dominant hand would actually make me better? The cherry on top? Lefty throwers break marks.
My throws have since improved, and with a whole year throwing right-handed, I still have a righty backhand for a sneaky upline throw. After my first ever club season with Utah’s women’s club, Elevate, under the BYU CHI Men’s coach Bryce Merrill, I’ve been able to hone my frisbee skills. On the cusp of making it to Nationals, I’ve since had experience playing against some of the best women’s teams, especially in the tough Northwest region.
I’m looking forward to this upcoming season. The Army has given me my legs and my teamwork. Switching hands and playing club has given me my throws. After a stellar 2018 season, 2019 looks exciting. I am honored to be a captain, a player and just a part of this BYU CHI program. Everything has been leading up to this point!