The 2018 World Junior Ultimate Championships are underway in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada! Take some time to get to know members of your U-20 National Teams a little better as they compete for gold.
Get to Know: Leo Gordon
Hometown: Berkeley, Calif.
- Berkeley High Coup
- Bay Area Red Dawn
- U-20 National Team
I’ve been trying to balance academics but also strong ultimate programs in what I’m looking for in colleges. I’m interested in East-Asian languages and linguistics, and I’m interested in a very academic school, so I’ve put some thought into Brown or Northwestern or Georgetown – all of which made it to College Nationals last year. So it’s trying to find that balance. The UCs [University of California system schools] also have good, solid ultimate programs and really good academics, and I don’t mind staying in California.
What got you interested in East-Asian languages?
My mom’s parents moved to the U.S. from Japan. They spoke with her some at home, and my dad lived in Japan for a bit. My mom sometimes makes Japanese food, and I’m just interested in the culture and connecting with my relatives who are in Japan. That was one of the original reasons I learned the language. My sister has also learned the language, and she’s had a really cool time studying abroad and being able to connect with relatives and make friends. I started studying Mandarin in high school. It’s very hard, but it’s also super rewarding. I think being able to communicate with people from different cultures brings people together. Especially at this tournament. I’ve been able to speak to the Japanese players about trading or ultimate or learning Japanese, and it’s a super cool experience that I wouldn’t be able to have if I didn’t have access to speaking Japanese.
Are you fluent in Japanese?
Not by any means. I studied for four summers through the UC-Berkeley graduate school, but I haven’t spoken it for two years, and I’ve been studying Mandarin in school. That’s another thing I want to balance in college – learning both Mandarin and Japanese. It’s very hard to do at the same time because they have a similar writing system.
Favorite ultimate club team:
That’s hard! Watching Ring of Fire play at the U.S. Open, I think they play really tough defense. They also have a good system, and there are a lot of fun, nice guys on that team. They also stay energetic and fired up and really intense. I think that’s what I’d look for in a club team. Revolver – I like their Intensity, Humility, Discipline, but I just feel like Ring has more fun.
Ultimate player you look up to:
Byron Liu. He coached Berkeley High a couple years, and watching him at both the U.S. Open and on film from WUCC, just seeing him play really intense defense against Jimmy Mickle and taking that match up every time is really inspiring, and I wat to play that kind of defense.
Go-to Netflix show to binge:
Grey’s Anatomy! It’s super dramatic, and the science isn’t always sound, but I think the interactions between the characters are really cool, and I also like how through each episode, there’s a clear lesson about life that the characters are learning from their experience. And I think, in life, you should try to take away and learn things from the experiences you have and the challenges you go through.
Guilty pleasure music:
I’d probably say Sara Bareilles or Taylor Swift. One of those two. My early music taste was very influenced by my sister’s, so I still love jamming out to old T Swift or Sara Bareilles. It’s fun to listen to and gets me in a good mood.
I’ve played piano for over 10 years.