#19 Ari Weitzman
- University of Chicago (2006-2009)
- Pittsburgh-B (2011 – coach)
ari.weitzman AT gmail.com
- 2022 Ultiworld Coach of the Year Second Runner-Up
I spent four years in Chicago learning the game properly and weaning myself off the need to vent anger on officials and taunting opponents between play… and going to school I guess. Ultimate is an interesting sport, and it’s taught me what victory with honor means. Every other sport I’ve ever played has a third party enforcement system for every rule, which means the pace of the game is dependent upon the judgment of someone who isn’t playing. When I decide what fouls I want to call, I decide the game that I want to play. If I call fouls that aren’t there I change the game, and if I win, the game I’ve won isn’t Ultimate. Victory without honor is not victory because you won a game no one else was playing. Like Colin Conner says, it’d be better if they called it “honor” of the game instead of “spirit.”
I’m pleased to be back in my hometown, and more pleased to be spending my fifth year of eligibility with this group of competitors. At practices, workouts, and tournaments, I look at the player next to me and I see that they will do anything not to let me down, and I know when they look back they see the same thing. I can’t say this team is like any other I’ve been a part of, because it isn’t. I will not let my team down.
After missing the bracket at 2021 winter Nationals, it looked like something was troubling the waters in Pittsburgh. It was the first time En Sabah Nur had failed to make the quarterfinals at Nationals since 2008, and the team seemed to completely lack the laser focus we’ve come to expect from Pitt at Nationals (although if in your own personal head canon you want to discount winter Nationals and keep the quarters streak alive with an asterisk, I won’t stop you).
This spring however, that focus was back. After a strong regular season, Pittsburgh entered Nationals like a buzzsaw, demolishing teams by eye-popping margins thanks to a defense that had been precisely crafted by the coaching staff be both stifling and opportunistic at the same time. The high point was a 15-7 quarterfinals win over Cal’s offensive wizardry. It was the kind of victory you’d expect from a team that was built to separate themselves from the also-rans in big games, and exemplified a season of work that got Pittsburgh back on their pedestal.