Alumni Spotlight

John Doherty - Ultimate Frisbee Professional

29 May
John Doherty

UCC alum, John Doherty recently became the first Irish person to sign for a professional Ultimate Frisbee team when he joined the Seattle Cascades. As John embarks on an exciting season on the U.S. circuit he looks back at his time at UCC and how joining the Ultimate Club changed his life.

Course/subjects studied in University College Cork:

Arts - Major in Economics and Minor in Psychology.

Best memory of UCC:

Really hard to pick one stand out thing. I suppose captaining the UCC Ultimate Frisbee team and winning club of the year and club person of the year the same night was great. And then going over to the UK a few weeks later and winning their (IVs) when in previous years it was considered nearly impossible for an Irish Uni to do. They don't let Irish teams back anymore so it's also something that can never be done again.

How has your time at UCC helped you to get to where you are now?

I suppose I'd never have played Ultimate had I not gotten into university. I remember at orientation that the UCC president said something along the lines of don't just let your academic success be what you take away from your time in UCC. I wasn't entirely sure what kind of career I wanted after Uni, so I wasn't as academically focused as most, but I found something I loved doing outside of the academics, and through it I've travelled to many countries, met many great people, and will probably travel to many more and meet more great people over the next few years.

What is your advice to current UCC students?

Wake up feeling happy about where your life is heading every day. If you aren't waking up happy, change something. If that means working hard to get a great job so you've a nice car and house, do it, but if it means going in a less common direction that you might have some uncertainty about, why not just go for it and see how it plays out.If you chose the second option, it's a lot easier to change your mind later and go back to the first option. It's could be a lot harder to choose the first option and then try and change to the other option down the line.

What person/people at UCC had the most positive influence on you?

I suppose I'd say that it was a role as opposed to any person that influenced me the most.In school I was certainly the class clown always being told stand outside the door. I'm certainly not someone who would have ever been considered someone who should be in charge of something. But when I ended up as the club captain for UCC Ultimate I wanted to make sure I put in the same level of professionalism that previous captains had in order to be seen as a success.I went from running a single fitness session each for the club, to essentially dealing with about 20 different tasks weekly from both an admin and an on pitch point of view. I really don't think that there's a workload I'd not be able for after spending a year of that. And the effort I put in was due to my own personal goals for the year, but also due to the level of commitment that I'd seen previous captains put in. Also one of those captains was the guy who convinced me to try the sport out. I don't think I would have if he hadn't convinced me. I suppose my life would be very different now had I not run into him that day on my way home from campus.

Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies?

There's only one I consider myself to have been really involved with, and I think you can guess what that was. I think there was also only one because I didn’t feel the need to do anything else. The Ultimate Frisbee club had it all. A sport you take as seriously as you want, a great bunch of people to hang around with and go on trips with. And I may also have ended up meeting my girlfriend of 4 years there as well, so I think I can say UCC Ultimate has had a huge positive impact on my life going forward. An impact that I think will keep me involved with the sport until I'm no longer able to due to old age.

Favourite UCC legend or superstition:

I walked through the quad my first day on campus without knowing, and I did have to repeat an exam.I also walked over the crest that day without knowing, but I was sure to always be ready to rugby tackle my girlfriend out of the way if she was about to step on the crest, and we both graduated child free.

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