The Australian Mens

Ultimate Frisbee Team

DT6: Courage and Selection

Welcome back readers to the Dingo Tracks, your standing invitation to join our pack on the road to the London World Championships. There has been a major shift in the last week, we now have a 2016 team. The 22 men selected to represent their country have been chosen, and each one now carries the joy and the responsibility of that new reality.

In this Dingo Tracks we are proud to bring you courage, honesty, vulnerability and introspection. Streaming and download Froning: The Fittest Man In History (2015)

During every selection process, there is a phone call. One significant call that distils all the aspiration and trepidation of the whole selection process down to one moment. The call to a selector on the night before a team is announced.

This week three members of the selection squad open their personal world, and describe their experience surrounding the phone call, and the 2016 Dingo team announcement. Brendan Ashcroft, Jimmy Tod-Hill and Ben Sutas share their stories below.

Our three chosen Dingo hopefuls were asked to record their thoughts and feelings at four specific moments orbiting the team announcement.

  • First in the morning of the phone call. A general reflection of what the journey has been like so far and how you are feeling about making the team.
  • Next a snap shot of how you are feeling just before making the call to your assigned selector to find out. A stocktake of your emotional situation.
  • Then an immediate reaction after learning about your position on the team that night. The emotional and intellectual experience during and after the phone call, what you did.
  • Finally the next morning. A more sober reflection on what it all means, how the news impacts your life now, and how you feel as the outcome sinks in.

It is a privilege to be given the opportunity to share in the private thoughts and feelings of others. The experience can provide us with perspective and stimulation to reflect on our own life.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

We are proud to present Brendan, Jimmy and Ben’s responses uninterrupted below.

Brendan

Whilst I try to shift my attention away from the selection announcement and concentrate on work, knowing that this is the culmination of months of hard, focused training, there are certainly a few hidden nerves that are making concentrating difficult.

It’s been a rollercoaster journey when I think about it for me in the sense that it was such a long time from the moment I decided to dedicate myself to trying to make the Dingoes team. Balancing other ultimate commitments, athletics, work, study, and yet in 4 short days in October, it was done and out of my hands. For someone who has never been through the process before, the experience of the camps in Sydney was nearly inexplicable. The intensity in the atmosphere was palpable and from the moment the cleats were on and the squad stepped onto the fields you knew no one was going to hold back and you had to give so much that you finished each day honestly saying you could have given no more.

brendo

Knowing I have an opportunity to find out tonight if I have made the team or not is a strange feeling. I have always been hesitant calling selectors for the news, one way or another, and even with my experience with the Goanna’s in 2013 and making that team, I still prefer to wait for the announcement. Perhaps in a way this is a sort of safety net incase I am not selected and am then able to react in my own way with no one around; or just enjoy a sense of relief if I am selected. It’s a strange approach and from the majority of people I speak to, quite different to the general consensus. Unfortunately it also exacerbates the nervousness! Whilst I am waiting I replay everything that happened at the selection camps and (over) analyze how I think I played or what I should have done instead at certain moments.

Relief. That is certainly the first reaction I have after reading my name on the list. It’s no small thing to pour your heart and soul into a cause and sometimes it’s difficult to fully describe the physical and psychological demands it has on someone. After the final camp the body was tired but mentally I was exhausted. The days that followed were a blur and tasks were performed with an apathetic nonchalance. The relief of seeing my name on the list just served to validate every sprint, every throw, every contest, every sacrifice whether it be not being able to attend an event because training was scheduled at the same time or having to work more to pay for tournaments to get high quality competition. Even through all of that, before the team was announced, there was never a moment of doubt that I wouldn’t do it all over again in a heartbeat.

brendo2

The first thing I did this morning when I found out was to contact my sister. She has been my biggest supporter since my Mum passed away and I would never have had the courage to step outside my comfort zone and challenge the level I could play to without her. As the day wore on I began to think about what I needed to do to get better, to make sure that when it comes time for me to play my role in the team, I can do it to the absolute best of my ability and that we charge into the tournament not as a great team, but an unstoppable one.

Jimmy

I woke up to my alarm this morning and my first thought went to the selections. A late email the night before had informed us that we would be able to discover if we were on the team or not at 8:30pm the next evening and so I was fairly antsy. My first conversation with a colleague today went straight to selections as I discussed how it was filling my mind. Perhaps thankfully I was marking Year 12 speeches all day, so my mind was taken off the 8:30pm deadline; however, during breaks between assessment sessions it filled my thoughts.

I’ve been working really hard with training since June – harder than I ever have for Ultimate. I trained a lot for the 2012 campaign, but I feel my training has been more focused this time around, as my knowledge has increased on suitable gym sessions and sprint / agility work out programs. I have been going to the gym 3 times a week, running 3 times a week and making sure I stretched on my rest day. I’ve sacrificed a lot of free time to maintain this training schedule.

jimmy

I really want to be on this team. The quality at the training camps was exceptional. I am excited to see what the final team will be and would love to be a part of it. Saying that, I have been there before in 2012 and am older than I once was. There are some exceptionally talented younger guys coming up through the ranks, and after I had a fairly average performance at the first camp due to a knee injury, I have basically convinced myself that they probably deserve a position on the team above me. I am really happy with how I played at the second camp, but I see in the new players much more scope for development and improvement, so I don’t rate my chances highly. But I am really hoping I’ve done enough to convince the selectors of my value to the team.

Nerves have abounded all day – they continued into the evening. I’m getting into the car to go to Colony league…an interesting time to find out about selection results, given that many of the squad will be there and probably finding out the same info…

I chatted with some training squad mates and we had some light banter about selections. I really just want to get the news over with – obviously I want it to be good news, but I am tired of waiting in nervous apprehension. I think I am a borderline player for the team, and while I’d like to say I’ve convinced myself I won’t make it, that’s a bit of a protection mechanism, and I really hope I will make it. There’s a lot of desire to hear good news – and I keep thinking about how I will act if I make the team. I’d like to be humble, but I think I will do a cartwheel or something childish. Still, there is also a big undercurrent of thought about maintaining a brave face if the news doesn’t go my way. I plan to call the selectors as soon as my phone ticks over to 8:30pm.

I didn’t make the team. I spoke calmly on the phone to the selector and received feedback, but as the conversation continued, I stopped listening. I moved through the conversation quickly as I didn’t want to hear more at this stage. While I’d sought to convince myself I wouldn’t make the team, I always had a deep hope that I would. And finally hearing that I haven’t, after the time, effort and sacrifice that has gone into training, is tough to take. There are no tears or anything histrionic, but there is just a sort of emptiness within – I feel like something should be there, but there is a physical sensation of absence. I rang my girlfriend and chatted with her. She did her best to console, but what can one say?

I found out between games at our Colony league. I told only one person who was there. I didn’t feel like talking about it. The news had a big effect on me though. I consider myself strong mentally on the field, but the big change was that I became very quiet and somewhat apathetic. I am a loud voice in games, providing encouragement, sideline support, etc. After receiving the news, I just stopped talking. And I didn’t care about the next game; I lost interest in playing vytorin dosage. I still played, but I was just running through the motions.

jimmy2

The drive home was interesting as I kept thinking about where to go to from here. I have put my name down for mixed and want to put a good shot in to make this team if invited to the squad, but the whole drive home I just kept thinking about whether I cared enough about the mixed team compared to the Dingoes to put in the same effort. I don’t know if this is necessarily true, as I know being on the mixed has the potential to be awesome too, but that is how I have felt. All my work has been for the Dingoes, so motivation to keep training everyday for a new squad currently seems hard to manufacture. I almost feel like ‘if I haven’t made this team, then what’s the point in continuing to try playing for another team?’ I’m not sure if this is just another protection mechanism as not being selected to the mixed after also not being selected as a Dingo would be a hard double hit to take, so I think I’m a bit nervous about that too.

It is the morning after and I am still disappointed about not being selected, but not in my head like I was last night. Certainly, I am happy to know the results of the selection finally and am back to feeling like I want to keep working hard to better my game. I’ve never not been selected on a team I have tried out for before, so it has been a different experience to take. I feel like it will encourage me to focus more on elements of my game that I sometimes overlook…like throwing forehands consistently…

I just saw the team list go up on our squad site and it is an amazing group of lads. The cliche is that the quality of the team is made apparent by the quality of those not selected and there are some great players who haven’t made the team. I’m certainly excited about the direction Australian Ultimate is taking as the two training weekends were the highest quality Ultimate I have ever seen in our country.

The fact that much of that quality was stimulated by the younger players on the squad is really excellent. It is particularly satisfying to see a bunch of the young lads who we have helped develop through Colony pushing up into the team, especially my T-Town mates.

Now I am looking forward to the Dingoes getting back on a podium!


Ben

I had a decent Nationals season, though unfortunately 2 weeks before Nationals I strained my left glute at training, and I didn’t play as much as I would have liked, so I didn’t really expect to be considered for the squad. I was pretty ecstatic when I called up Gus and found I was in the training squad. I started going to the gym and training as much as I could, and the Sydney lads had a hit out on Thursday nights which was great to get the banter and excitement up.

Heading into the camps, I was happy to take them as a learning experience, and as a challenge to see if I could match up with the best in the country. After the first camp (and even the first day), my mindset totally changed. The atmosphere and intensity I’d experienced was unique, and surprisingly addictive. I didn’t want to be along for the ride now, I wanted to get in there and push harder, and it felt like I didn’t want to be on the team; I needed to be on the team.

The time after the second camp and before knowing the final selection was very nerve-racking. All the previous points I’d played at the camps saturated my mind as I replayed them over and over, thinking of what to improve, what I’d done well, and if it was enough.

bensutas

Dan called me just before the call-up time which caught me by surprise as I was still at work. I saw his name on caller-ID and immediately I knew what this call would be about. I wasn’t ready in the slightest, but I knew it was that time.

Talking with Dan during the call was interesting; my ears and brain were a sentence ahead, trying to pre-empt what he would say, waiting for the decision, whichever way it went. After hearing “congratulations”, I froze; my heart was beating so fast I had to manually control my breathing and regather my thoughts. After the conversation I sat down and just took the moment in, my brain projecting visions of training camps in my head, of London, of wearing that green and gold. I left work early; there was no way I’d be able to concentrate now.

Walking home, I called my Dad and told him. I’ve played sport all my life, and up until I moved down to Sydney for work, he’s always been there, driving me around, yelling at me from the stands and always supporting. Making the team feels like I’ve been able to repay him, as if to prove to him that his efforts were not wasted. To hear how proud he was; for me, this was the greatest part of the aftermath.

Having had the news for a few days now, I’ve settled down in all the excitement, though there is a great sense of pride that lives inside me now. Playing for your country is one of the greatest things you can do, and it never escapes me that this is the greatest privilege I’ll ever have. I’ve already been to the gym, been for a run, and have planned out my training program. On top of those I’ve been thinking about everything to do regarding the 2 tournaments in Japan and the USA, the 4 training camps ahead of us, and how I seriously need to up my fitness, strength and skill if I want to leave my mark at worlds.

 

Their courage is a challenge for us all to face our obstacles with hope.
Their honesty speaks to the power each person has to be proud of who they are and what they value.
Their vulnerability shows us the beauty of an open spirit.
Their introspection asks us to turn to our own journey with a critical and optimistic mind.

Brendon, Jimmy and Ben we are proud to have worked and fought along side you. This contribution to the team and our broader community is wonderful and gratefully received. Well done.

Still ran Dingo, yellow dog Dingo,
dusty in the sunshine, always smiling.

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Comments (2)

  • Avatar

    Jonno Holmes

    |

    Hey lads,

    First of all, congratulations to all the fellas selected on the 2016 Dingoes. To the rookies: congratulations – you have reached a massive pinnacle in your ultimate careers, but this is only the start! To the returners: you know what has to be done – enjoy the journey again and make sure you leave nothing in the tank.

    Secondly thanks to Ben, Brendan and especially Jimmy for sharing your thoughts. It is a truly crazy time to be going through that selection process, knowing that you have done all you can at the camps and then waiting to find out. I can remember the overwhelming emotions of finding out I’d been selected in 2004. I remember some of those feelings you mention Jimmy – about talking yourself out of believing you will make the team to somehow make it easier if you miss out. That pain you share is what makes getting selected so special – there are a tonne of super talented guys out there who didn’t get selected on the team.

    If you made the team, congratulations. If you didn’t, keep fighting. The strength of this Dingoes team is clearly apparent from the guys who didn’t make the cut.

    Jonno.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Mike

      |

      Good one Jonno.

      Thanks for the thoughts and encouragement. I’m sure the team is going to produce some excellent things over the next few months.

      Mike

      Reply

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