Player Profile: Chris Powers
Here’s what you need to know about the Cincinnati Revolution’s Chris Powers (#99): He’s a 6-foot tall, intense, fast-talking, wildly gesticulating ball of energy who was the 2013 AUDL leader in assists and a member of Skyd Magazine’s All AUDL First Team. He played at Miami University (Ohio) before transferring to Wright State University and playing for the Airstrike, and eventually joined the Dayton club team Enigma. As captain of the Cincinnati Revolution, he tries to lead by example and keep the team motivated—whether that means attacking throwing lanes on the field or keep spirits high on the sidelines by pumping up his teammates.
He also goes by the name of Fudge.
“That’s kind of a funny thing—I like to tell people different stories all the time,” he said. The type of story you’ll hear depends on his mood, and he may never tell you the truth. “I will ride that train until they find out, and if I’m in sassy game day mode, there’s no way they’ll figure it out. You just have to be confident in your delivery.”
Depending on Powers’—aka Fudge’s—mood, you might hear one of two stories. The first is relatively simple and seems the most plausible. You know how a lot of students in college survive on ramen as a go-to cheap food?
“Well, for me, I just ate chocolate fudge Pop Tarts, all day, every day,” Powers said, clearly proud of himself.
The second version contains much more detail, a reference to bodily functions and might qualify as an epic ultimate tale, due in part to the intensity of Powers’ delivery.
“When I first started playing, I was normally a cutter and switched to a handler,” he started, launching into story. “I got really used to role, and for a while didn’t do a lot of cutting. But then, we’re playing this game. We’re on universe point and my guy is just a little bit slower but he’s super aggressive and I’m like, ‘Yo, dude, eyes on me.’”
It’s at this point that his tale has started to attract a crowd of onlookers, and he’s started talking noticeably faster and louder. He’s told these stories about his nickname for eight years, so he has the details down.
“And I’m cutting, cutting, cutting for a while,” he continued, jumping around like a slalom skier. “I have like a huge big under, dump it, and I’m streaking down the field. I have this ridiculously huge layout, and we get the point. We win. And we’re so jacked. We’re pumped. I slowly walk away, holding my shorts, because I had an accident in my pants.”
Jacked is an appropriate descriptor for Powers—he probably dropped that word eight times throughout the course of the interview. He sees himself as responsible for helping build team chemistry on a squad that’s still learning how to play together best.
Just like fellow Midwest Division member Indianapolis, Cincinnati has no dominant club team from which to pull its players, who hail from across Ohio and Kentucky, or college feeder system. Its roster features the best three or four players from a scattering of club teams (Enigma in Dayton, Steamboat in Cincinnati, Mad Cow in Columbus) with lots of talent, drive and athleticism—and the need to build team chemistry.
“We have guys who can pull it together and we have moments of greatness, but we are still working on chemistry with everyone,” Powers said, reflecting on the AUDL season so far. “The more time we play together, the better it gets. The more trips like this, the better it gets.”
Powers doesn’t like to lose, and wants to help make the Revolution a contender in 2015.
This year, the team held its combine earlier so they could get a jump start on the season and have more opportunities to play together. They also saw off-the-field activities, like camping and rock climbing trips, going to sporting games and bus trips, as equally important to building an ultimate team as your standard strength training and agility exercises. The team organizes outings and practices around regions, so some players make the trek to Cleveland to watch the Browns while Powers plans trips for guys in the Dayton and Cincinnati area to the Red River Gorge, where they climb during the day and make fun of each other at night.
“Climbing is great for teambuilding—you’re building chemistry because you have to communicate on the wall, you’re working together, you have to talk about going up, you use all these skills, you have to talk about how you’re going to progress,” Powers said, finally pausing for a breath. “And that’s stuff we can use on the field.”
“You get to know the guys outside of ultimate,” he went on. “You know them on the field, and then you find out stuff about them that isn’t related to the sport. Playing is great together, but as soon as you go from teammates to friends—that’s what helps make you better as a team.”
And stories, like Powers’ nickname, also go a long way in building team camaraderie. He turned the interview over to eight Revolution players (he had to get changed before they all got on the bus back to Cincinnati), who were all too eager to talk about the bonding they had done on first the 10-plus hour trip. They launched into the retelling of a saga that involved a stolen disc, an ex girlfriend and a five-round pool battle before starting one that chronicled the purchasing of a Craigslist PS2 and then a list of favorite songs to sing on the bus (1990s rap songs and Disney classics, of course), and then, finally, what they like about Fudge.
“Chris is honestly just this guy who is fun to play with,” Kevin Baumann said. “He’s super fun. He’s the type who is out there, running around and being goofy, but saying ‘Good job’ on the field to everyone. He’s a fun player to be around, which is contagious, which is something we need, especially on trips like this where we’re going really far and things aren’t necessarily swinging in our favor.”
“But don’t let him fool you with that Pop Tart story,” Mike Ames added. “He totally had an accident."
-- Caitlin Cieslik-Miskimen and Adam Ruffner