July 9, 2019
By Cameron Brock
After scoring his 500th career goal on Saturday, Indianapolis AlleyCats legend Cameron Brock used a 36-tweet spree to reflect upon and explain his journey as an AlleyCat. Here’s what the tweets would look like as more of a journal entry.
It’s been about 24 hours since goal 500 and clinching the regular season division title, and I have some thoughts that I’d love to share. This is going to be an essay, so bear with me. As some of you may know, I almost didn’t try out for the Indianapolis AllyCats because, quite honestly, I didn’t think I had a chance to make the team. Being a college kid, I didn’t really want to blow money on a registration fee, so I waited pretty much until the last possible minute to leave my room in Muncie to make the trip to Indianapolis.
I was one of like 150 or so people that tried out for the team that year. Every time, they made cuts (they made like seven or eight rounds of cuts, I swear), I was terrified that my name would be on the list. I would actually go through the entire list and tell myself, ‘ok, he’s better than me’, ‘I might be a little better than this person’, ‘it’s too close to call on him, but he’s probably better.’ At best, I thought I might be about 45-50 on the list, from a talent perspective.
I skipped every college tournament my last year at Ball State. I went to every tryout (which was pretty much three out of four weekends a month) and sacrificed a LOT of time I could have spent just enjoying my last semester of undergrad. All for what I deemed to be a tiny chance at making the 'Cats. Lo and behold, a few weeks before absolute final cuts, I was informed by the head coach that he already had me penciled in for the final roster. I was absolutely stunned, but extremely excited.
Fast-forward another month or so, and Brodie Smith tells me at a McDonalds in Greenwood that I’m going to be on the starting offensive line. My jaw dropped. I thought, at best, I’d be getting every other D rep, and here I was with an opportunity to be playing O points. Beyond my wildest expectations. Not only that, but I’d be playing on that line with two of my best teammates from Ball State, Keenan Plew and Hans Rasmussen, guys that I felt I could play blindfolded with. We knew each other’s games inside and out. We’d played countless points together. I couldn’t be more excited.
As the season went on, I somehow became the guy that scored goals. I was bad at ultimate, but I was still a good athlete. I used pure instinct and athleticism to do the one thing I was good at in ultimate, getting open in the end zone.
Fast forward a few seasons. I’m still pretty raw, but still good at one thing, which is getting open in the end zone. The team is now mostly just guys from Indy. No more Goose Helton or Brodie Smith as my running mates. But adding guys like Super Toine to give us more Indiana ultimate feel. It was awesome, but we struggled as a new wave of young talent emerged on the team. We had lots of energy, but it was all over the place. We were like toddlers on a sugar high. Energy to burn without any of. The control to direct it, and eventually we would crash and burn.
Fast forward again to the end of year five. I’m at Championship Weekend for a fan experience game. We just missed the playoffs for the second year in a row, and the team really isn’t fun for me anymore. The end of the year is a slog. I’m exhausted. I inform Evan Lepler postgame that I don’t think I’m coming back for year six. I send an e-mail to the owner letting him know the same, but that I haven’t made a final decision yet. I wanted to focus on my faith, and I felt ultimate was harming that. I felt my time was up.
Enter the offseason. I hear of a few new pieces we might be adding. It seems like everyone wants to give it another go. Instead of using my faith as a place of refuge, I lean on it to push me through another offseason of training and preparing. I lean on God. He supports me. We push through another season failing to make the playoffs, but instead of disappointment, I feel a rush of excitement. We were so close in so many games. The energy was higher. The commitment was higher. Coach Leonard was changing the culture.
Year seven. What. A. Year. We defy expectations, HOST a playoff game (which we win), beat big brother Madison for the first time, and we experience success for the first time in a long time. We know we are close, despite the score that ended our season. We can taste it.
Now we are here. Year eight. Regular season division champs. Beat Madison at Breese Stevens. Win the head-to-head against EVERY opponent. Shattering expectations others placed on us, but not the expectations we placed on ourselves. The culture is unrecognizable from years past. And the guys we added. Holy moly. They are ballers. Not just on the field, but off as well. Our small group, which we started several years ago, is triple the size of years past. We talk about God. We talk about what’s going on in our lives. It centers us. Focuses us. I feel closer to this group fo teammates than any in years past. Not just the guys that gather to talk about our faith, but every single one of them. They work their butts off. They trust in the team instead of themselves. They work together for our common goal.
I almost didn’t try out. I almost walked away. But I never allowed my moments of weakness to turn into days/weeks/years of weakness. I learned on my faith. I leaned on my wife. I leaned on teammates and friends. And, ultimately, we made it.
Goal 500 was not an individual accomplishment, much like winning the division wasn’t. It was the result of a bunch of guys playing their roles to help the team win. I just so happened to be the guy catching lots of goals. I played my role. And part of. Everyone’s role is being the best teammate they can be. For me, that means working my butt off in the offseason to be stronger and healthier. The best statistic I can lay claim to is missing exactly one game in eight years, after a stroke I had in 2013. And in that moment, a moment when I didn’t know if I would ever play ultimate again. A time when I thought I might be eternally affected by the results of that stroke, my teammates gathered around me, hugged me, told me they loved me. They had my back. And. When I think about that, when I think about all. The love and support I’ve gotten from teammates, past and present, how in the heck could I give up on them. How could I convince myself. That I couldn’t push on through another season. I owed everyone my absolute best. All of my teammates over the years that trusted me to get open, make the catch, not throw the disc away (might have failed a little too often on that one). My teammates that wanted ME to be the guy the play was run for. ME. ME to be the guy streaking deep, beating my defender. The fans that cheered me on. The kids that said they looked up to me. The players I coached that believed in what I said and why I said it. That came to my games and got hooked on the sport. Maybe most of all, my grandma, the biggest Cats fan there was before her health kept her from attending games. For all those people. For all the people that invested in me. That I had invested in. For the people I was yet to have the chance to invest in. I decided for all of them, and for all the work I had put it, that I couldn’t turn my back on Cats.
I guess what it really comes down to is how much you really want something. How much are you willing to dig down and bear the struggles to have a chance at something better? Something more? I had my doubts. I was as close as it gets to calling it quits. But take it from a. Guy that never thought he would even make a roster. If you want something, don’t wait around for it to happen. Don’t give up because it’s hard, or it’s taking too long. Grind. Every day if you have to. Grind until you can’t. Then grind some more. Find people that believe in you. Invest in those relationships. Find people to believe in. You’ll be amazed how hard it is to quit once you’ve got others involved. Once you have people you care about and that care about you.
This is basically a love letter to everyone that believed in me. Everyone that took time to invest in my life, ultimate, and otherwise. You’ve been what’s pushed me when I felt like I was running on empty.
I don’t know where this journey ends. Heck, I don’t even know where this season ends. Could be in three weeks. Could be longer. But I’m in it until it’s finished, whenever and whatever that might be. However long the grind can continue. Because I’ve wanted this success for Indy ultimate for a long time. Not just for me, but for the city.
For everyone that didn’t believe in us. For everyone who thought Indy could never compete with the Chicagos and Madisons of the world. I wanted this for us. A whole lot of people got us to this point. And a whole lot will fight to keep us here. Because when you want something…I mean REALLY want something. You don’t wait around and hope it happens. You go out and you GRAB IT. That’s what I’ve always best. I came into the league, as I said, being able to do one thing really. well. It’s served me incredibly well. I don’t wait for things to happen. I go and GRAB my goals, even if it takes longer than I’d like to fully grasp them. I hope you all go and do the same. The reward is worth the grind.