VUL Spirit Circle: Ben Klein

On the last Saturday of each month, we feature a VUL community member who contributes in amazing ways to ultimate and the spirit of the game on and off the field.

Ben Klein

Ben has been involved in ultimate for 13 years. Along with our previous nominee (Alex Tse), Ben was nominated for the VUL Spirit Circle because of his role in fostering team culture and spirit on DimSum Warriors. The DimSum warriors have won several VUL "Team Spirit Awards" since 2013. 

You will read about the many roles that Ben has had with the community, where he sees ultimate going in the future and how he practices Spirit of the Game off the field. 

How many years have you been involved with ultimate?


What's your favourite throw and why?

One that makes it to another player. Seriously the basic ones are the best, I have been trying for a year to master an upfield huck or a distance I/O but not quite there yet. 

What's the main team(s) you currently play on?

DimSum Warriors is my go-to, but they didn't reform after Covid. I am a wandering player right now. 

What do you love about your team?

We have so many great personalities that want to win but not at the expense of having fun. We can get tense but there is a general "this is a game" baseline that permeates our plays. 

What role(s) do you have in the VUL/ultimate community?

Captain, Player

When did you start coaching/captaining/mentoring, and what inspired you to start?

I was the "Spirit Captain" long before I had an official A or C next to my name on VUL. That position of pumping up the team and maintaining communication with the other team grew to a more gradual understanding that everything is a part of spirit, from the strategy you play with, the effort to organize attendance to make sure that the other side feels like they are playing a genuine opponent. 

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I am mainly a mid-handler for 7x7 and I play whatever is needed in 5x5. Being a mid is nice because your job is to keep the disc moving so you are always looking for openings and easy passes. 

What are you most excited about for the sport of ultimate these days?

I would love to see Ultimate in the Olympics. I think Co-Ed ultimate development in professional options would be amazing but I suspect we will see a lot more single-gender teams in the near future. 

What do you love about the VUL?

VUL cares about not just the playability of ultimate but the future of the game. Their board thinks about SOTG even when people don't seem to care because they know that foundation makes the game something special. Their staff are champions of these values, but with the practical applications of it in everything they do. 

What is it about the spirit of the game that you find transfers into your everyday life outside of playing ultimate? 

"In spirit, we rank timeliness, rules knowledge, safe and clean play and communication. I try to respect the timeliness of my interactions by adhering to scheduled meetings, showing up ready to work, and respecting the work-life balance of my employees and clients. 

In rules knowledge, I stay informed of terms that bind me (Parent Action Committees, Client Contracts, Municipal and Strata regulations). This means that I don't over-promise and let myself down by underdelivering- but all that I can stick up for my rights. I am a firm believer in that you can mostly get what you want out of life if you stick to the rules. 

Safe and Clean play, there is nothing more dangerous than not respecting the safety of yourself and others. From getting expert advice when training to taking it easy when travelling. I go by the adage that I use in the game, "This is supposed to be fun and it isn't life or death, I shouldn't risk that". 

For communication, I can't express how critical it is to always be looking for the correct outcome. In the game, this is a discussion between captains or players that have stepped outside the game. In life, this is everything from how you address your spouse, your staff and co-worker to how you educate your kids. Stay positive, stay focused on the outcomes you need and be ready to listen as much as you speak. "

If you're not playing ultimate, what do you do?

I am a husband to the woman that taught me ultimate (Heart Jennired), and a hopeful father to two future ultimate players. Oh for work, I run an RFx Response Company "Geek Proposals"

In your opinion, what makes ultimate special?

Its ease of entry and progression. If you just know how to run and raise your hands you can be useful on a team, but if you are focused you can learn cutting techniques, throwing, field placement, strategy and more. 

Do you know someone we should highlight with our Community Spotlights? Tell us about them! Please send a message via our Contact Us page under the Community & Communications category. 

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