JD LeJeune is an ultimate player from Fredericton, New Brunswick Canada, who won a silver medal with Steve French at Paganello a few weeks ago, the largest beach ultimate tournament in the world. He was one of the first ultimate players I ever met and he was a teammate on the first ever team I played on, SOS, in the summer of 2002. He was kind enough to take some time out of his travels to answer a few questions.
How and when did you get into ultimate?
– Back in 2000 I was invited out to play some pick-up with a few friends. Later that year I heard of a local Winter league through a friend and the rest is history!
How long have you been playing beach ultimate?
– I’ve been playing in the Parlee Beach Ultimate Tournament since 2001 and began TD’ing it a few years afterwards
Besides Rimini, Italy I’ve had the pleasure of playing on the beaches of Shediac, New Brunswick; Gaspé, Quebec; Souris, Prince Edward Island; and Figueira da Foz, Portugal at the World Beach Championships.
Do you prefer playing men’s or coed ultimate?
– Each division definitely has its own perks. I have an ongoing love/hate with the intensity of men’s as well as its collective acceptance of a more physical, cocky and aggressive game. With that said I’ve had some of my most memorable moments playing men’s. Who Wants To Party vs Phoenix at Winnipeg CUC anyone?
I love that mixed naturally puts an emphasis on gender equality and respect. You simply don’t have a choice when you’re like me (not a naturally gifted player). I have to give it my all whether I’m being marked by a guy or a girl.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
– Hands down there was absolutely nothing more rewarding than going to CUC 2010 with Spawn. We were flying under the radar in the mixed division and I was personally in the best physical and mental shape of my life. We were having the time of our lives that week. Partying every night and going undefeated in pool play. We put up an amazing fight against Montreal, narrowly missing the big dance.
We kept our morale high and ultimately walked away with the bronze medal. It was unbelievable and a first for any Ultimate team from our region. Plus we had WWE theme music pumping when we received our medals on Sunday.
What is your favourite tournament?
– I always look forward to Parlee and Clambake…can you tell what type of player I am?
What got you hooked on ultimate?
– Parlee and Clambake…
What do you like most about playing ultimate?
– Parlee and …. KIDDING! I love the camaraderie, genuineness and overall honesty of the people who play. Where else can lawyers, teachers, politicians, jocks and hippies beat up on each other on the field all day and then party together all night like high school kids? Not to mention they all return the following weekend to do it all over again at another tournament!
What was it like playing in the finals at Paganello?
– It was exciting, terrifying, electrifying and nauseating all at the same time. But man was it all worth it! I personally had the worst game of my life, but to quote a meme that one of our friends generated during the finals, “Thank the old gods for John Snow”!
What do you think the next few years will look like?
– I haven’t a sweet clue (and I don’t think anyone else knows either)!
Between the pro leagues, ESPN highlights, world games, observers and social media (like Ultimate Rob) there is one thing for certain… We all are living and playing Ultimate during a very exciting time!
All I can personally continue to do is to stay focused on keeping Fredericton the greatest unknown place to play Ultimate in the world. Just ask anyone who’s moved away. Right, Bertrob (editor’s note: Bertrob is a nickname given to me from the Fredericton ultimate community)?
If you lived closer to Toronto or Boston, would you play pro ultimate?
– I guess it would depend if the Rush were willing to have someone nicknamed Jerk Dink on their roster. Pending that decision I guarantee I’d be the best sideline they ever had and have no problem starting the shirts-off-shindig at the party…they party in the pro leagues, right?
Anything else you’d like to add?
– Mark TeKamp for Prime Minster!