GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Detroit Mechanix starts its pre-game routine like many other teams do: with a locker room speech. 

The Mechanix is a professional ultimate frisbee team that plays under the American Ultimate Disc League, and the team is doing everything they can to stay inspired. It relocated to Grand Rapids a few years ago, after its previous arena near Detroit closed. The team has been playing in West Michigan for the last four seasons. 

“There’s no flash, no glory, but it’s the start of a league that I think can really take off and be a big deal in the future,” Mechanix player Bryan Walsh said. “I would love to say, ‘I was a part of it.'”

The team brings in players from all over the state and the Midwest. Some players like Walsh even come as far as Cincinnati, Ohio and make the 12-hour round trip for weekly games and practices.

It’s a dedication unlike any other, especially for a team that hasn’t won a game since 2017. But even through three-straight winless seasons, they haven’t lost sight of the motto that keeps them going: “No tomorrow is promised.”

It’s a mantra that the Mechanix took to heart in 2020, when three teammates, Michael Cannon, Kevin Coulter and Drew Piet, died after getting into a car crash on the way to practice. 

“I had to take the most difficult call that I ever had,” Mechanix owner and head coach Brent Steepe said. “We started talking about more than just the game, more than just the family that we create out here.”

“It’d be lying if I didn’t say it was incredibly hard,” Walsh said. “Whether you were new to the team and meeting these guys, or you were good friends with them, it was something that everyone kind of had deal with individually first, and process, ‘This is a tough situation,’ and then as a team being like, ‘Man, we were a family and that family just got smaller.'”

But even in the face of tragedy, the Mechanix rallied around something much bigger than the sport of ultimate frisbee. 

“Let’s come together and let’s honor them by continuing forward and doing everything at 100% the best we can,” Walsh said. “Cause you just never know what the future holds, and it’s this really cool thing that we were able to rally around a really tragic scenario.”

The numbers of Michael Cannon, Kevin Coulter and Drew Piet, three Mechanix teammates who died after getting into a car crash on the way to practice, on Bryan Walsh’s cleat.

While snapping a 60-game losing streak might be on their minds, there are three other numbers that are far more meaningful: The ones that belonged to Cannon, Coulter and Piet.

“I look at them before every game,” Walsh said. “I play for them every single time I step on the field.”

*Correction: A previous version of this article included an incorrect first name for Steepe. We regret the error, which has been fixed.