I Don’t Need It Anymore

Jen Sanfilippo
3 min readJul 21, 2020

It isn’t a light shower, it’s a summer storm. Sheets of water are coming down around me, and I watch people pulling their shirts over their heads and scrambling to overhangs.

I walk on slowly — not in a hurry, but with purpose.

It’s the summer of 2016 and I am playing for an Ultimate Frisbee team called Chicago Dish. Despite the rain and a foot injury, I’m headed to a throwing clinic with one of the team’s captains, a Worlds level player that I would have the pleasure of playing with, learning from, and befriending for the next three years.

It’s just me and her, and I’m grateful that she showed up despite the rain.

She wheels her bike onto the field and kicks out the stand.

“You don’t step out as much as you can,” she tells me. “We’re going to fix that.”

For the next 30 minutes, she has me stand at one end of the bike and step around to the other end to throw to her.

She nods slowly in approval, we run some sprints, feet sloshing in the wet grass, and go our separate ways.

All summer we ran the bike drill, and now I can get around most defenders — even men over 6 feet tall.

For ten years, my passion for ultimate drove me to do crazy things.

I’ve gotten up at 4 in the morning for tournaments, put thousands of miles on my car, fucked up relationships, worn my body out, spent thousands on leagues and jerseys and gym memberships.

I’ve nearly passed out from heat exhaustion, torn my meniscus, pinched nerves in both of my feet, I’ve got a toenail that fell off every season for 6 years and will probably never grow back.

I missed birthday parties, graduations, quality time with loved ones.

I’ve played in New York, London, Chicago, Boston, L.A., Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Minneapolis, and a million middle-of-nowhere towns.

I’ve played for two of the greatest sports cities in the world — New York and Chicago.

I was offered a position as Head Coach of a DI University, was the youngest player in Dish history to become a captain, and led my team to the game to go to Nationals.

Jen Sanfilippo

Writing about the ideas I get stuck on 📝