It’s pretty easy to unnerve Alan Kolick. So don’t remind him that that a Skyd Magazine poll finds him the 2nd most attractive player, ties him for third best hair, and tosses him an honorable mention for “Craftiest Thrower.” Also, don’t mention that Ultiworld named him to the 2015 Men’s All-Club Team because how does he feel about that? “Mostly just embarrassed…” he brushes it off as Ultimate media searching for something to glom onto and for “some reason” he is their unfortunate target. It’s not woe-is-me self-deprecating; Kolick honestly believes (and will name) other players who deserve those accolades more.
This attitude is not surprising from someone who admits to modeling his playing aesthetic and his skill development on other players who “just look cool.” As a student at William and Mary, Kolick looked to Sockeye’s Sam O’Brien for style points. He adapted Dusty Becker’s “cool throws” to suit his needs and most importantly, he followed the lead of older students on his team. Between his Freshman year, when he held a relatively small role on the team, and his Sophomore year, “things sorta clicked.” Kolick played WAFC that summer, and the confidence boost from extra playing time propelled him to captainship for the remainder of his college career. While his team pushed through a few years of low numbers, only placing 6th at Regionals his senior year, Kolick continued to grow.
All that modeling and mimicking has paid off and Kolick has become a player all his own. “I play the game a little differently… I see the game and field better than most. I don’t think I’m more athletic and I don’t think my throws are better.” Ultiworld might disagree. “I know where to attack and where to sit back” and, he allows, “being left handed helps.” Most ultimate players must savor instances where the defense is a non-presence and the offence flows uninhibited. For Kolick, that’s all the time. “I don’t think the mark is there and then.. uh… I just throw where anyone is open.” Shrug. For all his swagger, Kolick’s style is hallmarked by confidence. He lives and dies by his game performance and a deep sense of responsibility to his team.
“If the disc is anywhere near you and you don’t get it, consider it your fault.” With this advice, care of William & Mary teammate Justin Palmer ringing in his ears, Kolick has a tendency to be hard on himself. “I would rather take the blame for something” that happens on the field. Always believing he can do more, Kolick detests “they do their job, I do mine” passivity. “Responsibility drives you to a different level,” he remarks. While it isn’t easy for someone this self-critical, the promise of growth and the motivation to improve gets Kolick outside his comfort zone on the field. “If you’re not pushing yourself to do things you’re not comfortable with, then what’s the point?” Rather than snowballing into negativity when games don’t go his way (or even when they do), Kolick has learned to harness his “never satisfied” energy, and he is riding it all the way to the top, bringing his team along with him.
Kolick looks forward to joining the Breeze for the 2016 season and hitting his stride with his new team. What does he do for a pre-game confidence boost? “I talk to my mom.” We look forward to seeing her in the stands next summer.
— Libby Chamberlin, Breeze Staff Writer