Photo by Kurtis Stewart – UltiPhotos.com
The Seattle Rainmakers are coming off a long overdue bye week with the taste of victory in Portland still lingering in their collective consciousness. But what do professional ultimate players do in their time off?
Naturally, they take a bit of time to let their bodies recuperate, but that doesn’t mean they’re off the clock. They study tape, catalogue what went right and what they can improve upon, and they fine tune their training regimen accordingly.
“Getting the win in Portland was huge,” said Head Coach Steve Gussin. “It was great for us to be able to get on the bus and get a win away from home. I feel like we’re in a really good place going into the bye week. We’re starting to click offensively, our D-line has shown an ability to generate a lot of blocks, and we’re in a really good spot mentally.”
The team largely credits their win last week to their newfound mental focus. The opportunity to bond as a team off the field will be a huge boon as they enter the second half of the season.
“Leading into the Portland game we refocused on us and our goals rather than things we couldn’t control,” said Eddie Feeley. “In that vein the coaches have given us homework over the bye week to do activities with our teammates. Some guys are running 400s, others are leading positional pod practices, some are hosting a game night, we have guys getting together to watch NBA playoffs and all sorts of other things.”
For instance, did you know that pro leaguers have fantasy teams too?
“Personally, I am crushing in my fantasy league,” said Ben Beehner, who drafted San Francisco’s Evan Boucher, Portland’s Eli Friedman and Seattle’s Donnie Clark. “Boucher and Friedman are the lynchpins of their offense. Everything runs through them. And Donnie Clark has given a herculean contribution to the Rainmakers offense. When our offense is not working, like in Vancouver two weeks ago, Donnie’s athletic ability delivers and bails us out time and time again.”
Seattle’s on-field success has also given the players some time to reflect both on what it’s like to play as a team and what the experience of professional play is really like.
“It seems like the Rainmakers are really starting to click right now, and we are showing how much of a force we are in the West,” said Danny Trytiak. “The parity in the Western Conference right now is so fun. Being in a league where you can win any game and lose any game is very exciting, and I look forward to each week. I also am very nervous before every game, it really keeps ultimate fresh and fun for me.”
Trytiak’s teammates echoed this sentiment but also put a bit of swagger to their words.
“While I still believe that any team in the West could win any game, I am very confident the Rainmakers are the best,” said Beehner.
That said, the team has collectively decided to take the rest of the season one game at a time.
“We’re not worried about being top of the conference,” said Coach Gussin. “We base our success on our team goals. We’ve had some games that we felt successful and some games that we wanted to build from. Until the end of the season, the win-loss record isn’t our key metric at all. We’re proud of our first six games as a whole, and we’re excited to make the rest even better.”
Seattle plays host to Vancouver on Saturday, May 31 at 7:00 p.m. More on the theme for Seattle’s penultimate home game coming soon.