Flick Of The Wrist: A sit down with Ultimate Frisbee Team GB player, Andrew Hillman.
A serious sporting champ with a promising career in Tennis and Cricket, Andrew Hillman found his hopes interrupted when two broken wrists hit and put him out of his beloved sports!
In the midst of frustrations and rehabilitation Andrew found the high energy team sport that would soon transport around the world, Ultimate Frisbee. Whilst away at University studying Mathematics it was an innocent invitation that planted a seed in him.
“I was attracted to Ultimate Frisbee because it was a sport where everyone was starting from the beginning again. Someone approached me at a sports fair, and I decided to try out, and that was it.”
Indeed that was it, the beginning of a fruitful Ultimate Frisbee career as at the age of 21 he had found himself selected for the national Great Britain team playing beside seasoned players and taking on World Champions! His accomplishments come in abundance and to say I was impressed would be an understatement, from two broken wrists to playing for the national team somewhat felt like I was watching a Disney feel good film.
Though Tennis was no longer on the cards for the young budding star his affair with the sport allowed him to transfer his footwork ability onto the field when playing Ultimate as agility is a skill valued. The self-refereed, non-contact sport is dependent on the spirit and dignity of its players.
“You don’t get the gamesmanship you might have in sports like football where it’s kind of your responsibility to trick the ref or to pressure the ref.”
Don’t be fooled the competitive fire that is found in any sport is prevalent in Ultimate Frisbee and it’s that hunger that has carried Andrew and his team over seas and through many tournaments!
2016 was the year Andrew made his international competition debut playing in the final GB Team,with Allianz Park Stadium as his stage, electricity entered his body as he represented his country with pride at every flick of the wrist releasing the Frisbee disk.
His resilience doesn’t end on the field but is ever present in his brain where data manifests to assist and improve lives where he works as a data analyst in an emergency services consultancy.
“The mathematics modelling, I thought was really interesting. Particularly being able to bring expertise to a public sector organisation.”
The light in his eyes brightened when discussing the deliverables!
“I found it quite rewarding”
“We did a study with a small city just outside Phoenix, Arizona where their population growth was extremely high and they needed to basically work out where they needed to build some fire stations.”
I mention his passions off the field because both of these interests co-exist in a way that his joy for both has preserved, the 20 hour training weeks married with working 40 hours a week doesn’t compromise how he feels about his craft in fact, there isn’t an ounce of contempt when he speaks about it.
Before COVID-19 swept the land and pressed pause on everyone’s plans, Andrew was preparing to play at this years Ultimate Frisbee World Championships but unfortunately Corona virus wouldn’t allow it.
“We had started training for the World Championships, [then] we had like a Winter break and we started late January. So, we’ve been training for about Five or Six weeks before Corona virus hit and things were cancelled”
Pandemic aside that didn’t defer how Andrew preserved his fitness utilising the national lock down as an opportunity to rehabilitate and protect the body in hopes that once he returned muscle memory would assist him in competing at his best! At 27 years young the Frisbee field is calling him and desires of winning a world championship medal echoes the same sound.
“I’m just excited to get back to training. So that first time where we get to go back out and practice together properly and play proper games, whether it’s win or lose, and whoever it’s against will just be a nice moment it’s kind of a case when you’re away from it for a while you realise how much you miss it. From a competitive point of view, I would still love to get a world championship medal”