MEDFORD – Uptons Ethan Fortin first started playing Ultimate Frisbee when he was in high school at Nipmuc Regional.
His two-year-old older brother Connor was the captain of the local team at the time. It was at this point that ethane was first introduced to the sport.
“I play because of him,” said Ethan.
Connor started playing Ultimate when his friends who were on the soccer team invited him to play.
“I didn’t play soccer, but they convinced me to come out and play (ultimately),” Connor said. “It was instantly great fun just running and catching it and saying, ‘Oh, this is like the best thing about football.'”
“Everyone is the receiver, everyone is the quarterback,” added Ethan. “You have to do everything in the field, it’s so much fun.”
But when Connor and Ethan were in high school, they never thought they could do the sport professionally.
“The best teams we knew about were the best men’s teams in Boston, but it wasn’t like that,” said Connor. “It has always been our dream to play on one of these teams, but to have fans like that (ultimately) grew so fast that it exceeded anything we could imagine.”
Connor, who went to the Rochester Institute of Technology, played professionally for the Rochester Dragons from 2013 to 2015 before they folded. Ethan, who went to Villanova University, played professionally for the Philadelphia Phoenix from 2015-2020.
Now the two brothers from Upton play together for the Boston Glory during its debut season in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL).
“Ethan’s an AUDL vet,” said Glory trainer Sam Rosenthal after Boston’s 21:19 defeat by the Atlanta Hustle in their home opener on Friday. “He came to us from Philadelphia so he has a lot of experience in the league. He’s usually an O-Line guy, but we put him on the D-Line and he was a great D-Line quarterback after we to get the turn, but he also gets D right and plays the way I want. He’s a great tool for us. “
The Fortin Brothers aren’t the only ultimate players from the MetroWest region. Chris Bartoli, a 2014 graduate of Ashland High School, also plays the Glory (1-1) and scored three points in his first game action of the season.
“He made a big block on their top receiver,” said Rosenthal. “So it’s obvious what his speed brings to the team. He will be an important player for us all year round.”
Bartoli started using Ultimate as a pickup game in middle school when his friends taught him to play.
“We went out on half days and every time we were together we played barefoot, Pickup Ultimate,” said Bartoli. “I didn’t really know what we were doing out there other than throwing a disc, but I fell in love with the sport and have played it ever since.”
Bartoli ended up playing Ultimate on UMass for ZooDisc for five years until 2019.
As with the Fortins, however, Bartoli never thought he would ultimately play professionally.
“During high school and even early in college, I didn’t even know what the next level of the ultimate was,” Bartoli said. “All I thought about was the team I was with, the game I played.
The Glory aren’t the first professional Ultimate Disc League team in Boston. Ethan Fortin recalls going as a fan to the Boston Whitecaps Major League Ultimate (MLU) games in 2016, which was MLU’s final season.
Playing now as a professional on the same field where he saw the Whitecaps play as a fan turned out to be a surreal moment.
“The crowd was amazing,” said Ethan. “Huge turnout, a couple hundred people. I loved it.”
The Glory are playing 12 games this season. All home games are played at the Hormel Stadium in Medford. The next home game is on June 25th at 7pm against the Tampa Bay Cannons
Ethan Winter is a senior multimedia sports writer for the Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @EWints.