Q&A with 1st year Breeze player Tyler Monroe
Tell us a little bit about your background. When did you start playing? What hooked you on ultimate?
In fifth grade, my computer teacher Carter Kemp taught us the rules of ultimate on the blacktop, we played with a bouncy ball instead of a Frisbee because he definitely didn’t have the patience to teach us to throw the disc. I didn’t really think about ultimate much until the beginning of sixth grade, when Sam Terry and Rex Gaboen were out on the blacktop at Mercer Middle School throwing a Frisbee. The program was brand new, and that fall season we had about 40 or 45 kids playing mixed ultimate in the Seattle Public school league. We had no transportation, school support, which meant that my mom and another mom on the team had to run everything. It was a complete mess, but I loved throwing the Frisbee, and was instantly hooked.
What are some highlights or flashpoints in your career?
Watching Sockeye and the U19 team play against teams from around the world hooked me on the idea of really trying to become good at the sport. The standout highlight was getting to play in an exhibition game at worlds 2008 against a Vancouver team called Vertically Challenged. Aside from that, winning Westerns and YCC in 2011 with Khalif El-Salaam, Jesse Bolton, Killian Marsh, Alex Wells, and Reid Koss definitely stands out.
What’s your favorite drill and why?
Favorite drill is definitely Redemption; I love a shoulder fake.
What is the biggest mental lesson you’ve learned throughout your years?
Not making the U19 worlds squad in 2012 really made me reevaluate my commitment and love for the game.
What throw have you had to work on the most?
The throw I continue to work on is my forehand Huck, it’s still not where I want it to be at all.
What’s the greatest challenge you’ve had to overcome as a player? As a teammate?
My greatest personal challenge with ultimate has always been staying out of my own head and being able to put the game I’m playing in into context. I always try and pour 100 percent of my emotion into my play, which at times has made it a challenge to remain a good teammate and not be overly self-critical. I think also being on teams with crazy athletes my entire life has made me work harder to find other ways to be successful on offense.
Who has most influenced you in the ultimate community and why?
My middle school coaches Sam Terry and Rex Gaboen instilled that initial love for the sport, as well as showing me that inclusiveness and progressive values are integral parts of Ultimate. Alex Wells coached me at the Northwest School and on my YCC teams during the summer. He had complete confidence in me on the field from the first varsity tryout my freshman year, which has helped me grow as a player and a person immensely. [Breeze teammate] Jonathan Neeley here in DC is also extremely influential. The meticulous way he thinks about Ultimate, and his consistent positivity and attention to detail have been amazing examples for me to try and replicate.
What are you looking forward to most about playing for Breeze 2016?
I’m really excited to play alongside great throwers like Alan Kolick and Brett Matzuka, as well as playing with a world renowned coach like Duchy. Playing in Montréal in front of a French speaking crowd also seems really cool.
— Libby Chamberlin, Breeze Staff Writer