VC Welcomes Ben Burelle to the Team
Learn more about Ben and how he channels Julia Roberts into his decision making process!
VC Ultimate is excited to welcome Ben Burelle to our Toronto HQ team this spring! Ben is joining VC as a Marketing Coordinator. Fittingly, his first assignment was to write his own employment announcement - a story about his bittersweet decision to move across the country to expand his ultimate experience - both professionally and competitively.
Turning my Back to the West Coast:
Why I’m moving to Toronto
By Ben Burelle
From the outside looking in, my life seems like a good one. I have parents who support me without asking any questions, a tight-knit group of friends who would drop anything to go on adventures with me, and the breathtaking allure of the West Coast to call my backyard. I have had the opportunity to play on the Vancouver Riptide and Furious George, as well as the University of Victoria Vikes, all of which were teams filled to the brim with the best teammates any confused young adult could hope for. I was living the dream of most 24-year old ultimate players, right?
Ben as #73 on Vancouver's Elite men's ultimate team, Furious George.
Sadly, no. Through all the camping trips with friends to Tofino or the Oregon Coast, or home-cooked meals my parents have made to convince me to settle down in Vancouver (my mom makes a mean chicken fajita), there has always been a thought itching at the back of my mind: this isn’t home, at least not for now.
So I’ve decided to do what any recent university graduate does when they are lost and anxious about what’s next: I’ve decided to move to Toronto. Away from the friends I’ve tricked into staying with me all these years, away from the security of the tried and true, and away from my mother who is going to kill me for moving away (sorry, Mom). It’s time I channel my inner Julia Roberts and embark on my own Eat, Pray, Love journey.
Zip Lining on Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, BC.
I admit, however, that I am embellishing my bravery a tad; I have friends who have moved to new towns truly alone and I commend their courage. Luckily for me and my crippling anxiety of the unknown, I come to Toronto a part of one the most accepting communities I have come to know.
By virtue of playing for Team Canada, GOAT, and the Rush, as well as my 4-month trial of Toronto last summer, I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of the best Ontario has to offer—I have fostered relationships with players from the Toronto 6ixers, the Ottawa ultimate scene, as well as members of the Toronto Ultimate Club. What has shocked me the most as a newcomer in a massive community was how accepting and willing complete strangers were to help me. After spending the last 5 years of my life in the small community of Victoria, BC, I was skeptical of how friendly the largest city in Canada could be. The simple answer to that question is very.
As I commence the first chapter of the second book of my life, Toronto: What The Heck Am I Doing?, I hope to accomplish three things. First and foremost, I want to discover what drives me. When people ask me “So what do you do?”, I’ve always answered, “Well, I play ultimate.” Don’t get me wrong, ultimate has given me opportunities that no other sport could have, but I aspire to something else in my life. Toronto may be the town that aids me in my quest of finding what wakes me up in the morning.
Second, I hope to use my voice for the greater good. The AUDL has allowed me to garner popularity in the ultimate community, thanks to my dancing (my hips have a mind of their own) and carefree attitude. Not only that but as a straight white male, I have been born into a place of privilege that I have not earned. Through my studies in sociology, as well as playing a sport where the community is aware of sensitive topics, I’ve started to understand that silence is no longer an option for me. This summer, I want to be a voice and ally in gender equity discussions, furthering the conversation and creating tangible solutions.
Finally, I want to win. I’ve been an out-of-towner for the Rush and GOAT for the last year, and I haven’t been able to commit 100% to either team. Since ultimate is my only certainty in Toronto, I want to be able to push myself like I never have before. Although I’ve only been part of the Toronto scene for a year, my hunger to win is insatiable. I want my teammates and me to win at tournaments across the world, and I dream of the day the Herd and the Rush are the best in the world.
Ben looks pretty comfortable in that GOAT jersey, if you ask us.
As I prepare to launch myself into a new beginning, I can’t help but think of all of those who have helped me get to where I am today. My mom, dad, and brother are my biggest fans and I win for them. My best friends, Chris and Sarah, have managed to keep me from bursting at the seams, especially this year when I hit new mental lows. And finally, my brothers on the field, the University of Victoria Vikes. Without my teammates from these last 5 years, I would have never been able to make teams like GOAT. To you all, I am thankful and eternally grateful, and the thought of leaving any of you makes me fight back tears.
While I spend the night reminiscing on past adventures and contemplating potential futures, I leave you with the incredibly cryptic words of Julia Roberts as Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love: “The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving.”
Drop Ben a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to welcome him to the team!