The Best

Best Backhand
by Stuart Case

I have thought for years that the single most outstanding attribute of any player, in isolation from any other attributes - the one that knocks my eyes out whenever I see, or saw, it - was Jon Cohn's backhand throw. J.C. could throw it a mile - he was a championship golfer, distance thrower, TRC and MTA competitor at field events tournaments in the same league as Peter Bloeme; playing Ultimate he could put his backhand anywhere on the field from anywhere on the field, and (perhaps most remarkably) at any trajectory. His command of the backhand was, to me, absolute. Jon's arms are very long and lanky, and his throwing mechanics unusually flexible. I've seen him wrap his right arm around his head (biceps to chin), extend his right hand past his left ear and around the back of his head, and touch his right ear, essentially 360 degrees of arc. He could have thrown his ear the length of the field, let alone a frisbee. His weight distribution and delivery were of a fluid, architectural perfection (think Koufax).

J.C.'s backhand throw was a unique talent, and he set it up with his thumber, of all things. (Or, he would sell a hard backhand fake, and whirl into a deep thumber to 6'-6" Ed Dissasway. Not a bad choice for best thrower-receiver combo). When combined with his intelligence, hands, timing, field sense and leadership - all of which put him on a par with the more extroverted Irv Kalb - he was a complete player of unsurpassed greatness. Not only was his backhand the best I've ever seen, anyone else is only a remote, distant second. There are many great leapers, defenders, sprinters, receivers and on and on, but the gaps between the best of each are not as great as the gulf between the Jon Cohn backhand and everyone else's. Best backhand? John Cohn.

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