“I struggled tonight.”
It’s late at night, around 20 degrees, and we have just finished another brutal practice in the football stadium. I am home, removing the footwarmers from my boots, when this text comes in from Brett Gramann. This is not the first time I have received this kind of text from him.
Brett Gramann has a superb ultimate resume. When you watch his Callahan video, stay ‘til the end, so you can watch the scroll of his achievements. His video will give you a good sense of how talented he is, how relentless he is and how much he loves our sport. But what the video doesn’t show is that Brett Gramann has been training for this Callahan nomination since grade school, where he was coached by Cara Crouch and Mike Natenberg. What the video doesn’t show is the thousands of hours that Brett has dedicated to improving himself and his UMass team in the last four years.
Brett walks the walk as an ultimate captain. From the first moment of the season, Brett was at our student fair, recruiting new players and welcoming them to our program. He runs practices when the coaches can’t be there, knows how to teach lessons on every ultimate concept and works as hard as he can no matter how banged up he may be. Brett is our main liaison with the university, and much of what we receive from them is because of his maturity and sense of responsibility. And when we are in a game, he is a leader on and off the field. You can always hear his gravelly voice from the sideline, providing precise information to his teammates. And when he is playing, well, just watch his video again, and you can see what he brings to the pitch all the time.
So when I get this type of text from Brett after practice, I do not worry. I give him some authentic feedback and ask him some questions. We text back and forth for awhile until this old coach has to go to bed. Brett is ready to go at our next practice, joking with his teammates, setting up the field and leading our dynamic warm-up. He may have another struggle practice or he may play out of his mind. Either way, I have no doubt that he will absorb that information, figure out how he can get better and how he can make his teammates better. That is the type of player he is: a relentless athlete and leader, as well as a most worthy recipient of the 2018 Callahan Award.” – Tiina Booth