Yes, it’s Spring Training. Yes, the NCAA tournament has started. Yes, the NBA trade deadline just happened. But The Great Rabbino wants to give you something totally different. Meet Matt Baum and the American Ultimate Disc League. Enjoy!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Matt Baum. I am a 20 year old Jewish student at the University of Connecticut, and I grew up in New Rochelle, New York. I began playing rec league basketball and youth league baseball at a young age, and I've always been a pretty athletic kid, but loved playing music more than anything. I began taking piano lessons at a young age, and in elementary school began to play the saxophone. I played sax all through middle school and high school, and I am now a Jazz Studies major at UConn. I have also taught myself guitar, and I constantly think about music in everything I do. Being brought up around sports though, I always had that athletic outlet in basketball and baseball.
When did you get involved with ultimate frisbee?
I actually began playing frisbee in middle school during lunch recess, but did not start playing ultimate until I got to high school. My junior year of high school, I saw a poster for the start of an ultimate frisbee club. I went to a few meetings and practices, and immediately became obsessed. I wasn't great in high school, but it was a good way to start playing the sport. I got involved with the ultimate team at UConn (our team name is GRIND) as soon as I began my freshman year, and have been playing ever since. I also played for the club team "Slow Children" this past summer, which gave me a ton of experience with high level ultimate.
What is the American Ultimate Disc League? How did you get involved?
The AUDL is a new league that was recently formed, with the main goal of making Ultimate more accessible and spreading the sport to take it to new heights that the sport has never been to before. The AUDL is doing a ton of promotion and marketing with the main goal of making the sport more mainstream. I got involved after hearing a little bit about it from my teammates, my coach, and other ultimate players. When I first heard about the league, I did not think too much of it. I really did not think that it would be as big as it is today. A few weeks ago, my UConn coachinsisted on a bunch of the UConn guys going to the open tryouts that the Connecticut Constitution were holding. We had nothing to lose, so about 15 of us went. Four of us were invited to the second round of tryouts, and three of us were invited back to the third and final round of tryouts. Those three players, myself included, all ended up making the team.
What are the Connecticut Constitutions chances of winning it all?
I think that the Constitution's chances of winning it all are really good! Next to all of the pure athleticism and talent that we have, our team chemistry is like nothing I've ever been a part of before. Every single guy on the team is incredibly nice, supportive of each other, and has a desire to win that is unparalleled by other athletes. I could not think of a better and more talented group of guys to play with.
How can more people get involved?
More people can get involved by coming to some of the clinics that the Constitution will be holding throughout the season and by contacting the team. The absolute best way to get involved though is to come to a game.
Where do you think the league will be in 10 years?
In 10 years, I see the AUDL becoming huge. I can see this league blowing up and become a national thing. I'm thinking specials and full games covered on ESPN or some other national network. It definitely has the potential to become that big.
What are your aspirations for yourself and team?
I always aspire to become a better player in every aspect, but as a team, I would love to see us win the championship in the inaugural season of the league. I know that I am part of something special here, and I am really looking forward to an incredible experience.
Thank you to Matt. And good luck.
And Let Us Say...Amen.