From the Intramural field to the big-time, Trinity alumnae “˜15 Reid Bacon is one of the few ultimate frisbee players to be getting paid to play the sport he loves.
That being said, his story strays from the typical athlete path. Reid did not play a school-sponsored, DIII sport in his college days. Instead, he put in work with the club frisbee team here on campus and several other local teams. Four and a half years later, he is signed as a professional ultimate frisbee player for the Dallas Roughnecks, a pro team that takes on other teams from across the nation.
When asked if people believe him when he says he is a professional ultimate player, Bacon said, “Not really. Most people that I know, and talk to on a regular basis, know about my involvement with club frisbee, and know how seriously I take it, so they are generally taken aback a bit but are excited to hear about it. A bunch of my work friends are actually buying my jersey to sport on Jersey Thursdays at my office.”
It is the real deal, but Reid said his life from Trinity to the pros is not all that different.
“My day-to-day life is pretty much the same, I don’t really think about my diet any more than I used to. I eat a lot of crappy food. My role is to run around really fast and be a big body, so I work out every day and spend a lot of time working on my footwork,” Bacon said.
This combined with hours of technical practice helps Bacon stay in optimal shape for defending other pro-athletes. His dedication to his craft is something he attributes to his time on the Trinity Campus.
“Trinity’s frisbee team was a blast. We had a great time together, and I spent a ton of time working on my mechanics; track workouts, cutting, and throwing for hours and hours. Every day senior year, Stephen Bovio and I would throw for 1.5-2hrs, plus playing pickup a few times a week, practicing with the men’s team, and helping out the newly created women’s team,” Bacon said.
These workouts, practices and pick up games, just like shooting free throws, running routes, or hitting in the cage, helped Bacon see the potential in his game and facilitated his continual development as a player. His position, defensive cutter, requires peak athleticism to help on opening kickoffs from the opposing team.
“Playing defense against some of the top athletes in the sport means that I have to react as quickly as possible, so I have to have the speed to keep up with incredibly agile guys, and the endurance to do it over the course of a point, which can be as quick as a few seconds, or as long as several minutes,” Bacon said.
Not only does Bacon have to keep his endurance up for his challenges in game, but a gruelling professional season as well. When asked to describe what the pro season is like,
“My season is 14 games over the course of 4 months, with playoffs beginning in late July and championship weekend in early August. Practice started a few weeks ago, and we’ll work together twice a week, with the expectation that we’re keeping in shape between practices. The competition is pretty fierce; Raleigh’s squad, the Flyers, are the reigning division champs, but the Jacksonville Cannons were one game behind them. My squad managed to sign the two-time MVP of the league, plus some other studs (like myself), so we should have a good chance to win it all,” Bacon said.
Pretty exciting prospects for a rookie. Bacon will not be content with just this season though as he envisions a future where he hopes to continue playing at a higher level.
“As far as frisbee goes, I’d love to be able to do it full time. I’m getting paid very little right now, the real benefit is from not having to spend money like I do during the club season; travel, uniforms, and food are all paid for on the road. I just have to show up and run my hardest once a week,” Bacon said.
Though he is a professional, Bacon explained that the salary doesn’t necessarily coincide with what people may think.
“There isn’t really enough interest yet to justify giving players real live-able salaries, but hopefully in the next 5-10 years, it’ll be big enough to be able to quit my day job. So far, very few players have that privilege.”
Though the future may be uncertain for Bacon, there is no question about his love for the game.
The Roughnecks may be both new as a team, and new to Bacon, but he seems to simply be enjoying the process saying, “It’s definitely a growing organization but I’m excited to be a part of it.”