Monday, September 18, 2017

2015 - Hibida Hall of Fame - Tanner Gossack

2015 - Tanner Gossack

Tanner was a big athlete - both in actual size and in athletic ability. Hearkening back to the days of Jordan White and the 'linebacker's frame', Tanner had the kind of speed, size, and body control that could dominate on the Ultimate field. 

Tanner joined the team in 2012 as a raw prospect, eager to learn and develop his disc skills. By the 2013-2014 season, as a third year, he'd earned the respect of his peers and was elected captain. His disc skills had developed certainly, but I think what earned Tanner that respect both amongst teammates and opponents was his effort, commitment and dedication. He was fiercely loyal to the team and very protective of his teammates and coaches.

As a high school athlete, Tanner had knee problems and his doctors had more or less told him, "Stop playing sports." Tanner's stubborn insistence on continuing to participate in athletics was Hib's boon, as he consistently made monster plays for us.

My favorite Tanner memory was a drenched, muddy MLC in 2013. The fields were cold, mud pits. Tanner had a massive bid on an under cut that he just missed, landing square in a puddle with a huge, dramatic splash. Being the concerned coach that I am, I was yelling at him to get up and get on the mark. He flies up, his face completely covered in mud, no ability to see anything whatsoever and starts flailing around trying to block the next pass - which he came within an inch or two of doing despite having no vision. It still brings a smile to my face, to this day.

My saddest Tanner memory is from fall 2014 MLC. There was one particular point, I don't remember who it was against, maybe Kansas. Tanner was flying all over the field - he had a couple nice bids on a defense and the other team scored. Nothing overly notable about the point itself. After the point, I was at the far end of the field from the scoring endzone and I watched Tanner, who hadn't looked in any way shape or form limited during the point, slowly hobble, barely able to walk, towards the bathrooms. His knees finally had given out.

Tanner wasn't able to finish his senior season. The knee problems that had began in high school finally caught up to him. But I can still remember that last point - the last one he ever played - so vividly in mind. He looked like the same athlete I'd coached for four years. I can't imagine the pain he was in and I know how hard he fought to keep playing as long as he could. That spirit and that dedication are why Tanner is in the Hall of Fame and why I'm proud to have gotten to coach him and to still call him a friend.


Honorable Mentions: Iain McConachie, Logan Stagg, Andrew Spada

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