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The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

Eli Sandler flics ultimate team into the end zone

Eli Sandler has returned to coach the JV ultimate team after playing two years on the varsity team.

It is rare to love your high school sport so much that you want to coach it, but coaching it at the same school you played for is even rarer. This is what alumni ‘22 Eli Sandler does, as he spends his spring afternoons coaching where he once spent them playing with the boys ultimate disc team.

Sandler played for the varsity team in the 2021 and 2022 seasons. He is currently a sophomore at Northeastern University, and he spends his spring afternoons coaching the team and working with varsity coach Micheal Downing, on tactics. The current ultimate disc season marks Eli Sandler’s second year coaching the junior varsity (JV) team.

Sandler said the ultimate disc team is a great group of kids, and he wanted to return to the team as a coach to spend more time in the community.

“I love the sport. It means a lot to me on a personal level. I loved playing in high school. I played varsity in junior and senior year, and I got to play with the current varsity juniors and seniors. So those are the ones who were coming through who were going to be the next generation of the program. I love playing with them,” Sandler said.

The JV practices are an hour and a half after school. On game days the team leaves around 3 p.m. and may not get back until 6:30-7 p.m. Sandler spends additional time coaching the team outside of these scheduled hours.

“I work with Mike, the varsity coach, on tactics because we want to make sure that the teams are aligned, that we’re being one program,” Sandler said. “We’re trying to do more outside of disc, outside of practices, some more spirit activities. And then I do my own work thinking about rosters, players, lines and how to help everybody on the team get their best experience out of their spring sport.”

Junior and JV player Neil Saran said the season has been going well so far, in part because of Sandler’s coaching.

“He just inspires the team a ton,” Saran said. “And he knows how to try and make us all improve. He also tries to make it fun.”

Downing coached Sandler for three years. He said Sandler was a thoughtful player with attributes that would make him a good coach.

“He liked to talk about strategy. He also paid close attention to learning the rules and being prepared as a player mentally. He was very easy to work with. He was coachable,” Downing said. “Once he graduated, he voiced to me an interest in coming back to help after his freshman year of college, and I thought that would be great.Then it turned into an opportunity to hire him as part of the staff, to work with JV. So this is his second year with us, and I think he’s doing a great job with the JV.”

Sandler said that spirit is what makes ultimate disc a unique sport.

“There has to be spirit,” Sandler said. “Seven players on the field at a time for each team, but something that we as coaches are always pushing is that everybody’s got to be involved. You’re always talking, you’re always communicating. Win or lose, you have to be there for your teammates after every point.”

Sandler said ultimate disc is an important part of his life and this passion developed through high school.

“It was just a great group of people that I got to go and spend time with and do something that I loved every day after school,” Sandler said. “I don’t think you can ask for much more.”

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