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Kevin “The Future” Underhill

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UltiPhotos: Sunday - Open Final -- CUC 2012 &emdash; untitled-1189

by Andy Collins

Editor’s Note: I thought about editing this some more, but the prospect was too exhausting.  If you have trouble understanding some of what is being said, well, that makes two of us.

If the Aaron Liu is known as “The Prez” and, well, I am “The Big Cat” or “Shat”* (depending on whom you ask), I proclaim Kevin Underhill from here on out to be called “The Future.”   Of course, I’m sure those who know him will have a hard time giving up “Kevvy Special,” which seems equally fitting for this straight-up Bro, who just always seems to “get it” in both frisbee and life.

I first met Kevvy when he made Furious in 2009.  He was a freshman at the University of Victoria that year.  After volunteering at the world championships (WUGC2008) in Vancouver the previous summer, he had made a goal of playing for Furious George “one day” — in the distant future. For those who don’t know, there was a massive turnover in players in 2009, necessitating a wide-scale open tryout. Being an out-of-town player I don’t always get to participate in the early season tryout process. So that year when I showed up to Flowerbowl, I saw this fresh-faced kid for the first time among the new faces.   Furious usually plays in split squads for Flowerbowl and we were on different teams going into the final that year.

Kevin assures me he marked me in the final — even says he remembers “bumping me hard.” I guess his 150lb frame didn’t really leave that much of an impression that day. But what I do remember is a kid that came from nowhere.  All the new players that year had played some form of Open ultimate,  yet here was this baby-faced kid with no such experience, cracking the lineup of one of the best teams in Canadian ultimate, at 19.  Just because 7 months earlier he had decided he wanted to play for Furious one day.

Kev played the entire 2009 season as a role player on the D line that year, as most people know cracking the starting line up on any elite sports team can be frustrating. But Kevvy never seemed to be fazed.  When called upon, he was ready, he rarely made mistakes and just went out and went to work every point he got.  He wasn’t the most athletic guy on our team in the sense of what most people think is athletic.  He couldn’t jump the highest, run the fastest or throw the farthest.  But what I could see very early on was that he had an amazing sports mind, something that is hard to teach to adult athletes — let alone already having it when you are 19 years old. The size and athleticism would come, which seems backwards.  Usually we get kids that are athletically gifted and have to learn the mental game, but Kevvy just “got it.”

flower_bowl-699-53.jpg

That season, I didn’t get to spend a tonne of time with Kev.  After all what could a 33-year-old with three little girls and a 19-year-old first-year university student have in common?  He was 5 years old when I started playing ultimate.

Over the next three years, I got to see Kevvy grow as an ultimate player.  His success in ultimate has been amazing; in four years, he has been to 3 USAU championships and won 2 Canadian national championships.  He was named the finals MVP at the 2012 Canadian Ultimate Championships — the youngest player ever to win this award.  He was selected to Team Canada for WUGC2012 as the team’s youngest player.   He is a top contender to represent Canada at either the World Games in Colombia in 2013 and at the U23 World Championships in Toronto.  He’s also the first-ballot hall of famer in “Prison Rules”** going in as both a player and builder. 

flower_bowl-782-58.jpg

This year, as a starting handler on our O-line, he has had fewer than 10 turnovers all season.  That includes only 1 at WUGCs — that stat in itself is ridiculous.  He is captain of UVic’s UVictim ( who is the “Victim,” by the way?)where they are looking to not only win CUUCs this October but will be pushing hard next spring to be one of a select few Canadian university teams ever to qualify for the USAU college championships.  I certainly would not bet against him.

So when the Furious Facebook post went up, about who would you want too see an article written about, I right away went and invited all my friends to vote.  I thought it would be me.  But not surprisingly, they picked “The Future.”  You see, Kevin has an amazing ability to leave an impression on people of all walks of life and he does it without you ever really noticing. The people closest to him, his family, Kevvy’s girl***, Dre, the kids at HQ****, his 90-year-old landlord who is losing his memory — they certainly “get it.”   Much like his game, there is little flash involved to this old soul who prefers Classic Rock over “Gangnam Style” ( that song is actually pretty sweet!) *****

After the CUC final this year, I asked Mark Lloyd (GOAT/General Strike) what he thought of Kevin winning MVP.  And Mark said to me, “Andy, we game-planned to stop him from touching the disc.  We knew other players on your team would turn the disc over, and they did. Kevin just doesn’t.  So our plan was to stop him from touching it.”  In a sport where possession is so important, to have a player at 22 years of age that not only understands that but has the ability to execute every time he steps on the field is amazing! I just don’t think “the Future” will stick, but do a bro a solid and let’s try and make it happen.

UltiPhotos: Sunday - Open Final -- CUC 2012 &emdash; jbp_CUC2012_sunday-678

 

*”Chat” (Fr.)
**An unforgiving disc-based game played on a court about the size of a utility closet.  If the game has any rules, no one will admit to them.
*** Her name is “Ally.”
**** “HQ” is where Kevin lives.
***** Screw it.  This whole paragraph is just a giant facepalm for me — Ed.

Alex Davis

5 Responses to “Kevin “The Future” Underhill”

  1. Bill Says:

    I met Kevin while watching him play for UVictim with my son last spring. A real class guy, and the heart of the team.

    Nice to see Kevin is prospering in the sport he loves.

  2. Blair Says:

    Nice write up Andy! Yea… Kev’s ok I guess…

  3. Past tense poo Says:

    Couldn’t stop laughing at Shat. Imagine, they call le shat.

  4. Sylvie Says:

    I met Kevin when he was 5 and it sounds like he has not changed. Great pictures and write up. We are cheering for you and hope to see you play again soon.

  5. James (Colby) Says:

    I remember coming out to pickup in Vic Sept 2008 and as I cleated up I caught a glance of some scrawny kid zipping about. I stopped cleating and watched him for at least a couple of minutes. Even though he was nowhere as skilled as he is now, it was clear that this kid was going to be really F&^%$ good someday, someday soon. Most players start out pretty rough and go through an ugly phase (re: Rhett) where its hard to imagine them being great. With Kevin, it was obvious – there was no ugly… class act on and off the field from the start.