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Brodie Whittington Interview (Nottingham)
The following is an interview with Brodie Whittington. He was captain of the Nottingham team who managed to win University Men’s Outdoor Nationals this year, winning in a thrilling final against Glasgow.
What’s your name?
Any nicknames? Some people thought my real name was my frisbee nickname.
And what’s your number?
How long have you been playing Ultimate?
Did you start at University?
No, I was taught to throw at school but didn’t really play properly until uni.
What did you study?
What’s your favourite throw?
IO sidearm huck
How often do you make your team train a week?
Outdoors or Indoors?
Horizontal or Vertical Stack?
Zone or man D? Zone
What (if any) club team/s do you play for?
Have you ever represented your country?
No, but I’d love to.
Any interesting other pastimes/hobbies?
I scuba dive back home.
How did you start playing Ultimate? What convinced you to stay?
Back in 2008 my best friend convinced me to come to the after school activity which he had just started the week before. Some of the sixth formers played so I thought it must be cool, I played on and off for a couple of years but only really played 1 tournament with very few tactics. I almost didn’t play when I came to uni because I wanted to keep playing rugby, but after nearly breaking my neck 2 weeks before term I decided to get back into Ultimate, haven’t really looked back since. It was probably a good thing, I don’t exactly have the body for rugby.
Why did you decide to go for captain? What advice would you have for any new captains starting this year?
It seemed the natural progression of my Ultimate career. I had been a developers coach and then club coach in the years before.
Advice: You don’t have to be the hero and do it all yourself. That applies to off pitch stuff as well, get a good group of coaches and try to spread the load of organising a team. I was lucky to have a great club committee and coaching team supporting me and the team this year.
What was your hardest game/tensest moment qualifying for nationals?
Definitely the game against Oxford. They were up by 1, and we had to score an upwind to force UP. It took about 20 minutes, made even tenser that I wasn’t on and had to watch helplessly from the sideline, I definitely lost my voice on that point. The wind died a bit and Oxford almost instantly scored the upwind straight back.
What was your hardest game/tensest moment during nationals?
The build up to the UBU game. Going up against the defending champions who had already beaten us earlier in the year was tough. I really had to rely on some of the more experienced players to help inspire the team before we even started, so a massive thanks to Ben, Liam, Tom and Welberry.
Describe how it felt to win nationals
Unreal, I was in a state of shock the entire evening and most of the next week. I was also exhausted, I fell asleep at about 10pm in the middle of the party.
What have you done with your medal/trophy?
The trophy spent the rest of the year in my living room in Nottingham, but I had to eventually give it to the uni so they could display it.
My medal has been hanging over my room but I got it back out for some photos at my graduation.
What were your opinions on the BUCS league?
For the established teams in the country I think it was great step towards better recognition from their University, which comes with it the benefit of more money and better training facilities. I think some of the smaller teams may have suffered as they struggled to regularly get a team together so preferred having a single weekend where they could all be free so probably had less game time than in previous years.
I enjoyed the more regular game time. Hopefully the women’s division will follow suit in the next few years. There was some discussion in our region about running a side tournament so that the travelling uni’s women’s team could come along too, so the women could have some warm up outdoor games before their regionals.
How was it balancing all the different divisions and trainings (indoors, outdoors, mixed, etc.)?
Tough doesn’t begin to describe it. Another bit of advice to any new captains or club committee members, get a calendar and plan now. Giving the players enough notice was crucial but with three men’s team in the BUCS league and 5 indoor teams there was often last minute chasing up people each week.
It was a massive shame that Nottingham this year were unable to enter mixed outdoor nationals, but due to the date being outside of term time we couldn’t get the numbers.
What’s your relationship with your University Sports Office?
Much better now. I don’t know whether they enjoyed my weekly drop ins to let them know how things were going but in the end I’m sure they didn’t mind knowing that we were keeping on top of everything and giving them plenty of notice about everything.
How do you balance being a captain and a teammate?
Again it’s remembering that just because you’re a captain doesn’t mean you have to do it all. This was something I really struggled with at the beginning of the year, I tried to be on every point and make every play, which ended in me being exhausted and making a lot of turns. Once I stopped trying to do everything and focused on my role as part of the team it was much better for the team. Picking a team is difficult, but having to drop some of your best friends for the benefit of the team was crushing at times.