I got a chance to interview LSU’s Garrett Yetman before his team heads to Classic City Classic this weekend. Enjoy!
It would be irresponsible of Bama Secs to start this interview with a question unrelated to your experience in 2012 at Junior Worlds. I think most ultimate players would agree that playing on Team USA in any capacity, including Junior Worlds, is more prestigious than playing at Nationals. Would you agree with that?
Yes, I would most definitely agree to that. Being able to represent your country while wearing the letters USA across your chest is the most incredible feeling of all time. It’s something I had only dreamed of until the summer of 2012 when all of those dreams came true. So, yes I absolutely agree that it is more prestigious than playing at Nationals, however Nationals is also very prestigious.
And see, you’ve already accomplished both of those things – Nationals (with Catholic High School) and Team USA. Which one meant more to you and why?
This, for me, was an extremely easy decision to make in choosing whether Nationals or Team USA meant more. Nationals with my high school, Catholic High, definitely meant more to me. Although I had always dreamed of playing for Team USA, nothing is more fulfilling than standing on a line with six of your best friends and kicking established programs asses when no one had ever heard of us. When we rolled up to Corvallis, Oregon, almost nobody had ever heard of Frisbee being played in the South. The other teams thought we played Frisbee with airboats and alligators whilst making sweet love to our first cousins. Nothing felt better when we were the only team to bagel an opponent and when we got third. This set the bar high for Southern Frisbee and ultimately put our high schools on the map. Although winning a gold medal with your country’s letters written across your chest with 20 other ballin’ players was jaw-dropping, it wasn’t with my best friends and it was something the USA was expected to do. So that’s why I think playing at Nationals meant more to me.
So, to recap, because I don’t think enough can be said about this resume: Nationals in high school, Team USA. But now you’re in college. LSU is the only program in the Gulf Coast Conference that has been to Nationals (as far as Bama Secs historians can recall), twice in the late 1990s. What did you learn from your experiences at HS Nationals and Worlds that will help you and LSU add a trip to College Nationals to that resume?
I think that the biggest thing I can bring to the plate is seriousness and actually taking this sport to the next level. Every team I have played for has had a serious attitude and mindset. We would go into every single game wanting to win and never giving up, no matter what. It was somewhat difficult for me last year, along with some other Catholic High players, because LSU has been know to have such a DGAF mentality while living out the Hammered Idiot persona. This year there is a new LSU, one that has never been seen before, one that will put this year’s team on a new level. We are centered around effort and unity. Now that I have been given rights to lead this team, along with Tim Lala, we have administered a new mindset to each and every player which is to never give up and to always bust your ass.
Before anyone around here really knew who you were, one of our writers often referred to you as “Junior Worlds Junior” in our stories last year. Did that bother you any?
Answer: No, it didn’t bother me at all. People can call me whatever they want to, but at the end of the day it really does not matter. I’m already prepared for the numerous nicknames to come such as Miley Cyrus, Macklemore, and yet again the infamous Junior Worlds Junior. But to answer the question simply, no it definitely doesn’t bother me.
Speaking of the blog, let’s talk about last spring. Specifically the Rookie of the Year ballot and your comments on Bama Secs defending your case as ROY:
CB said it himself that I am the most naturally gifted player in the conference and everyone respects the voice of CB. So fucking base your decisions on each category off of who the BEST player is. I’m sick of hearing that I’m not getting FOTY because of my attitude in the ole miss game. I fucking played my ass off this past weekend through having a fever and I fucking balled out and so did my teammates.
Do you regret anything you said here on Bama Secs based on the reaction other players had to your comments?
This is an interesting question that can be answered in many different ways, but I will just go about it in one specific way. Am I sorry for what I said? Kind of. Could I have worded what I said differently? Most definitely. Was I trying to disrespect anyone? Absolutely not. I understand that SOTG is what separates our sport from every other sport out there, but it isn’t what our sport revolves around. I honestly think that people over define SOTG. It’s not a battle to see which team can suck the most dick, because quite frankly no one would be able to swallow us when we have Mount (Horsie) on our side. When you let what is essentially politics get in the way of deciding who the best rookie is people will inevitably turn to SOTG and who was the nicest. But, in all actuality it’s who the best rookie is, not who the nicest rookie is. And that’s what I was trying to say, I just probably worded it poorly. To advance this sport, which should be our goal, everyone needs to have a serious mindset and play to be competitive, not to be nice. You are playing to win, not to make friends. I’m not saying to be a douche to everyone on the field, but have a mutual respect for the other team and its players and that’s what SOTG is. It’s not a contest to see who is the nicest. Just keep the competitive nature of the sport at hand so people can take us more seriously.
You also said this about Evan Walter, who played for Team USA at Junior Worlds with you:
But, if I don’t get FOTY and I lose it to Evan Walter because he’s nice to everyone and I’m not afraid to tell you how it is, then that’s bullshit. Sorry, but it is. Base your decision off of who the best freshman IS, not who the nicest is. No disrespects to Evan, because he is a great player and I’ve learned his style and I’ve played with him.
In hindsight, do you think that Evan Walter the player deserved the recognition he received from the rest of the Conference just as much as you did?
Evan Walter definitely deserved as much recognition as me, no doubt. Walter and I were both teammates on the 2012 Junior Worlds Team, which means he’s just as good and better than me at certain things. I was definitely not meaning to downplay Evans performance at all, if that’s how it seemed. There are things he is better than me at and there’s things I’m better than him at, as is this case with many players. His defense is way better than mine, but I feel like my offense is better. Nonetheless, Evan is an incredible player, athlete, and he has a lot to offer to this sport.
Obviously this rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. We had more comments on that story than maybe any in our history. How do you think you can go about improving your reputation among the other teams/players in the Conference this season? And do you think it’s important for a player of your caliber to have a good reputation when it comes to Spirit of the Game, for example?
I think there’s only one way I can go about changing peoples perception of me and that’s by on the field attitude. And, quite frankly, I don’t know if people will change their mind. I can only hope that they do. You can ask my teammates, Captain, and Tulane members and I think they will all agree that I have presented a more mature and level-headed player. Hopefully people will see this change and development as a person and player I have undergone and change their perception of me.
Speaking of Spirit of the Game. In my opinion, there is a widening gap in regards to SOTG between the young players of this sport like yourself and some of the older ultimate players. Do you think there’s still a place in competitive ultimate for SOTG now and in the future? And, if so, how important is it that we continue to maintain that element of ultimate?
I definitely think there is a place for SOTG in present ultimate and future ultimate. Ultimate is different because we have SOTG, but that does not mean that we take the sport lighter than any other we have played. We should still play Ultimate with the same intensity as we would play football, soccer, or basketball. I personally think that for people to take this sport seriously, outside of the Frisbee community, is going to take toughening the sport up. I’m not saying to throw away SOTG because it is a vital aspect to Ultimate, but we should definitely not make it the center of our sport if we want others to take us seriously. Ultimate is badass and is intense already, but there’s always room for improvement and I think as a community we can advance it in the direction we want it to go.
I’m still close enough to the LSU program to know that you and the other young guys on the team are trying to change the culture of LSU Ultimate this year. How is that change going to look compared to LSU teams of the past few years?
This year’s team will be an LSU team that no one has ever seen before. We are new and improved so y’all better watch out. Unfortunately we won’t be having our entire roster at any tournaments in the Fall, so when Spring time rolls around I believe everyone will be surprised. We are an incredibly young team with most of the A team being composed of Sophomores and Freshman. We got rid of any existing DGAF mentalities and have further improved our program. Our practices have been extremely taxing and I would venture to say that practices have been a lot more difficult than last year’s, and it’s only the Fall. I wish every team in this Conference the best of luck, and I can’t wait to see y’all in action on the field.
You guys have been pretty active already this fall. Scrimmaged Tulane a few weeks ago in New Orleans, went to Auburn this past weekend and now Classic City Classic on the horizon. What other events/tournaments do you plan to attend this fall before the spring season?
Yea, we scrimmaged Tulane a few weeks back in a grueling match up. We were without 3 key players in Zach Fruge, Travis Vermaelen, and Tim Lala. Tulane looks incredibly solid, especially their handler movement, and they are a group of veterans that are seeking blood. So, I would definitely watch out for them and whoever thinks they aren’t a force to be reckoned with you’re wrong, very wrong. On another note, LSU looks to attend CCC this upcoming weekend, and I send my best wishes to the LSU guys traveling up to Georgia, as I wont be in attendance, as well as every other team from our Conference that is attending. Show them what this Conference is made of and do work!