Darren Dyer off to Davenport University: Jamaica Ultimate Frisbee

Jamaica Ultimate Frisbee

Davenport University Frisbee

Darren Dyer started playing Ultimate Frisbee in 2013 at the age of 14 and almost a decade later he is off to Davenport University to pursue his passion found in Ultimate Frisbee.

Darren was introduced to the sport by his brother, and quickly developed an interest in the sport after playing a tournament with him.

“My brother took me to a tournament he was competing in at AISK where it just so happened his team was short a player. My brother volunteered me to play in place of the person who could not make it. I was a very small kid in a large t-shirt who was awarded rookie of the tournament. This award meant a lot to me even though I was not nearly as good as the other guys. It sparked an interest and a drive to get better which has stayed with me to this day,” Darren said.

It has been a long journey since starting the sport 8 years ago. Darren dedicated years upon years in the gym and went out of his way to find tips on how to become a better player.

“When I began playing I was 5”6’ and extremely skinny. Now I am 6”4’ and 179 pounds. I grew significantly and put on a good amount of weight. It took years of training and being consistent in the gym. Over time I learned to throw better while analyzing different play styles on You Tube or even reaching out to pros where I received great advice. One thing I would like to say is to never be afraid to grow. Always be open minded and willing to grow, listen and observe,” Darren said.

Photo contributed by Darren Dyer

Darren is part of Jamaica’s Ultimate Frisbee team which he has played with in many local tournaments.

“I have competed in several local tournaments. Some were held at AISK while the more important ones were held at Sabina Park. I have been on the Jamaica team for both tournaments at Sabina Park. The latest tournament was held in November 2022 where I had the privilege of co-captaining the Jamaica national team. We were victorious over the Cayman Islands but fell short against a club team from the United States. We beat the Cayman Islands with ease, but lost 10-6 to Moontower Ultimate who proved to be extremely good. I am yet to compete in an international tournament,” Darren said.

Darren also acknowledged that sticking to the sport and remaining determined to become a better player allowed him to grow and has taught him many soft skills.

“Simply put, Ultimate Frisbee has made me a leader and an all round athlete. From weekly practice, tournaments and recruiting friends to play I have grown and matured in every aspect of my life. I am looking forward to the growth and maturity I will gain from this new experience while focusing on school and Ultimate,” Darren said.

It is inevitable that you will also learn some important life lessons. For Darren, one of the greatest lessons he has learned is to never give up.

“Something I have learned from playing Ultimate over the years is to never give up on something you are passionate about. I never thought Frisbee would amount to anything. I was just a boy playing Frisbee for fun and working toward something bigger that I couldn’t see coming. Now I am in the heart of Michigan on a scholarship playing Frisbee at the collegiate level with people pushing for more, just like me. Who would have thought?” Darren expressed.

After playing a sport for so many years, it is also inevitable that you will make some great memories. Darren’s favourite moment so far happened in June 2023 while hosting a fundraising event to attend college.

“I held a fundraising tournament in Jamaica recently where the support from people who believed in me and what I was trying to achieve was overwhelming. I will never be able to explain that feeling. That will forever be one of my favourite moments so far,” Darren expressed.

Photo contributed by Darren Dyer

College – Davenport University

Darren is the first Jamaican to ever be awarded a scholarship to play Ultimate Frisbee at the college level.

“Tom Atchity who is a member of Moontower Ultimate from Texas heard about a new coach emerging onto the college scene. He reached out to Mike Zaagman, who is the head coach at Davenport University. Coach Zaags had no idea Ultimate Frisbee was even played in Jamaica but after seeing film and several zoom meetings we had closed the deal. I would like to give thanks to God, my family, Warren Burrows, Joanne Sale, Simone Lee, friends and the entire Jamaica Frisbee community. Without them none of this would be possible.”

He continued,

“My hope is for youth in Jamaica to see that there is opportunity in the sport to go to the next level. I know so many youth who have wasted talent and potential because they are close minded on playing football or doing track or even rugby just because those are the sports that have typically taken youth to the next level. My hope is that this opportunity will bring recognition to the sport in schools all over Jamaica as an alternative to playing other sports,” Darren expressed.

Future Pro

Someday, Darren is hoping to play Ultimate Frisbee professionally, but there is no rush. He plans to take it step by step and enjoy the process.

“It is a dream of mine to play professional Ultimate at some point. Whether now or some time in the future. At the moment my goal is to grow in the sport. My collegiate team and I have our eyes on the conference trophy, the state championship and the national championship,” Darren said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *