Monday, 1 April 2013

Interview #3 - Jennifer Cooper

Hey Jen, all well?
Everything good with me, thanks. . I’m very excited about Tour this weekend!

Congrats on making the team. You must be chuffed!
Thank you. Yup, I’m absolutely delighted. My plans for the year were dependant on whether I made the team or not so I’m very happy that I made it and get to represent Ireland this summer!

You played on the Women's team in Italy 3 years ago, how did that week go for you?
I did. I really enjoyed the experience of playing an international tournament. I was a lot less experienced at the time, as was a lot of the team so I’m realising now how much was going over my head, but it was great to get a chance to play with all the girls and to learn from their experience. The week itself is a bit of a blur but it was great fun, with lots of hard fought ultimate and lovely weather ;) Unfortunately I ended up playing that week on a fractured foot so I’m really hoping that this time round I’ll be at full fitness. (That’s what all the core is for, right Frenchi ?)

And since then you've been playing your club ultimate with Jabba the Huck. It must give confidence to the good chunk of the squad who have played together with Jabba before as well as having familiar faces as your coaches. How have you found the process of getting used to playing with new teammates?
The Jabba aspect of the U23 team is proving very beneficial as I’ve way less tactics to remember. Its also nice to know that everything we’re doing at training each week is to the benefit of both teams, so it really feels like its all connected and not just a training weekend once a month. The O line has a lot of DCU and Jabba players on it so I’ve played with a lot of them before. Learning to work with handlers is always an interesting process especially for those of us who like to run deep a lot. We came back after lunch at a recent training day and Casey says “Jen, I’ve been practicing my hucks for you”. It was music to my ears! So I’m definitely looking forward to working with him. Everyone on the O line is versatile while all having something specific they’re very good at ... we’ve been working hard on identifying and using these things, so hopefully we’ll see it all come together this weekend.

When this team was announced were there any players that straight away you were excited to be on the same team as?
I must say I was very excited to get to play with all these incredible junior girls I had heard so much about. They’ve definitely lived up to their reputation!

You've been quite successful with Jabba in recent years with the club gaining depth in numbers and really excelling in its Mixed division. Tell us about the Mixed season for Jabba last year.
Best season yet! It was a great year for the club as we grew so much in numbers and across all divisions. Everybody in the club put in a huge effort throughout the season and we were getting up to 40 people out at training on quite a regular basis. We attended all three mixed tours and worked really hard at being a team unit ,which stood to all 3 teams at mixed nationals. Mixed Nationals was the perfect end to the season and is definitely a highlight of my ultimate career so far!

Your Women's and Men's teams weren't too shabby either collecting a number of trophies along the way. Can the same be expected from the club this year?
A lot more can be expected I hope. We’re building on everything we achieved last year in all divisions. Both the Open and women’s teams are hoping to travel to tournaments abroad and to put up a serious challenge at All-Ireland’s come September. My focus will be much more on mixed this season as I’ll miss most of the lead up to Women’s All-Irelands again this year, unfortunately.

You might say that you are rather "artsy" and you're known to have your camera out at tournaments getting some quality snaps. What sparked this interest?
I guess you could say that! I’m known to have a camera whenever I can beg, borrow or steal one. Unfortunately I do not yet own a DSLR although hopefully that will change before the summer. I guess I’ve always been creative and in to art and making things, as anyone who has ever won anything at a tournament I’ve hosted will attest to! I studied photography as a part of my degree so last minute Ultimate shots from whatever tourney was on the weekend before featured a lot in my assignments. Luckily Ultimate is a good sport for the dramatic shots!

Are you excited to get some good photos from the various tournaments that the team will attend this year? Or will you leave that to someone else and just concentrate on playing?
It’ll all depend on whether I’ve a camera by then I guess, but I think for the most part I’ll concentrate on playing!

Back to Ultimate; UK Mixed Tour 1 is the first stop on the team's travels this year. Have you attended this tournament before? How do you think the team will fair?
You have no idea how excited I am about this tournament!! I can’t wait to play
together as a team. I was at this tournament last year with Jabba and it was a great weekend, full of really good intense ultimate and surprisingly good weather. You go to Tour to play intense, high level ultimate and that’s exactly what we’ll get. I don’t know much about the other teams that will be there or where we’ll be seeded or anything like that so I’m not too worried about how we finish, but it’ll be a very important weekend for us as a team. It’ll show us what we’re capable of as a unit and what we still need to work on before the summer. It’s our first tournament together so there are bound to be some hiccups, but once we play intense ultimate and try play the way we’ve set out to play I’ll be happy. It’d also be nice if it didn’t rain/snow and we win some games, that’d be ideal!

As I'm asking everyone else, I'll ask you too: Who do you want to play most in Toronto?
The Canadian game is one of the games that stands out the most from Florence so it’d be great to see where they’re at now! Apart from that I guess USA and GB are the obvious ones. But I want to play everyone . . .everyone will bring a new challenge. So excited, can’t wait !!

Lastly, you love a good laugh. Tell us a joke!

I do love a good laugh! I’m absolutely rubbish at jokes though, but since its Easter . . .
What happens when you tell an egg a joke?

. . . . .

It cracks up!

Classic! Nice one Jen, best of luck with the campaign
Thanks Hogi

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