Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Talking with Trainor: Sharp(e) Cuts with Carl Sharpe


My previous interview subjects have been with players who are well known in the competitive circle at the national and world stages.

Carl Sharpe is not one of these guys.

Carl is a poster boy for a lot of the players who make up open ultimate. He came into the game in his mid twenties after experience in football and other sports. He balances a very important job (that we would have to kill you if we told you about) and a young family with his ultimate commitments.
Carl Sharpe
Source: Wing Leung Chan

If you're facing Carl, it's not pleasant. He's like sandpaper. Tomas Sandstrom in dri fit. He throws lefty, he plays to win on o and d, and he knows the rules. He also is one of the best talkers in the game. The better you are, the more you will hear. Luckily, he understands the concept of humor versus insult.

I've built the guy up to an impossible level. Here's a regular guy with his take. Expect to laugh and nod.

Tomas Sandstrom
Source: Wikipedia

You're a renowned joker. What's the funniest thing about ultimate?

"Importing" players from other sports. Very few people at this point in time grew up playing ultimate, most are transplanted from other sports. Typical initiation into ultimate involves a 30 second pre-game speech detailing the finer points of not running with the disc. Then the player is released to sink or swim during the game.

Personal highlights from my own career involve hitting a receiver hard enough to cause him to release the disc during a catch, and knocking over a marker because he was "in my grill." The highlight had to be listening to one player explain to another that he tackled (read: destroyed) the handler because the stall count had gone over 5, and that meant he could cross the line of scrimmage.

What keeps you slagging on sites and forums? What bothers you the most about other posters?

What keeps me on forums sometimes confuses even me.

I think it might come down to ego, where I just like to throw stuff out and see what sticks. Whether it be something (I consider) funny or some sage wisdom. It's always gratifying to post something that triggers some discussion, whether it be humorous or otherwise.

Negative posting, specifically personal slights against individuals, is probably the thing that bothers me about other posters. Some people use computers and the Internet as a shield to say things that they wouldn't in other venues. Ignorant statements are a close 2nd, but personal attacks are definitely #1.

What's your off season schedule consist of?

I'm on the all Canadian Diet.
  • Bacon,
  • Eggs
  • Timbits
  • Double doubles.
In reality though, I work out 4 days a week, 45 minutes with weights, 30 minutes on the bike doing intervals, plus a league game. I was running for a bit, but dodging snow plows gets old fast.

With a young child and very real job, What keeps you coming back to the field?

Teammates and the game. I've been fortunate enough to meet some really outstanding people through ultimate, especially at the club level. The camaraderie is 2nd to none. There really is nothing like looking across a huddle at another player that you sweat and bled with, knowing that he's got your back and you've got his.

The game itself is great when it's pure. At the club level, the first couple of points in a game normally determine the tone of the game, the acceptable rules, etc. After that, it comes down to athleticism and intelligence, and it can be a beautiful thing.

Firebird Ultimate
Source: Wing Leung Chan
Describe your nationals experience in 2007?

Rollercoaster. Although I learned a lot of things. 1. We (Ottawa) have a lot of work to do, but I think we're heading in the right direction. I remember running a bail cut against Furious George in Game 1. We were down 14-2 (but getting ready for our comeback), and I was being covered by Kirk Savage. I managed to extend out far enough to catch the disc, but Savage was right there, laying out, fully extended, with his hand about 3 inches behind mine. Did I mention that they were up 14-2? The focus and constant intensity of players on that team is something to watch. 2. We don't play each other as physically as they should. We tend to be mild-mannered "No I insist, after you" types on the field and in practice. When we meet hard pounding, smash-mouth defenses in tournaments, this translates into turnovers. Again, though, I believe we're headed in the right direction. 3. I'm old, and need to which to HGH to keep up.

Who's the best player you've ever seen? How has your ideas of players changed since you went from being dvd watcher to opponent?

Derek Alexander. Although I should probably snub him because he didn't mention me in his article, I'll be the big man. In addition to being a great athlete, Derek has a great understanding of the game and tremendous field vision. He's also ice cold on the field. Derek was the inspiration for me to play ultimate at the club level. I should probably point out that he's almost (if not already) a better left handed thrower than I am, the key difference being that I am the only one of us that's left handed. The biggest thing I've noticed being in and around games vs watching them is the conditioning level of the players. Average tournaments can have seven or more games in a two day span, and there's people out there sprinting through cuts and tearing up grass in game seven like they were in game one. It's something you really can't appreciate unless you're in it or right next to it.

Who (teams, players) do you love to face in open?

I always like playing Toronto teams, even though our overall record isn't that great. When we play GOAT, or GT, or ROY, there's a little more than just a game on the line. There's pride, and bragging rights. Add to it that we have players from Toronto playing in Ottawa, and vice-versa, and there's another element added to the games. They're alwa
ys fast paced, exciting games, even if they do get chippy once in a while.

Who's the best player in Ottawa?

Other than me right now, Derek Alexander. BT (Brett Taylor) said he'd destroy me if I didn't say him, but I think I can take him. He's a new father now, and probably tired and uncoordinated.

Who's the most overrated player in Ottawa/Canada?

Andy Corey, that guy had to go to Toronto to find a team that would take him. Then he managed to get to the semi-finals at UPA Nationals. I play with him on Wednesday's and I'm always carrying him.

What ultimate related thing is on your mind right now?

Whether or not my thumb hammer is game ready (yes, yes it is)

Anything else while I'm shoving the mic in your face?

I'm glad this is called Sharp(e) Cuts and not Sharpe(s) Cut.

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