Hello, and good day to everyone.
I shall commence by addressing a point that I will hopefully only have to make once, though I doubt it. This point concerns my writing skills– my “voice,” as it’s called in the show biz. On my last post, there were few comments saying my blog is “senseless drivel, unbearably hard to read, poorly executed and just plain bad writing.” At least a dozen people, maybe more, agreed.
Well, have I got big news for you like minded souls! I pinky promise, cherry on top, that both my writing and my “voice” isn’t going to get much better. A brief history lesson: I barely graduated high school because of my astounding skill at simultaneously flunking classes while excelling in daydreaming. Furthermore, I dropped out of college after four years with a terrible GPA. (Wisdom for high school kids: I strongly suggest trying to get good grades. I know it sucks, but it will make your life a whole lot easier no matter what path you pursue.) Sometimes I am so bad at spelling even Google doesn’t know what I am trying to say; I get really frustrated, yelling curse words for relief. I barely know the difference between your and you’re and I hate the sight of a comma breaking up my nice long sentences and love run on sentences and have no idea what this double period : is for.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I do, in all honesty, try very hard to write well, and I will continue working hard to improve. But I don’t think it’s going to get dramatically better. Sorry. However, there is one wonderful and simple solution to avoid my drivel: don’t read my blog! Think of it like burning your hand on the stove: the first time it’s the stove’s fault and second time it’s your fault. I use this simple trick to avoid things that I know will burn my brain– things like Biddles blog, Nancy Grace, Bill O’Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh. It’s absolutely wonderful: my brain stays sane and if they ever say anything worth mentioning, Jon Stewart will let me know. Bonus wisdom: this technique can be applied to restaurants, music, movies, and even most real life people.
And so the time has come, dear haters, for us to part ways. I wish you all the best in quest for better written blogs. There are probably even some on this very website. To help you all on your merry way, here’s a link to the top ten best written blogs according to some guy.
If that doesn’t quench your desire to escape and you’re still stuck hating, I want you to put your mouse on the back button and give it a nice firm click. And if that doesn’t work, try pouring your coffee or someone else’s coffee on your computer. I will wait.
Phew. I think we are safe now. I can get back to dispatching drivel and you, dear reader can get back to that coffee you have yet to pour on your computer. Save some, though– you might need to use it later.
Since those still reading should enjoy the way I write, I have good news: a new book written and illustrated by yours truly! It’s called Eric vs Cancer: The Ultimate Challenge. It’s a short story about Eric, who challenges the cancer monsters to a game of ultimate with the winner getting to keep Eric’s stomach. Everyone should buy this book because it’s a good story and because 100 percent of all proceeds go to E.R.I.C., a non-profit organization that is raising awareness about youth cancer through ultimate. You can peruse a preview of the book here, just scroll down to the bottom click on the picture of the book. Thank you!
Spirit of the Game
Alright, let’s talk Spirit of the Game. It’s touchy subject for sure, but I think one thing people should keep in mind is that all opinions are valid because no one owns Spirit of the Game (that includes you, USA Ultimate), it can mean whatever you want it to. My definition is simple: don’t cheat and respect your opponent.
First, a positive. I am quite proud of our Spirit of the Game and the players and teams who embody it. Compared to other sports, we rarely have flopping, low blows, fisticuffs or fake convulsing on the ground like a sniper took out a leg.
Now, the negative. Some people think cheating is too harsh a word for what transpires on the field. I don’t. Wikipedia’s definition for cheating is spot on: “Getting of reward for ability by dishonest means or finding an easy way out of an unpleasant situation.” I have seen this displayed by many players in ultimate. Losing is very unpleasant, and making a call to try and avoid this is very easy. One simple word like “travel” or “foul” can cancel out an opposing team’s entire effort. I have lost many big games, many of which were my fault. But the ones that hurt the most were the ones where the opposition won by making calls. Back in college, some teams cheated so much that we would have scrimmages where our coach would make terrible calls at every big moment. Man, those were frustrating scrimmages, but they really helped prepare us against the flood of calls we knew we’d encounter. On the flip side, that same college coach refused to promote cheating. He was brash, loud, sometimes downright ruthless and cruel, but he tried to instill a Spirit of the Game in us that I still respect to this day. If you are coach or fancy yourself a warlord, I would strongly encourage you to embody the Spirit of the Game. Your minions will follow your lead just as I did.
The other part of Spirit is respecting your opponent. I think a lot of people get confused on this topic. Respecting does not mean being nice. You can despise, talk trash, glare, pound your chest, spike the disc, yell, or heckle and still respect your opponent. To me, respect is knowing you need your opponent. Without an opponent, you and your team would be just a bunch of dudes standing in field playing catch with a disc. Collisions and accidents happen in our sport, but constantly going after someone with no regard for that person’s safety in not what our sport is about. Neither is biting their head off for having a different take on a play than you, especially in the immediate moment after it happens.
The reason I wanted to explain what Spirit of the Game means to me is because I think it has nothing to do with refs. Either you play with Spirit or you don’t. After playing in my first two AUDL games, I can confirm that the Spirit of the Game is alive and well in the league. As usual there are some who play with more Spirit and some with less; the ones who acted with less are the same players that would be acting that way if there were not refs and vice versa. To those of you who are fortunate enough to play high level ultimate, I implore you to remember that you are shaping the sport for future generations. Don’t leave future players or spectators a sport where cheap fouling and other forms of cheating are acceptable. Lead by example.
Now, I am going to softly tackle USAU. It’s a dangerous course of action, I am well aware– the ultimate community is thick with USAU zealots. To subdue any pitchfork uprising, let me acknowledge that I love USAU the way one loves a overbearing parent, but just because someone raised you does not make them beyond reproach.
I think USAU is being a bit harsh– almost hypocritical– in blasting the use of refs and refusing to work with pro leagues. See, USAU is funny in their stance on refs. They’re like a puppy thats not allowed on the comfy couch, and in this situation, the couch is refs. They absolutely know they are not supposed to get on that couch. Master Spirit has forbid it. But every year, they look around to see who is paying attention and put another paw up there. This puppy-on-couch syndrome– one paw up, two paws up, reverse position, one hind leg up, tail on, reverse position, just head on– has been interesting to watch. The observers we have today are a far cry from what they used to be, and in my opinion, they’re much better. They converse quickly, they make a call, the game goes on, and they even smite cheaters with TMFs. We can thank ESPN for some of these advancements, for no spectator wants to watch two grown men diplomatically discussing the intricacies of a dispute for five minutes.
The AUDL is like the cat on the coach, preening itself and waiting for a golden sunbeam that may never come. It’s sprawled out body language saying “this is a comfy couch and I am content. Humans can love me if they want.”
And so we find ourselves in a typical dog-hate-cat scenario. The dog is upset that the cat gets to be on the couch and the cat keeps saying “look here, dog, don’t hate me just because I climbed up on the couch. You’re the one who is scared of losing the love of Master.” As a lover of both dogs and cats, I can only hope that these two distinct yet similar animals don’t get into a massive fight. I hate cleaning up chunks of hair, and the blood could stain the carpet. That’s what I would say if these animals could understand human language and would listen, anyway.
Lets find common ground and start there, from the ground up. The AUDL wants to promote ultimate for youth in almost exactly the same way that USAU does. Here is the website for Callahan for Kids, the AUDL youth clinics. Notice the line that says, “We are devoted to building character through the promotion of the Spirit of the Game.”
I think youth ultimate should be self-officiated with a high emphasis on Spirit of the Game, and so does the AUDL and USAU. See, that wasn’t that bad. We all agree on something, now lets all work together to make this happen. I would love to promote this sport to the youth of the world, and I believe it’s a sport worthy of being spread to all the corners of the earth. Imagine what could happen if we took the loyalty of the dog and combined it with the suaveness of the cat. We could ignore the couch completely and get some really great things accomplished.
From my last post, thanks for all the wonderful Biddle definitions. They were quite funny. Ash decided the winner should be this one, from Adam:
Biddle – (verb) 1. An attempt to bid at the disc – displaying effort towards a goal – but ultimately resulting in crushing one’s nuts against the ground/a defender. “Brody tried for the disc, but biddled himself pretty bad on that play.”
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize.
This week’s question is to help out the AUDL San Francisco Flamethrowers. I have been listening to their captain, Cassidy, spouting out bad cheers all month. Post a cheer for the Flamethrowers because they need your help. Cass will choose the winner.