Eric Greenwood has been playing Ultimate for a long time. And he’s come a long way since those early days when he first started playing pickup games at lunch and recess in middle school.

Back in the early spring, news of a professional team coming to San Francisco began making the rounds in the local Ultimate community. Greenwood can’t remember exactly where he heard about it, but decided to try out. “It was intriguing to me that this could be a professional sport, and that I could be part of the first steps toward that.”

Greenwood has played at the club level most recently on Revolver. Before that he played on the short-lived Wolf, mixed team Mischief, and Portland’s Rhino. He also played on his college team at the University of Oregon. This season he’s been a cutter on the Dogfish offensive line, and ranks second on the team in number of points, with 23 goals and 12 assists.

On the throwing front he’s got a steady hand, with a 97% completion rate. It’s evident in his demeanor, too, which you could describe as “balanced upbeat.” And then you ask him about the fan experience and you get a glimmer of that explosive energy he displays on the field.

“Playing in front of fans? It’s awesome!” Although he then admits that at first, it was perhaps a bit overwhelming. “There was way more noise and fanfare than I expected. But once you get used to that higher level of energy, it’s easy to feed off the crowd when you’re playing.” And the love wasn’t limited to the hometown crowd.

“It’s great that even the opposing crowd gets into good plays.” That spirit should hold true for Saturday’s MLU Championship Game, when the Dogfish take on the Boston Whitecaps in Philadelphia in a stadium full of disc die-hards. Greenwood has been watching the east coast games and says, “I’m excited to finally get to play them.” He then adds slyly, “We want to prove that the west coast division is better.” Cheeky words from this Canadian, but all in good spirit.

In fact, Greenwood has his own personal connection to Boston. He’s the oldest of five boys, and Ultimate apparently runs in their blood. One brother will be starting at UC Boulder and hopes to play for their team, one brother is playing at the University of Michigan, and one brother is playing for a club-level team in…Boston.

Maybe one day they’ll follow in their big brother’s footsteps, and experience the thrill of professional disc. But it all depends on the continued support of the community that’s helped the sport evolve to this point.

“Thank you to everyone who comes out for these games. It’s been a great experience for the players and it’s inspiring to have people who are excited and engaged, encouraging us all season.”

For fans who will be in Philadelphia, tickets are still available. For local Fish Faithful, there will be a Championship Game Viewing Party at Kezar Pub in San Francisco.

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