Thursday, August 25, 2016

Dylan Tunnell (Atlanta Hustle) Wins AUDL 2016 MVP

The American Ultimate Disc League announced their MVP of their 2016 season.  A player who needs no introduction(?)... Dylan Tunnell.

Tunnell won the award over Jimmy Mickle (Dallas Roughnecks), Mischa Freystaetter (Jacksonville Cannons),  Mark Burton (Seattle Cascades) and Peter Graffy (Madison Radicals). He becomes the first AUDL South player to win MVP honors. As the AUDL pointed out, Tunnell is only the 3rd player to win MVP honors in the 5 seasons of the league.

Atlanta Hustle expanded upon Dylan's disposition via reddit:
As mentioned here Dylan is a unique talent. He makes many difficult things seem effortless and it is easy to take for granted how good he is. But, what I would love for the general ultimate community to know is he is as good of a person as a player. We ride together to weekly practices so I've had the chance to talk to him at length about ultimate. Two Dylan stories I want to share: 
I met with Dylan to recruit him before our 1st season. We discussed many things. He had moved from Open to Mixed and was spending more time on family than ultimate. He was forthcoming with his skepticism of pro ultimate. He is wholly committed to the ideals of spirit of the game. He believes in self officiation and was hesitant, but not against, playing with referees. What I told him was that this was an opportunity because, as part of the Hustle, he would be in a position to influence the direction of our franchise, ultimate in Atlanta, and pro ultimate. I know that was a more significant draw to him than competing in front of a crowd, in a big stadium, or getting paid (I think coach Miranda Knowles joined our staff in part for the same reason). In his two years with us he has taken that role seriously and had a lasting impact on our culture. He's single handedly converted like 8 people into Magic players. 
Dylan is a firefighter and EMT. He usually works 24 hour shifts. He routinely gets off a shift at 7am and hops in a van for a roadtrip. This year on Memorial Day weekend we hosted the Roughnecks. He was unable to get his shift covered. He was conflicted because he feels a deep obligation to his teammates. This was a big game for all of us and he wanted to be there for them. So he cleared with his bosses to have his unit stationed at the stadium during the game. He was going to play but his partner was on the sideline ready to pull him if they got a call. They were backups so they were only supposed to get called if another unit was already responding to a call. Dylan warmed up and, sure enough, he has to leave right before opening pull, but too late to make a roster substitution. He missed about 10 points, maybe the whole 1st quarter, but he came back. First point in he threw an assist to Vickroy (without much of a warm up either). He had to leave again at the end of the 4th quarter with the team down 3. He played only 14 points but had 4A. For me, this is an example of Dylan's character. He is driven by a strong sense of duty and responsibility in all aspects of his life. 
When Dylan found out that he won he laughed. He gave all the credit to his teammates.

Of note, Dylan Tunnell won the MVP at the 2011 USA Ultimate Club Championships amongst open (men's) teams as a player for Atlanta Chain Lightning.

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