First professional preseason tournament as team captain

Ultimate frisbee tournament becomes learning experience


Jack Kroells

Playing on the same field as the top players in the state brought a whole new riveting game experience. Everyone was on their top game, and the energy on the field was thrilling.

Last spring, my ultimate team and I had the opportunity to compete in a tournament held by the Windchill, the Minnesota professional ultimate frisbee team. The best teams in the state came together for a preseason exhibition. 

I was immediately in awe when I walked into the dome at the University of Minnesota. The Windchill were already there helping with warm-ups. We got to have a professional photographer following the team around. The moment I stepped on the field I felt like I became a professional athlete.

This was the second time I had been to one of these tournaments, but the first time I had been captain. It made the whole thing a lot more stressful because I now had to be a role model for the team, yet it was exciting to get to compete at such a high level. 

Our first game was against Edina, the returning state champions. This was the team’s first game of the season and my first game as captain. I played almost the entire first two games. There was a lot of friction between my team. Different playstyles and different attitudes made the games frustrating and held us back from any wins.

After losing our first two games, I took a minute with the team to try and figure out what we can do to come out with one win. We needed to try and work as a team without all of the fighting.

We were finally making fluid plays and finished out the game for our first win of the season.”

— Jack Kroells

Our third match against Eden Prairie was the game I had the highest hopes for. We started strong with lots of energy and took a good lead. We were finally making fluid plays and finished out the game for our first win of the season.

By the fourth game, I was exhausted, and I could see the rest of the team was too. We tried our best and left everything out on the field but walked away from the game with a loss. The repeated loss gave me a negative outlook on the tournament but was impressed with all the growth I saw in the team. We finished the tournament and, unknowingly, the season. The rest of the 2020 season was canceled a week later from COVID-19. I was disappointed that I couldn’t have a junior year season, yet glad I could have at least one good experience.