Here’s the second in our series of stories about the players on our 2016 roster (first story here). Installment #2 concerns none other than Breeze veteran Brad Scott, who recently signed a 3-year contract extension that will keep him in a Breeze uniform through 2018.
Despite being a key player for DC Truck Stop and one of the first six players to sign with the Breeze for next season, Brad Scott is marvelously unpretentious about ultimate. He speaks as if attending Club Nationals with Truck is no big deal and about his own growth into an elite player with unassertive realism. At a certain point along this trajectory, Brad made the choice to focus on ultimate over his other passion, rock climbing. While he excelled at both, he knew he would not get better at either one without allotting more time to training. With characteristic drive, Brad “didn’t want to just be good” at his sports, he wanted to be the best. After a difficult and realistic conversation with himself, ultimate won out. “I can’t play elite frisbee when i’m 50,” he reasoned, “this is fun. I’m gonna keep doing this.”
Maybe it’s a side effect of the chess he played with his dad as a kid (and does still today) but Brad’s mental game is honed beyond his years. Brad gets fired up, but he doesn’t seem to get too heated. Brad will not get flustered on the field but he will be “annoying as hell” to match up on. Nor does he wallow in his mistakes. Drops happen he reasons, but acuity improves with repetition. And he is constantly learning, play to play, second to second, making minor adjustments to tighten his defense– unwise face guarding resulting in a reset that should have been contended is not a mistake that Brad will make twice. It may sound counterintuitive but the more he learns and repeats, the less he has to think; “you can’t play when you’re thinking,” he maintains. Brad reasons that if you’re intellectualizing the game you’re thinking too hard and you won’t just play. “If you’re thinking, you haven’t gotten enough reps in… but that opportunity’s behind you and there’s nothing you can do about it now.”
Repetition and intellectual discipline yields this mental toughness and, for Brad, that is where the game is won. With the right mentality, Brad is confident a team can end a game within a handful of points. “All we’ve gotta do is break them mentally then the game’s over, we just have to play the rest of the points.” Again, maybe it’s the chess, but Brad is committed to winning the mind battle. Like most young elite players he has had to break his reliance on natural athleticism to succeed. “At this level, everyone’s athletic. It’s not enough.” He has learned that “you can’t just outrun [your mark] on D, you gotta position” a second ahead of their play in order to be competitive. Brad ramps up his defensive game by putting the opponent on his terms. He relishes, in his words, “the thud of them running straight into [his] chest.” He gives his mark no entry.
For all his mindfulness, Brad’s relationship with ultimate is as much deep intellectualism as it is carefree joy. His exuberance is most clearly expressed in his fashion (or lack thereof) sense. His wardrobe is comprised mostly of thrift store bargains in bright colors. He qualifies his style as “wacky, but not with enough class to be metro.” When it comes to having fun, Brad doesn’t mess around. He repeats, “it’s just a game” with a smile, but says the word “play” with so much gravitas, you wonder if you’ve misheard him. Brad is a contradiction of easy-going and ultra-competitive. He strives to be “as much of a nuisance as possible” as a defender but his decisions are crafted with utmost calm. Whatever you call it– peace, mindfulness, chill, or zen– Brad embodies it. Come spring 2016, he will set aside his puce culottes and Hawaiian shirt, don Breeze number 5 and roll onto the field at Gallaudet with intensity and joy. And we can’t wait to watch.
— Libby Chamberlin, Breeze Staff Writer