Parallel has no coach, but is ultimately a great success

The coach is often considered as the main source of inspiration for sports teams. Many teams gained success with big names at the helm. Forty years ago, John Wooden coached UCLA to 10 basketball championships in 12 years. His pyramid of success included such terms as “competitive greatness”, “team spirit”, and “loyalty”. These words surely gave a sense of purpose to his players. However, Parallel, Ames High’s ultimate team that is currently ranked 29th in the nation, has no coach to say all of these inspirational words to them. Even without a coach, it is evident that Parallel has found great success. Last season, Parallel finished with a record of 18-1, their only loss being the state championship game against Urbandale. Just last month, Parallel placed 10th in an off-season tournament, the Chicago Invite. According to one of Parallel’s captains, senior Jack Sanders, the tournament was host to some of the “top teams in the country.” Sanders says that Parallel’s success comes from the players’ personal motivations. He stated how much he enjoyed seeing certain players improve. “Not a lot of people play ultimate, but people who do get very attached,” Sanders said. “It’s important to them, and they are dedicated to getting better for themselves and for the team.” Sanders also said that although Parallel does not officially have a coach, the other players on the team look at him and fellow captain senior Cody Brown as coaches. Parallel “plays with structure” and there are “teaching points” articulated during practice. Sanders wanted to dispel the notion that some have of ultimate being a non-serious sport. “Some people probably think we just mess around at tournaments,” he said. “But we give it our all. Every game, point and catch matters. We do it for the game.” Sanders and Brown took over a team that was started several years ago by Ames High alum David Shirbroun. They have never had an official coach. Sanders said he doesn’t think they will get one anytime soon, but said there was a possibility of getting one some day. “The plan for the team is to keep it going [even after we graduate],” Sanders said about himself and Brown. As for Sanders himself, he plans on trying out for the University of Iowa’s ultimate team, which is ranked third in the country. Overall, Parallel’s success without a coach can be attributed to love for the game. “We got some guys together and realized that we could do something special,” Sanders said. “I told them it wasn’t going to be easy to have success [the next] year.” Perhaps it wasn’t easy, but Parallel seems to have built a pyramid of success all by themselves.