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Editor Letter From The Editor

Ultimate Athlete Magazine

Dear Readers, Thanks for joining us during the mid-summer lull in college sports action. Our favorite college athletes have been training tirelessly behind the scenes for their upcoming seasons, but the athletic fields have remained vacant and devoid of action. If you’re reading this, you haven’t yet thrown your computer out the window in a fit of hysteria from a lack of sports, so stay with us; there is only a little while longer until the fall season begins. In the meantime, let us bring you what college athletes have been doing during the summer months to prepare for their seasons and occupy their competitive spirit. Some of them are training to excel when they take the field next season, such as Rutgers’ Miles Mack, who is playing in a summer league in front of newly energized Rutgers fans excited about the team’s improvement. The star recruit hopes to bring the program to new levels and take a national championship back to his home state. Several of the area’s college baseball players have taken to Hamptons Collegiate Baseball, where they play against their peers—when they aren’t chilling on the beach—with the hopes of developing their skills to take their game to the next level, even that of the major leagues. For some local college athletes, the summer is their season. Surfers and sailors, like Suffolk County’s Jimi Sobeck, take to the water during the summer after a winter full of anguished anticipation. He is aiming at a shot to windsurf for the United States in the 2016 Olympics. His skills were on full display during the 2011 East Coast Windsurfing festival in East Islip, N.Y. Come with us as we explore these stories and many more in our second and final summer edition. Happy Reading, Mike Browning College Sports Editor

Paul Corace N.J. Comanzo

PUBLISHER/CEO EXECUTIVE EDITOR

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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Mike Browning Mike Raimo Jeff Haber Robert Brewer Dr. Tom Ferraro Joe Pietaro Mike Mejia, cscs Matt Sugam CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Morgan Harrison Adil Borluca Michael Samuels Andrew Adler Mike Browning Matt Sugam COVER PHOTOGRAPHY COVER ARTWORT

Morgan Harrison

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ultimateathletemagazine.com ultimate Ultimate Athlete Magazine (ISSN 1931-5295) is published 12 times a year by Ultimate Athlete, Inc., 40 Woodbine Avenue, Northport, New York 11768. All contents copyright 2009 by Ultimate Athlete, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use in whole or part of the content without the prior written consent of Ultimate Athlete, Inc. is strictly prohibited. All logos and trademarks are the properties of their respective owners. Although the writers and the publisher have exhaustively researched all sources to ensure the accuracy and the completeness of the information contained in this publication, we assume no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. The opinions expressed in all materials are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of Ultimate Athlete, Inc or Long Island’s Ultimate Athlete Magazine.


SUMMER 2011 Volume II

Conten

S T CONTEN


nts Featur Features

12 Jay Card Now a Lizard

18 Hamptons Baseball League Baseball Rising in the East

22 John Starks Foundation A Shot at an Education

26 Thrust Surf Contest Surfing for a Great Cause

30 Huntington Ultimate Summer League HUSL Ultimate Frisbee

36 Golden Stick

“A Game Taken Too Far”

40 East Coast

Windsurfing Festival

48 Myles Mack

Rutgers’ Prized Recruit

54 Sports Psychology Are You Having Fun Yet?

58 UA Training Short Circuit

66 Pro Corner

Picture Perfect - Derek Jeter


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Photo by Morgan Harrison

Olympic Hopeful Jimi Sobeck of Suffolk Community College gets some air during the freestyle competition at the East Coast WindsurďŹ ng Competition in East Islip, N.Y.

SPEED

SHUTTER


SHUTTER

SPEED

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SouthHampton Breakers Shortstop Robb Scott turns a double play despite efforts from a hard sliding J.J. Franco of the Sag Harbor Whalers.

Photo by Morgan Harrison


L

ook no further than this year’s MLL draft for evidence of lacrosse’s shifting landscape. Stony Brook University’s Kevin Crowley of New Westminster, British Columbia being taken first overall signifies the recent infusion of Canadian players into American collegiate lacrosse, where the scoring charts have been crowded with imports that would not be there only a few years ago. Jay Card, a fixture in the offensive zone at James M. Shuart Stadium the past four years with the Hofstra Pride and for the foreseeable future with the Long Island Lizards, fits the prototype. He is among the players with finishing skills that are seducing College coaches throughout the country.

“It’s just exploded; the amount of Canadian guys has tripled,” Card said. “You have guys like Kevin Crowley and Jordan McBride, who played on team Canada, now playing on Long Island.”

up quick scoring strikes via tic-tac passes that must be deposited through small windows, rather than advancing the ball and making runs at the net by dodging defenders like in the United States.

Like his compatriots, Card honed his scoring in the nooks and crannies of box lacrosse, an indoor Canadian brand that better resembles hockey than American field lacrosse. With countryman and fellow attackman Jamie Lincoln of St. Catherine’s, Ontario, they created chemistry that baffled opposing defenders and goalies with quick, lateral passes that often left an open cage for an easy goal.

“Their style is very different,” Card said about his teammates at Hofstra. “They played typical American field lacrosse style, I’m used to run and gun and get to the net, so at first it was a little bit of a challenge. But I had great teammates and coaches to take the time to turn me into a player.”

Its smaller dimensions, tiny nets and large goalies make the focus of box setting

With only twenty seconds to shoot the ball after a team gains possession and with all the contact of hockey, a box lacrosse game can conjure up images of pinball. 13

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As a result, Canadians have become scoring specialists with a knack for finding the back of the cage, but with traditionally underdeveloped skills in other areas. They have largely been relegated to the offensive zone as attackmen, but their propensity for scoring has made them vital components of the contemporary championship formula. Enter Brodie Merrill. One would be remiss to mention the diffusion of Canadian players into the U.S. without mentioning Merrill’s contribution. Head Coach at Card’s Alma matter, Hill Academy, and a close family friend of the Cards, Merrill has served as a mentor to young Canadian players nation-wide. His game was groomed in the United States, attaining All-America status at the Salisbury School in Connecticut and then at Georgetown University. After attaining the highest levels of success at two lacrosse institutions, he brought the nuances of field lacrosse north of the border.

tribute right away at the NCAA level, and in other capacities than just pure scorers. “Typically, Canadians have a reputation as finishers and finish the ball well, but Canadian guys are starting to adjust to field lacrosse style,” Card said. “I watch [American guys] dodge and they help me with that and I help them with scoring from close quarters.” Card, despite playing on the Canadian national team, was relatively unknown before he was scouted by one of Hofstra’s assistant coaches at a Turkey Shoot tournament in Ithaca, N.Y. His aptitude in scoring at such a young age was a coach’s dream and Hofstra jumped at the chance to fold him into their program. “We noticed right away the way he can shoot the lacrosse ball and put the ball in the goal,” Tierney said. “He plays tough and plays with an edge and has a will to win.”

“It all started with Brodie Merrill,” Card said. “He was the innovator of Canadians going down and playing in the United States. He got my age group involved and me involved.”

122 goals and 61 assists later, Card has left a sterling legacy at Hofstra, earning All-American honorable mention in his senior season. Continuing on the path blazed by Merrill, Card entered the MLL draft.

Not only is Merrill preparing young Canadians for the American game, he advances their careers by serving as a liaison between them and college coaches at top universities.

“I wanted to play at the highest level and [Division I] was my first goal,” Card said. “My final goal was to play professionally and I didn’t care where I went and I just wanted to get to that level.”

“Brodie and I talk a lot,” said Hofstra Head Coach Seth Tierney. “I coached against him when I was at Hopkins [when he played for Georgetown] and he was a bear to go against. Now I think Brodie and I have a very good relationship and he understands what we have done with Jay Card.”

He was selected by the team that has been keeping a close watch on him the past four years, the Long Island Lizards. Wanting to cash-in on his offensive talent, the Lizards swiped Card in the second round to be a scoring specialist at James M. Shuart Stadium long into the future.

“Canada, western Canada, Brodie knows the guys,” Tierney said. “You don’t have to go to the Hill Academy to know what Brodie does.”

Living only a few blocks from the stadium and having known many of his new teammates from his days at Hofstra made the transition possibly one of the easiestever for a MLL draftee. The Lizards were a clear-cut first choice for Card, who still can’t believe

Merrill’s influence has made Canadians more prepared to con14

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how well his young professional career is unfolding. “I had a lot of fans that followed me through collegiate career and brings my comfort level to a whole new level and also factored to the transition,” he said. Card’s support net casts even wider than that. Needing to hold a career in the professional world to support himself, staying close to the academic community and his professor’s industry contacts are key for a recent college graduate, especially given the dubious prospects of the current job market. Card, who studied linguistics and business at Hofstra, is looking to crack the business world. “I’m looking to get into some type of sales or investment banking,” Card said. “I want to be able to use my athletic experiences, hard work and work ethic I’ve developed over the last four years to be able to relate it my personal goals.” Card has been given the best chance to thrive in his new environment, which is really still his old environment. With Hofstra academics, athletics and the Lizards a major part of his life the past four years, Card, once a foreigner not only to the United States, but the game he was given a free ride to play, has made Hempstead, NY his home. “The biggest thing with me with coaching these guys is the word “experience” and my relationship with them,” Tierney said. “I have great experience and relationship with Jay and all the guys that graduate under my tutelage. We may not win a national championship while they’re here, but I want to make sure the experience goes beyond the four years. I want to stay with Jay and guide him as he enters this stage in the real world.” “Jay has a bunch of job interviews right now, solidifying what he wants to do in his life,” Tierney continued. “Everyone changes their profession and right now he has many great opportunities, a lot of him having to do with the success he had here and how he handles himself as a person.”


Story // Mike Browning | Photos // Morgan Harrison

merica’s best baseball prospects dutifully hone their craft year-round so that when the high summertime sun shines down like a stage spotlight, they are prepared to take advantage of the attention. However, while no state covets baseball quite like New York, the temperamental weather of the Northeast hardly makes it a prolific developer of major league and college prospects. Beyond the Yankees, Mets and their minor league affiliates spattered throughout the metropolitan area, New York seems devoid of elite baseball; at least compared to the hotbeds (no pun intended) south of the Mason Dixon and on the West Coast. The Cape Cod League is the golden standard for prospect showcase in the Northeast, but its infamy and prestige have never been replicated and probably never will. Unknown to baseball fans at large, but creeping to the attention of major league organizations, the fertile land of eastern Long Island is also cultivating a brand of baseball that may change the perception of prospect development in New York. Hamptons Collegiate Baseball, a five-team division of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League, has been in existence since 18 2007 and has since attracted an influx of rising stars from the colULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE

lege ranks. Unlike the Cape Cod League, which features older players ready to turn pro, HCB draws mostly underclassmen, some of which plan on returning the following season. Beautiful beaches, affluent areas and active nightlife make the Hamptons an identical draw to Cape Cod off the field, but the rows of bleachers filled with scouts pointing radar guns like a regiment of colonial soldiers are what currently separate the two. Although a few scouts do show up at HCB games and the designated pro scout day, and five of its players were drafted in the 2011 MLB First Year Player draft, it is nevertheless a developmental league, while Cape Cod is a showcase league. “We are trying to fill a certain niche,” said HCB president Rusty Leaver. “I’ll take for a long time the best freshman and sophomores—I’ll take that territory. It’s good territory where scouts aren’t going to gravitate out here right now, but ultimately, when we are more successful and there are a multitude of valuable players on each team, scouts will spend a day a night and a day out here. You have to have patience and draw them out.” Leaver, a rancher, businessman and philanthropist with


deep roots in Montauk and an eye for successful ventures on the East End, has never shied away from creating events that he believes will be wildly popular. Owner and operator of Deep Hollow Ranch in Montauk, the oldest cattle ranch in the United States and popular tourist attraction, he has produced Wild West shows, concerts and corporate events that attract sponsors, donors, spectators and world class talent en masse. Perhaps his most widely known endeavor, the Back at the Ranch Concert Series, which draws 10,000 fans and attracts talents such as Paul Simon, Billy Joel, James Taylor, Jimmy Buffett and James Brown, raised over $2.5 million for charitable organizations and landmarks on the East End last year and best illustrates his philanthropic clout. Like any of his other endeavors, HBC was conceived from Leaver’s sense of potential, passion for helping the community and love of showmanship. It gave his son, Gardner, a promising pitcher for the University of Rhode Island, a chance to play competitive baseball without having to leave Long Island, while also raising money for the community. “We had the experience of taking huge events that had a good effect on the community,” Leaver said. “We had a love of baseball and real appreciation for what it meant not only to our son, but our family. It’s a very healthy thing to be a part of, and we liked it and saw an opportunity there.”

tion that may one day rival the Cape Cod league. For now, Leaver and the five teams are happy to serve as a trustworthy platform for college coaches to send their players to get playing time and at-bats against elite competition with the focus on development rather than wins. “It’s a new league--they’re trying to establish it for it to be a good learning experience because mainly, they’re all freshman and sophomores, [so] a lot of them haven’t played too much during the year-- they just want to get better during this season so they’re better prepared for next fall,” said Michiel Van Kampen, Ospreys assistant coach. “We want to win, but the main goal is to get all the players better get them quality playing time and if in the end we win a bunch of games, well then that’s a bonus.” Stuart Turner, a catcher on the South Hampton Breakers, is projected to be a collegiate star, but was not ready to hold the starting catcher position for Louisiana State University-Eunice last season and was recommended for HBC to cultivate his raw talent. “I know I won’t be starting everyday [at school] so I’ll take an

So, with the guidance of a baseball think tank featuring Long Island college coaches and major league scouts including Paul Gibson, perhaps the leading authority on Long Island baseball, and Leaver’s ability to attract financial and community support, the league was launched with the Sag Harbor Whalers as a member of the Kaiser division of Atlantic Collegiate Baseball. The team won the division and reached the ACBL title game in the first year of its inception. The Whalers had tremendous backing from the community, which came to see players like Phil Klein, now a pitcher for Youngstown State, lead the ACBL in ERA. “The community supported it, and my interest was bringing back free family entertainment with no charge for games,” Leaver said. “The other two big things were whatever funds we could raise or attract and whatever community spirit we could bring to bear would go to fixing up community fields on eastern Long Island. “Inspiring youth baseball, fixing up facilities has become a mainstay,” he said. “We accomplish that and hope to do a lot more.” With donors like comedian Jerry Seinfeld and J. Crew Group CEO Mickey Drexler, and major sponsors like Prudential and Bridgehampton National Bank, HBC has grown into a 5-team house format with a stable foundation from which to grow into an organiza-

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who come from all over the country, stay with volunteer host families that essentially adopt them as one of their own for their stay on Long Island. Brian Monette, a pitcher for the Ospreys and at Southern Illinois University, is benefiting from the relationship forged from his host family as much as the experiences on the field. “My host family is Pete Castillo, he’s a single guy who’s 26, 27 years old,” Monette said. “One of the cool things is that he was a pitcher in college--he played at Virginia Tech. He owns his own business. He designs waterfalls and architectural landscaping, so I’m gonna be doing a lot with that, so I’m going to be working with him over the summer to make some extra money. “I knew the league has been around for a couple years and that there’s host families, said Castillo, Monette’s “host parent.” “I was approached by a friend about it, and immediately I said yes. I understand what they’re trying to do with the league and understand baseball. I was an athlete and played at Virginia Tech and used to travel all over the country and what people do for others, and help them out and at the end, it’s to play baseball and I could understand that. “He’s willing to [work] and that’s a great thing that he’s helping out a helping hand [and] can learn in other ways, not just in baseball and I give him as much knowledge as I can. Maybe it can help him become a better player and person. At the end, you have to have a backup plan.” The seed of growth has taken root in the community and is being nurtured by solid baseball minds and a sound economic model. The talent is arriving each year and steadily improving, producing an increasingly dynamic and exciting product. Like one of the East End’s many cornfields or wineries, HBC will eventually blossom into the summer showcase league that many know it will be.

opportunity to watch the other catchers and learn how they do things; just all the learning experience and just get better at the same time,” Turner said. “Just using wood bats will help a lot when I go back to aluminum-just making solid contact with wood bats will help with that.” Robb Scott, a sophomore infielder for the Breakers and at Bucknell University, was drawn to the locale of HBC, but soon became aware of the benefits of playing under the watchful eye of its coaches and staff. “My freshman year I wasn’t an everyday starter and getting to come out here and playing everyday was really big for me,” said Scott. “To come back my sophomore year having a lot more experience playing at the college level with good competition it helped out a lot. I felt a lot more prepared then I did coming into my freshman year--I got to meet a lot of guys and play for good coaches and good competition.”

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Free, quality baseball games featuring talent such as Turner have inspired a culture of baseball in the area. As much as HCB gives to the community, the community gives back. The players, ULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE


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F

ormer New York Knicks allstar John Starks was known as a fierce competitor with an unmatched passion for the game of basketball. His epic playoff battles with the likes of Michael Jordan, Reggie Miller and Tim Hardaway are forever etched in the memories of Knick fans. Now, after nearly a decade since he played his last NBA game, Starks is still utilizing his intense passion to provide an opportunity for college bound students to have a leg up on the future.

Long before his fame with the Knicks, Starks was not a highly touted high school athlete and was not awarded a college scholarship. As a result, he struggled with the cost of a higher education and found himself enrolled at four different colleges throughout the mid 80’s before finally settling in at Oklahoma State University, where he finished his college education in 1988. By creating the John Starks Foundation in 1994, Starks hopes to provide a helping hand to future students who may

have suffered through the same financial difficulty as he once did. “Young people are the key to our country’s future, and I would like to give them some opportunities that I didn’t have growing up,” said Starks. “This can give them the best chance to succeed in the future. I can give them the baton and hopefully they can take this baton and run with it all the way to the finish line. If I can help some kids reach their future goals and reach their full potential in life, I’d be very happy with that.” 23

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The John Starks Foundation, a non-profit organization, awards a total of ten to fifteen scholarships each academic year to various high school students in Starks’ native town of Tulsa, Oklahoma, as well as in the New York/Tri-State area. With over 250 applications each year, scholarship recipients are selected based upon financial need, exemplary academic achievement and a commitment to community service. Since its inception in 1994, the John Starks Foundation has provided over 200 students with academic grants to pursue their college education. In addition to awarding scholarships, the foundation will be creating “Seminars for Success,” which will assist students with the necessary tools needed to complete and submit a college application, prepare for a college or job interview, and finding additional financial aid and internship opportunities.Funding for the John Starks Foundation uses individual and corporate donations, as well as special events to fund the community and scholarship programs. These events include celebrity bowling, casino nights and golfing tournaments. During these events, many New York celebrity athletes have made appearances in support of the John Starks Foundation. Former Knick teammates and NBA legends such as Allan Houston, Patrick Ewing, and Julius Erving among others have all taken to help raise awareness for the John Starks Foundation. “I’ve known John and played with John for a long time, and his passion isn’t just limited to basketball,” said former Knick teammate Allan Houston. “He’s always wanted to use the platform that God has given him to influence people in a good way. John’s foundation is right on target in terms of what we need to be focusing on to ensure the welfare of our children.”

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On Tuesday, June 28th, Starks, along with key volunteers from the John Starks Foundation were on hand at BLT Prime on East 22nd Street in Manhattan at a private dinner to congratulate this year’s class of scholarship recipients. Sponsorship representatives from Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, NY Knicks and UBS were also in attendance. Josh Harrellson, one of the newest members of the Knicks family, also made an appearance at the dinner to show his support for the John Starks Foundation. The six-foot-ten inch rookie from Kentucky University clearly understands the type of influence that Starks still commands

within the New York community. “Once I found out a little more about John and the type of career he had in New York, I thought it would be the right thing to do to come out here and show support. He’s a great role model, not only to the future NBA players like myself, but also to young people everywhere,” he said. If you would like make a donation or find out more information about future events for the John Starks Foundation, please log onto www. JohnStarks.org.


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2011

Surf

Contest

Story By Mike Raimo Photos By Morgan Harrison

Gilgo Beach 26 ULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE


Chris Kluesener Co-Founder

. sener said rial,” Klue sts, so it u e n re p e tr ti ething en o were ar ed som a lot of friends wh iv e c n o c o “I had e man wh r me.” udded in esener, th b lu t a K g and host th is r as easy fo a h e w C id n a a on clothin n to t , e r in k a th t it ta a u s d p , a e g h to rn rom there swin the event, “I decided mote it. F kid, and tu h that feae ro r in full , . g p e e g sy ll n m in u a o b n c m c n g u a c su s yo pin b ea rs ru ith his head a ds are kee of events where ay at the t, five yea d in n e , e e k v d v rs ti ll m e a te a fe o a n r s f is o ip su th A c anti letes art. into g up ians, ly c d in d h k si n le a a a u ig o ir h t s m g n sp e in s, ’s v it it th st aining for sees this e rfing, clo local arti Whether e job, or tr y. Take tures su ew York, Kluesener pporting m su ti tr a ” p . it k N ing a activ test. int for the giving bac Babylon, rays, work mmer is a time for just a con a rally po ds and nd Art n n n a a e ie e th st b fr su te s re y , n a o n o ts h a r is one of ch as m dm urf C fall spo e Gilgo Bea munity. It rs the nger, I ha th u fe m l Thrust S r o a ’t o y c n u su s n g re a n e d n w A n fi w I r t the 5th “When Long Isla ale things tha ted to do Long Island su a large sc ich gives tting into an e g w I re e o s w Show, wh t only compete in l, ir t tha et the d lega g n a to o e n s v st ti to c ti r u chance g Island a most prod ut for Lon contest, b . g ices flowin creative ju

W

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the places that helped surfing emerge on the east coast over forty years ago, and with the addition of the Thrust Surf Contest and Art Show, surfing began to grow rapidly on Long Island. “This is the 5th annual Thrust event, and is always a very popular event.” Kluesener said. “You get the surfers, you get the artists, you get the surf goers. They all come down and support Gilgo beach. We’re also raising money for the Gift of Life Foundation.” Aside from the great surfing and exciting artists, the Thrust Surf Contest and Art Show is also very involved in raising money for the Gift of Life charity. “The Gift of Life is a program that we’ve been working with for three years now,” Kluesener said. “What they do is that they find children around the world with congenital heart defects. This year we’re focusing on the country of Jamaica. We found this little girl, Richie Ann, and we raised $5,000, which was enough money to give a heart surgery. So, by selling t-shirts, surfing, and selling murals, we we’re able to give a little girl a second chance.” The contestants’ ages vary from children of eight years old to men and women in their sixties. Recognized as a qualifying event for the Northeast Regionals, the event is looked

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at closely by not only the local surfing community, but the national one as well. Each surfer has the opportunity to compete in the short board, long board, and body board events. The judges look for the critical radical maneuvers in the critical part of the wave. Aside from the surfer, the wave selection is a crucial part of the competition. By choosing the right wave, it helps the surfer in their quest for first prize. Aside from the impressive surfers that flock to Gilgo, the artists display identical talent and creativity. If anyone has ever been to Gilgo, they have walked through the tunnel that leads from the parking lot to the beach. It has gone from a graffiti-filled slab of concrete to a beautiful mural painted by local artists through Thrust. “What we did was that we went to the local government through art,” says Kluesener. “Everyone was skeptical at first, but after the first year everyone was shocked at how beautiful it was, and they invited us back.” Five years later, artists come from all over to show off their portraits. From their canvases to the tunnel of Gilgo, improvement through art is a major motif at this event. “I did five murals in the tunnel,” says Theresa Christensen, a local artist who has been

at the Thrust Surf Contest and Art Show for the past five years. When asked what her favorite mural to paint was, Christensen responded, “the Volkswagon bus. I feel that’s the one people have responded to the best. It gives local beach goers a sense of nostalgia to forty, fifty years ago.” The artists are there not only to show off their own artwork, but to be a part of something positive. “This is my beach. I love what Chris is doing here, and I think the tunnel looks great,” Christensen said. Every year Gilgo Beach has been a hot spot for surfers and artists. By not only having fun, the Thrust Surf Contest and Art Show has given people a way to change the world. Whether it’s raising money to save a child’s life, or by simply picking up trash at Gilgo, everything helps. “Surfers are environmentalists. The theme of the event is giving back,” says Kluesener. If you’re looking to enter the surf contest, show off your artistic ability, or enjoy a nice day at the beach, the Thrust Surf Contest and Art Show is the best way to go.


Frisbee Players on Long Island like to HUSL

O

On a late Thursday afternoon, seven players raise their hands to shade their eyes from the blinding sun as it sets. They move towards their designated areas as a flying white disc flies over their heads. Team captain Chris Grenier runs back to catch it and calls out a play. “Ho Stack! Ho Stack!” he yelled as the players run into their formation. The players started passing the disc fluently up the field. Players on the outside of the field are cutting in towards the player with the disc, or the handler; the players on the inside were cutting deep and to the outside of the field. One crisp throw after the next, until one player ran to the outside corner of the end zone and leaped up over the defender to catch the last pass, scoring a point for his team.

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When one thinks of Ultimate Frisbee, many think of barefooted-skinny college students in tie dyed shirts. Yet this steULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE

reotype is mainly false. HUSL, Huntington Ultimate Summer League, is a beginner Ultimate Frisbee league focused on improving each player’s skills. The rapidly growing game has become a popular sport among college campuses across the nation. Chris Grenier and Patrick McCourt created HUSL in the summer of 2008, after playing the game for about a year. It started out as just a league for their friends in Huntington. “It was mostly just friends, but then it grew through word of mouth and through the USA Ultimate website,” said Grenier. “Year after year it’s been growing. It’s not really our Huntington friends anymore--it’s ultimate players across the island. We had 80 or 90 [players] registered but now we have around 200 [players].” HUSL splits the players into eight teams, which compete in games up to 15 with halftime once a team gets to eight points


U H S L

BY JEFF HABER | PHOTOS BY ADIL BORLUCA

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with no time restrictions. The league is four weeks into the season as they play in two games a week with a clinic once a week. The clinic serves as a practice where players come to learn about new plays, formations, and techniques.

that’s what this club is really meant for.”

“Each week they go over a different topic and it introduces a new level of play, and then in the following two games you’re allowed to incorporate what you just learned at the clinic,” said Phil Kong, an experienced player from Glen Cove. “Everyone will show up to the clinic and they will all participate in one or two drills designed to teach them that specific skill set and then they will play a couple games to incorporate it.”

“The games are very intense but they’re good spirited and everyone is respectful,” said Huntington Station player Lee Meller, who is a rookie in HUSL. “If someone calls you out on something then you usually genuinely did it. Someone is not just saying that to be a sore loser.”

The organization used to have team practices but this year they switched to clinics to unite the group. Because HUSL is a beginner league, they want everybody to learn the same aspects of the game and everybody to be on the same page. Each team has an experienced player who serves as a captain whose goal is to unite the team. HUSL does not want the league to feel like it is just a bunch of pick up games but rather the feel of a college or club team. They also communicate from the board members the rules and how things are going to be run. In addition, the captains manage substitutions so everyone gets the same amount of playing time. “The experienced players are great because they help teach beginners and they act as role models of how they [the beginners] should look to play,” Grenier said. “As far as games and competition, we try to make games competitive but we also try to maintain a level of fun and learning. We don’t want people to be distraught or scared or too intimidated. We try to keep it as relaxed as possible. It’s always more fun when it is competitive.” The atmosphere of the HUSL clinics and games are very laid back and relaxed. This is he biggest difference between HUSL and other summer leagues or college clubs. Along with the location of the organization, this seems to be one of the most attractive features of the league. “This one [HUSL] really stands apart [from other Frisbee leagues] because it’s oriented towards every skill level,” said Huntington player Marlena Luhr. “I just want to relax and teach other people and build a stronger Frisbee culture on Long Island. I think

32 ULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE

Since ultimate does not have any referees, the captains call lines (if a player is out of bounds) during the games. The players call their own fouls.

HUSL also consists of more than just college players. The group has players as young as 17 and as old as 50. Some of the athletes play just for fun because the love the game, while some said that they play to stay in shape over the summer. Most of the players who are in college play for their college team. The players play to improve their game for the fall semester. Because there are so many different players with different backgrounds the league has become the center of different playing techniques. Guys who are 50 years old have game plans from back when they played in the 70s, while players who played in college have different strategies from playing in tournaments and on a team. Players at different colleges have different strengths and weakness so everybody helps each other out. “The majority of our members are in college or on college teams,” Grenier said. “It’s guys who come into the summer knowing that they have to work on something and they know that here they can try it, mess up and it will be ok because there will always be someone here who can help out.” He went on to explain, “It’s not just college kids. It’s adults who haven’t played in years who come back [and] need to learn it over again or are looking for ways to improve. Even the really good experienced are looking to play and mess around to get a little bit better.” As the sun has set, the players walk off the field and to their cars. They play till it is too dark to see the Frisbee flying in the air. Grass, mud and sweat stains cover their jerseys as if they were painted on by an artist. The players breathe heavily and are feeling sore, but a large smile on the faces lets everyone know the game was fun.


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WIFFLE BALL

•••


r a F o o T y a W n e k a T A Backyard Game a Peters

T

: Jessic By : Jeff Haber | Photos by

The Wiffle ball whips out of the pitcher’s hand, slicing towards the plate and emitting a low whistle as air shoots through its holes. The ball, barely recognizable from when it was taken out of the box, has been scuffed up with dirt, knife cuts and a cheese grater to give it more movement. Traveling at around 80 mph, it takes less than half of a second to reach home plate. Already with only fractions of a second to react, the batter must also contend with the ball’s dramatic cuts and dips that many of the league’s pitchers can use to hit the black strike zone box at will. The batter takes a hack and swings the bat with all his might, but no luck; it takes more skill than imagined to make contact with these elusive pitches. Around eight Wiffle ball fields took up field eight at Cedar Creek Park for the Long Island Golden Stick Wiffle Ball Tournament, part of Golden Stick’s Tournament Circuit. As many as twenty teams from all around the United States showed up to compete for over $1,000 in prize money. According to Rob Longiaru, the New York Regional Director for Golden Stick Wiffle Ball, this was the single largest event Golden Stick has run outside of the national tournaments. Golden Stick in 2002 after running his own backyard tournament in Massachusetts. Since then, it has grown from small a tournament amongst friends to a full-blown Wiffle ball league with divisions in four states and a national championship in Las Vegas. They also run a tournament circuit in 15 major cities across the United States with the national championship in Boston.

“We ran a tournament with no intentions of doing this, it was just in my yard really but we got 18 teams. In my life I’ve always been taking things a bit too far,” Levesque said. The explosion of the league gave rise to its slogan, “a backyard game taken way too far.” The tournament added ten local teams to Golden Stick, but also had players travel from as far as St. Louis. Once only a kids game, Wiffle ball has become little league for adults as Golden Stick players range from ages as young as 12 to older players in their 40s. “We have guys from everywhere,” Longiaru said. “The farthest player we have would be Jim Powell from [St. Louis] who’s on my team, Bad Chemistry, [which also has] guys from Massachusetts, New Hampshire [and] Pennsylvania.” Golden Stick consists of two different league difficulties: fast pitch and yard ball (or medium pitch). Yard ball is a bit different in that there is more offense and the game relies more on defense. The pitchers use finesse, because they may not exceed 45 mph. According to Levesque, this creates an “anybody can win” attitude. In the fast pitch leagues, pitchers can throw as hard as they want, with the average speed clocking in around 80 mph. The tournament’s best pitcher, Sean Steffy, or wiffleboy28 as he is known on YouTube, can throw over 90 mph. “Originally when I saw them on YouTube, I said ‘I wanted to be that guy’. I want to be out there on that same field with them, and now I’m one of the guys who’s showing people how to be out here on the field and how to play,” Steffy said. “That’s a huge jump for me and I feel really blessed.” 37 WWW.ULTIMATEATHLETEMAGAZINE.COM


• The ball is not the same one that is taken out of the small cardboard box brand new and fresh. Players “scuff ” the ball up, not by just rubbing some dirt on it but rather taking a knife and creating grooves in the ball. This makes the ball move through the air faster and can cause some serious break to the ball. A brand new ball will only move around six inches, but a ball that has grooves in it can move as much as six feet. “Each player has their own style of ball. Some take knives and cut small half circles in the ball,” said David Wegrzyn, a member of the Blue Razors while looking at a game ball in his hand. “This one, someone took a cheese grater to the top of it and made cuts at the bottom. This is all legal in the game and each ball is different in its own way.” The bats used are not the typical flimsy, yellow plastic bats that come in a standard Wiffle ball set either. The fast pitch players use “Moonshot bats,” a special type of bat made out of carbon fibers, the same material a prosthetic leg is made out of. The bats are a bit heavier, but the barrel is the size of an average baseball bat. With a normal yellow bat, the chance of hitting a ball moving at 80 mph with a six-foot break would be nearly impossible, but with Moonshot bats, the odds of making contact become much higher. The bats make the ball travel farther, creating more home runs, or hits traveling 90 to 100 feet. The sport is played with just four players in the field, including the pitcher. There is no running except a trot around the bases after a home run. If a single, double or triple is hit, an invisible runner is put on base. The home run walls are inflatable and are two or three feet high, with foul poles twice that height. If a groundball is hit, the fielder must field the ball cleanly and throw it to the backstop. If he hits the backstop, the batter is out, but if there is a runner on base,

38 ULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE

then the runner advances. If the fielder hits the strike zone, the lead runner is out. “I’m proud and real excited. A lot of people have been watching me do this; making no money saying ‘why?’ And it’s starting to show as we’ve got all kinds of new teams today here on Long Island,” Levesque said. All the money raised goes towards the organization. The winning team and sometimes the second and third place teams get 60 percent of the prize money, while the other 40 percent of the money goes towards buying equipment to put up the fields and the cost of the event. Within that 40 percent, some of the money goes towards sending the league regional winners on an all-expense-paid trip to Las Vegas to compete in the League National Championship. “We grew from just a couple regions to last year where we ran 76 events in 15 cities across the country with leagues and tournaments combined and that was just with a few contributors,” Levesque said. “We have 300 to 400 players in our player body, but nationally hundreds of thousands play Wiffle ball recreationally and there’s only a few doing it competitively.” In the final four of the tournament, Wiff Inc. defeated The Phenoms, the 2009 National Champions, while Wiffaholics defeated Steffy, Wegrzyn and the Blue Razors. The Wiffaholics defeated Wiff Inc to win the tournament 3-2 after a walk off home run by Paul “The Painter” McBride. All the teams participating in this tournament qualified for the GSTC National Championship in Boston, Massachusetts on September 17 and 18.


• 39 WWW.ULTIMATEATHLETEMAGAZINE.COM


M

Written by: Mike Browning Photos by: Michael Samuels

Mike Burns looked out over the choppy water. The Great South Bay resembled a vat of dirty dish water, meeting the drab skies half-way and enveloping the scene in a dismal hue. The cool temperature and a blustery wind that whipped anything not tied-down, made it impossible to enjoy the beach without a wet suit and a sail. But while the rest of Heckscher State Park was virtually devoid of human life, nearly 100 Windsurfers sliced through the grey matter like enormous Technicolor shark fins. Surf vans with bumper stickers enveloping their exteriors and racks on the roof including a gigantic Austrian military surplus transport vehicle lined the parking spaces in field 6. Sailors from all over the area came to celebrate their passion for what has become an increasingly isolated sport for its participants. Already sporting a deep tan in early June and clad in a soaked black wetsuit, Burns, a talented freestyle sailor, seemed uncomfortable watching the action from the beach-especially with the best wind blowing at his event since he started it four years ago. Forged from necessity rather than gratuity, the East Coast Windsurfing Festival fills a totally barren niche, drawing novice and expert sailors from all over the world who lust for the rare opportunity to sail amongst their fellow enthusiasts in a non-competitive environment. Tom Deehan, a 48-year-old freestyle sailor from upstate New York, helped keep time for one of the races. With his wet suit half-on, he stood in the ankle-deep water, stop-watch in hand. Despite the inclement weather, he looked truly content knowing that he was fill-

ing an important role in the progression of his sport. A social worker, he carves time out of his schedule to travel to the coast to sail and come to East Islip each year to participate in the festival. “It’s very inspiring to see other sailors come down to compete,” he said. It’s great to come down every year and share your passion and learn from guys who are better than you.” The event’s predecessor, “King of the Cape,” ran from 1999-2004 in Cape Cod and was the premier wind surfing event on the East Coast. Well-known around the world, it attracted hundreds of sailors, vendors, sponsors and spectators while carefully navigating strict permit and insurance restrictions. King of the Cape dwindled after 2004, with swelling numbers of participants of previous years complicating the insurance and permit process and sponsors vying for influence to profit from the event adding unwanted red tape. Once the organizer moved to Maui, it became too large to sustain itself and eventually collapsed under its own weight. “Once he left, it was turned over to local shops and people organizing it,” Burns said. “They couldn’t deal with all the issues like insurance and getting permits and couldn’t get the money backing. The sponsors made it more about the money than the sport itself.” Seeing the writing on the wall and sensing its imminent downfall, Burns knew he could rebuild the event on Long Island and shield it from the “nonsense and fun police,” that proved to thwart the King of the Cape. So, with the powers that be at Heckscher


Park more than happy to facilitate his vision, sailors of all ages and backgrounds now make the pilgrimage each year to share their passion and have fun; not compete.

“I’m not doing it for money or anything,” he stressed. “I’m doing it to get more people into it. I have more people seeing how fun it is.”

“The key is to keep it small, less visual,” Burns said. “Once it gets too big, too many people get involved to try to make money off of it. It’s all about fun. Guys were out here last year having a great time, pushing each other off the boards even though there was no wind. When competition level rises, fun level drops.”

Jimi Sobeck, a 21-year-old student at Suffolk Community College and one of the sport’s best young talents, got into windsurfing much the same way as anyone else--introduced by his mother, a casual sailor-- and put into a few clinics. Recognized by his instructors as an elite talent, he was nudged towards WWW.ULTIMATEATHLETEMAGAZINE.COM

41


giving windsurfing his full attention and is now hopeful that he will represent the United States in the 2016 Olympics. As an ambassador for the sport, Sobeck recognizes the importance of Burns’ creation for the windsurfing community by recruiting more members and raising awareness. “Mike Burns put all this together,” he said as he pointed to the crowded beach. “It started a couple years ago-he basically gets everyone together from Long Island, everyone who sails waves, that races, people that summer out here and throws them all in one parking lot and lets them go at it for a couple hours on the weekend. It’s great.” The festival provides a time for the tight-knit, but spread-out community to sail together, catch-up and show off improvements from the previous year.

42 ULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE


M ore

sailors catch wind of the

e ast c oast w indsurfing f estival

“We’ve got a core group of guys; probably about 10 of us who sail waves all the time out east, and we never really sail flat water anymore so I only see them out in the ocean,” Sobeck said. “I get to see those guys here, all the guys I used to free style with are here, all the people who coached me when I was younger and in the Caribbean. I’ve seen them here and just watching those top guys in free style do their thing is pretty cool.” Deniz Kalayciglio, a 21-year-old resident of Long Island and engineering student at Carnegie Melon University, grew up windsurfing the Mediterranean in her native Turkey. A veteran of windsurfing circuits throughout the world, she realizes how important the event is to the sailors of the temperamental winds and waters of the Northeast. “There aren’t many beaches here, so

43 WWW.ULTIMATEATHLETEMAGAZINE.COM


the fact that there’s one festival where everyone can come and everyone looks forward to is just really amazing. They do a really good job of planning this and making sure its fun for everyone no matter what happens. It wasn’t really windy last year, but we all still had a blast and came out for the two days and it’s a great way to connect with people. A lot of times when you do go on vacation, you end up seeing a lot of people from here in a foreign place.” While passionate windsurfers sail anywhere they can, having a large event to bring

44 ULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE

them together will strengthen the community while accruing new interest, which is vital to its growth in the Northeast. Mike Burns will continue to organize the East Coast Windsurfing Festival to keep ties between the area’s sailors strong and grow the sport in an area where its popularity will not grow organically. With the passion displayed at the festival and the initiative of sailors like Burns, windsurfing in the Northeast has a bright future, even on a cloudy day.


The NFL Youth Football Fund and USA Football salute the players of the 2011 Empire Challenge High School Football All-Star Game. Football teaches its players, coaches and participants valuable life lessons that can be applied both on and off the field. Your participation today is not only a celebration of your all-star season, but also a testament to the perseverance of Empire Challenge Inc. and the Boomer Esiason Foundation. Their tireless efforts in the fight against cystic fibrosis bring those with the disease closer to a cure, and help them live healthier lives.


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48

ULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE

Story and Photos By Matt Sugam

Basketball

Myles Mack


While it took a while for reality to sink in, it didn’t take long for other high schools to begin pursuing the 5-foot-9-inch point guard’s talent. “The day they announced the school’s closing, we arrive home and the phone rings and there’s already another high school, which was Montrose Christian, which heard about the school closing and offered him an opportunity,” Sandy said. Myles took his time choosing a new school. He wanted to go somewhere he felt comfortable and had a basketball coach and program that would benefit him as much as his skill set would benefit them. After some soul-searching, the answer was clear: Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley and his nationally-recognized St. Anthony’s High School. The choice paid dividends. Not only did Mack improve his defense and thicken his skin under Hurley, he led the team to an undefeated season, which culminated in a state and national championship. “He’s a command style coach,” Mack said. “So I had to get used to that because that was the first command style coach that I had. He taught me the angles on defense, so I think that’ll help a lot on the next level.”

T

he tiny gym at St. Rose High School in Belmar was standing room only. The packed bleachers were peppered with scarlet, and the game had a championship vibe despite being only the first night of the Jersey Shore Basketball League season.

Defense is key in Rice’s style of basketball, but what the head coach has really become known for is intensity and tough love. Mack got a good taste of that from Hurley, which will prepare him for what he will experience with Rice over the next few years.

The team the Rutgers faithful had come to see boasted the Scarlet Knights’ entire incoming freshman class; a class that is the highest-ranked in the program’s history. The fans have embraced Rutgers head coach Mike Rice, who won despite an undersized and under-talented roster in his first season. With a highly talented freshman class on the way, there’s an unfamiliar buzz around the program still with five months before the start of the season. While many of the Garden State’s basketball fanatics were seeing these Rutgers basketball players for the first time, there was one familiar face on the floor: Myles Mack. The Paterson native is the state’s top-rated point guard by most recruiting services, and the most highly anticipated Rutgers recruit in years. After a decorated high school career at Paterson Catholic, Mack moved to St. Anthony’s for his senior year. However, he didn’t want to leave his hometown high school—the one he dreamed of playing at—but had to. The June before his senior year, the school closed down. “I didn’t know what to think at the time. I didn’t know it was true,” Mack said. ”I couldn’t really do anything about it. I was emotional for a couple weeks, but I got over it.” The senior-to-be had trouble coming to the realization that his high school dream would not be fulfilled the way it played out in his head. “He just couldn’t fathom the thought that the place that he dreamed of was actually closing its doors,” said his mother, Sandy Mack.

49 WWW.ULTIMATEATHLETEMAGAZINE.COM


When asked if playing under Hurley for a year will acclimate him to Rice’s style, Myles responded “yeah,” with a grin and small chuckle. “It’s going to help a lot,” he said. “When [Rice] says something to me I won’t really get nervous or have a quick reaction to say something back.” Rutgers wasn’t on the national radar under old regimes, but when Rice took over in May of 2010, Rutgers quickly became a relevant member of the Big East. Mack, and Rutgers fans everywhere, noticed how Rice had turned a mid-major in Robert Morris into a back-to-back NCAA Tournament team in just three seasons after an 18-year drought from the big dance. After a couple conversations with Rice, Sandy felt her son could play and benefit from a coach with his passion and expertise. If there’s a next level for her Myles, Sandy feels Rice is the one who can help him get there. Still, Sandy was a bit surprised her son would choose a program that hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament in two decades when he could have gone to UConn, UCLA and just about anywhere in between. But the kid who dreamed of playing for his local high school had his reasons. “If I go to Rutgers I can be a home town kid,” Sandy recalled Myles explaining to her. “If I go to UCLA, someone else is the hometown kid, so why not stay where I already have fans, a lot of people know me, and I’m going to get the support.” And that’s exactly what he is, which has led to the lofty expectations before he steps onto the court in a Rutgers uniform.

As the lone incoming recruit from the University’s own state, Myles has already been labeled as the ambassador for Rutgers to bring in New Jersey’s top talent. The humble point guard is aware of the pressure that has been put on his 160 pound frame. ”I’m going to try to live up to my expectations and try to play well this season,” Myles said. Not surprisingly, his new head coach hasn’t anointed him anything. “Until he goes and does it, then nobody is the face of New Jersey. He now has to perform on a different level. I’m very confident that he can, but I’m not putting that on anybody,” Rice said. “He’s certainly somebody who I’m going to rely heavily on, but I’m not going to say to anybody that he’s the face of anything right now until he actually produces at the Division I level.” Even still, the fan base has already put Myles on that pedestal, and the anticipation for the most decorated recruiting class in school history is an NCAA Tournament berth despite not yet having a practice under Rice. “Until I get with them and until they embrace the level of demand and the coaching and playing with one another it’s hard to say,” Rice said. “I think they’re a talented group that will help us break the drought to the NCAA Tournaments. It’s hard for one guy. I’m not going to say Myles is the guy that’s going to get us to the NCAA Tournament or not.” But fans will. And they already think Myles is that guy.

50 ULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE


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Are you having fun yet?

have a coach that screams. And this begs the question “Is there any room for fun in sports? In this article I will explore this simple question. Many athletes will begin their first session by confiding how much they hate their sport. My favorite story happened this summer. I was asked by a tour player to join him in playing golf with two MLB franchise owners at an exclusive club. It was a very pleasant sunny day for the first 8 holes when the tour player whispers to me on the 9th tee “I can’t take this any longer, tell them that it looks like rain and we have to quit after nine.” The pro hated to play golf.

The key to great performance is the ability to enjoy the sport at all times

A

patient, who is a business man, recently asked me a simple question. ”What happened to fun on the job?” He went on to explain how years ago when the corporate world was more relaxed he would enjoy the fun and laughter on the job but not anymore. Now it’s all grind, grind and more grind. I immediately began to think of how this same grinding attitude prevails in sports. I work with many elite high school athletes and if they have one thing in common it’s that nobody is having much fun. They are all worried, injured, stressed, overworked and 54 ULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE

The key to great performance is the ability to enjoy the sport at all times Far too many athletes take the game too seriously and this only results in anger, injury and tight play The literature on sports and fun reveals two basic points. The most well-known text on the sociology of sports was written by Johan Huizinga entitled Homo Ludens: A study of the play element in culture. He pointed out that sports were played in earnest and in fact were far more serious than ordinary life. Sports offered up beauty, the sacredness of the playing field, many rules to follow and that the


beauty and excitement of games set them apart from life on an unconscious and above life. This may be why we are willing to devote level we all know so much time and money and effort to our sport. how crucial winning Another writer Ernest Becker won a Pulitzer Prize for is especially in big his book Denial of Death where he wrote that sports are games. It may mean a way to achieve heroic victory and our way to overcome getting a scholarship our fear and despair about death. All very heavy stuff. or winning $1,300, Suffice it to say that this literature reinforces our com- 000 as Darren Clarke mon sense awareness that sport is a very serious affair. did when he won the Scholarships are worth as much as $250,000 and sports British Open this accomplishments bring press clippings, community rec- summer. So what is the solution? How ognition and fame. do you stay relaxed and have fun when it’s all on the line? I recommend you A great coach knows how do two things. 1) You must feel rested to relax his players enough physically and socially to be able to relax and enjoy the game you play. No injuries, no burnout and no big social distractions to deal with, 2) then you must be able to see that you are in fact bigger than your sport. You must feel you do not need the win. What I have learned by working with athletes in long term therapy is that the athlete must be accepted and made to feel worthwhile no matter what the outcome. Only then can they relax and play freely. The reason that the Japanese team beat the US in this year’s Fifa World Cup for women is that before the penalty kicks the Japanese coach joked and fooled around and got his players to laugh. That is something that the US coach failed to do. The result was the It is only when you are relaxed that US team was way too tight during the kickoff and lost it you play with grace and power all .Sometimes great coaches can do that for players and The literature in sport psychology suggests that when sometimes you will need a sport psychologist to do this. you take your sport too seriously your performance will Sometimes a parent or a friend can help you see are of suffer. Too much intensity brings with it tight and poor value and thus lesson the pressure. What I do know is play. We know that the more relaxed and fun you are that the key to playing relaxed is to see that sport is only having the better you will play. Hebb coined the term a game and something to be enjoyed and played rather Optimal State of Arousal to describe the idea that too lit- than desperately worked on. Usually you ought to try to tle intensity and too much intensity hurts performance. relax breathe easy and try your best to minimize the presToo much effort and too much focus will make you too sure. Tell yourself how great you are already and go out tight. One must relax and try to have fun in order to play with a smile rather than a grimace. at your best. So we see the conflict. You play at your best when you are light hearted, having fun and relaxed and carefree. But

55 WWW.ULTIMATEATHLETEMAGAZINE.COM


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Story By Mike Mejia, CSCS | Photos By Mike Browning

ith summer finally here, now’s the perfect time to kick back, relax and take a well deserved break from the rigors of scholastic sports. For the next couple of months you can forget all about the endless practices and constant traveling to away games and weekend tournaments. Yet, as much fun as summer can be, it’s not all about beaches and barbeques. Remember, you are still an athlete and will be expected to show up in at least some form of “sports-ready” condition this fall. Not to mention the fact, that you also want to be able to rock the kind of body that people associate with a varsity level competitor, while you’re hanging out poolside with your friends. So, the question is, how can you accomplish both of these goals, without spending too much of your precious summer vacation in the gym? Two words: Circuit Training! Now, I’m not talking about just any kind of circuit training here, mind you. Simply going through a battery of machine based exercises with little to no rest between sets may be fine for the general population, but it’s of little benefit to athletes. Instead, what you need are more functional movements that help improve things like core strength, mobility and explosive power, but strung together in a fastpaced, fat-melting circuit format! By training this way, you’ll accomplish several different things: Increased resistance to fatigue: The continuous pace, combined with the different focus of each exercise (i.e. explosive power, core strength, mobility and change of direction etc.) will really help improve your level of conditioning. It’s also a great way to mimic the constantly changing physical demands you’re exposed to during sports participation. (See below). A workout that’s more suited to your athletic goals: Don’t spend your summer building a body that’s “all show and no go” with lots of leg extensions, biceps curls and other non-functional types of exercises. As an athlete, you need to focus on drills that are going to train movements, not muscles, through multiple planes of motion and at varying speeds. Leave the bodybuilding style workouts to the guys in the Speedos. Radical increases in metabolic rate that lead to improved fat burning: When it comes to getting lean, a lot of people still think it’s all about aerobic training. The truth is, many of the best conditioned and leanest athletes in the world do almost no traditional aerobic training at all! The quick-hitting pace, combined with minimal rest not only more adequately prepares you for the intense anaerobic demands of sports like football, ice hockey and volleyball, but it will help keep your metabolism revving for hours after you’ve finished training- which is the real key to staying lean. The ultimate in convenience: Think about it! A workout that you can do anytime, anywhere, in a fraction of the time it would take to 58 ULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE

do a typical gym based program! All you need is a couple of dumbbells and some open space and you’re good to go. Don’t like training in a stuffy gym? Take it outside and get your workout in at a park, or even your own backyard. Plus, doing so also allows you the option of throwing in some short burst sprints to increase the overall metabolic demand!

The Drills: 1. Dumbbell High Pull x 6-10: Stand holding a pair of dumb-

bells at arm’s length with your palms facing your thighs and knees slightly bent. Begin by quickly dipping down into a quarter squat position and then immediately extending your hips, knees and ankles as you “explode” the weight up by simultaneously shrugging and pulling the weights up until they’re even with your chest. Keep in mind though that the majority of the force is created by your legs; your arms don’t do much work at all here. In the top position you should hold the weight for a split second while up on the balls of your feet, with your legs straight and upper arms out in line with your shoulders. Quickly lower back down and repeat.


AINING 2. Dumbbell Lateral Lunge x 6-8 reps per side (alternating): Begin holding a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length with

your palms facing your thighs. Start by stepping out a couple of feet to your right and quickly dropping your hips down and back in to a squat position. As you do this, be sure to keep your left leg straight, as you allow the dumbbells to line up on either side of your right leg. In the bottom position, your right leg should be parallel to the floor, with your chest up, hips back and your right foot, knee and hip facing forward. Pause for a split second and then press back up and repeat the sequence to the other side.

3. Dumbbell Push-up with Renegade Rows x 8-10:

Begin by getting into a push-up position on top of a pair of dumbbells (*note: hexagonal dumbbells work best for this drill). With your shoulders lined up directly over your wrists, your core braced tight and feet about shoulder’s width apart, start by doing a perfect push-up by lowering your chest to within a few inches of the ground. Next, when you push back up to the top, keep your core tight as you row one dumbbell up until your elbow passes your torso, while balancing on the other arm and both legs. Hold for a second and then lower and repeat to the other side. Continue with another push-up and two more rows until you’ve completed the recommended number of reps.

4. Dumbbell Thrusters x 10-12: Stand holding a pair of dumbells a few inches above your shoulders with your palms facing your head and knees slightly bent. Begin by bracing your core and squatting down while holding the dumbbells in place until you reach a parallel squat position. After pausing for a split second, drive up, out of the squat as you simultaneously press the dumbbells up overhead. Once you get your arms fully extended, lower the weights back down as you drop back into a squat and continue the sequence.

For more great strength and training information from Mike Mejia, Visit his website at www.basesportsconditioning.com 59 WWW.ULTIMATEATHLETEMAGAZINE.COM


UA Training

5. Dumbbell Woodchops x 10-12 per side: Stand hold-

ing one dumbbell up over your right shoulder with both hands and your knees slightly bent (*note: your left arm will be across the front of your body in this position). Your arms should be extended, legs almost straight and you should feel a good stretch across your midsection. Using your core and not your arms, begin by “chopping” the weight down and across your body. As you do this, be sure to squat a little and rotate your shoulders and hips so that in the bottom position, the weight is just outside your left thigh, with your core braced tight. Return the movement back to the top and repeat the prescribed number of reps before switching to the other side.

6. Dumbbell Unilateral Romanian Deadlift x 8-10 per side:

Stand holding a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length with your palms facing your thighs and knees slightly bent. Keeping that same amount of bend in your knees throughout the exercise, begin by pinching your shoulder blades together to activate your upper back, as you “drive” your hips back and begin to lean forward. In the bottom position, your torso should be just about parallel to the ground, with your shoulder blades still held together. You should feel a tremendous amount of stretch in your hamstring sand glutes as you do this. Finally, be sure to keep your core engaged so that your entire back stays flat. Pause in the bottom position for a split second and then drive your heels into the ground to stand back up.

60 ULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE


PRO C Pro Corner: Derek Jeter

PICTURE PERFECT Derek Jeter’s 3,000 Hits Extend to the Small Screen

By Joe Pietaro

F

ans love behind-the-scenes access to their favorite professional athletes. HBO has been one of the leaders in bringing that to television with shows such as “Hard Knocks,” and they were able to take advantage of a story that gripped the entire Tri-State area this summer.

JULY 2011 JULY9, 9, 2011

HIT 3,000 HIT 3,000

62

ULTIMATE ATHLETE MAGAZINE

The hour-long documentary “Derek Jeter 3K” chronicled the New York Yankee captain’s chase into baseball history and reminded all of us just how special a player he is. To become the first Bronx Bomber to ever reach that milestone speaks for itself. The most illustrious franchise in sports history has held so many marks in the National Pastime, but no player has ever amassed that many hits while wearing pinstripes. (Wade Boggs, Rickey Henderson, Dave Winfield and Paul Waner played for the Yankees during their respective careers, but not when they collected hit number 3,000.) This was not lost on Hal Steinbrenner.


O RNER “Derek has always played with a relentless, team-first attitude,” the Yankees managing general partner said. “And that mindset has helped sustain this organization’s objective of fielding championship-caliber teams year after year. It’s only fitting that he reach 3,000 hits during a victory against one of our American League rivals.” Adding the exclamation point, Jeter homered off Tampa Bay’s David Price for the ‘money shot’ on a day where the shortstop went 5-for-5, carrying his team to one-run home win. Jeter became the 28th player in Major League Baseball history to get 3,000 hits and one of his former teammates was not surprised at all. “I had the opportunity to play with Derek when he was a rookie in 1996,” said Boggs, “and I had no doubt that (he) would reach that milestone. He is a very consistent player and he never deviated from his game. When you stay healthy and you are consistent and compile a lengthy career like Derek has done, you have that opportunity to reach the 3,000 hit plateau.” That career has been parallel with the Yankees’ dynasty with four World Series championships and six American League pennants, surely not a coincidence. Jeter has been such a huge part of the winning that is expected every year in the Bronx and was recognized by another member of baseball’s 3,000 hit club. “To have the most hits for the most prestigious franchise in all of sports is pretty special,” said Paul Molitor. “If Derek stays healthy, he has a good chance to rack up a lot more hits.” 3,500 (five players) or even 4,000 hits (only two) are the next plateaus for Jeter to strive for and at the age of 37 that certainly will not be an easy task. But doubting anything Jeter is capable of doing would not be profitable. As a matter of fact, joining Ty Cobb and Pete Rose in the latter category would be deserving of an honor on the Silver Screen.

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College Summer II 2011  

College Summer II 2011

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