Call Me Crazy

by | January 30, 2015, 7:00am 72

Calling someone crazy because they’re different is wrong. Mental illness deserves compassion, not ridicule.

That’s what’s been on my mind this week. Since Tuesday, we, the ultimate community, have been far too insensitive toward someone who thinks and acts differently.

I don’t know Frank Huguenard personally. We’ve had some discussions over the phone and via email over the years. I know he’s got some unusual ideas and ways of presenting them, and that he’s done and said some outlandish and maybe even offensive things. I’m not looking to speculate on who Frank really is.

But to label him crazy? To vilify and mock him? To suggest that he suffers from a mental illness and then ostracize him? That’s what we’re doing: ridiculing someone’s potential mental illness because we find it entertaining. I’m disappointed with how quickly many in the ultimate community have responded judgmentally to his thoughts.

As Skyd’s Editor in Chief, it’s important for me to stay informed on what’s being discussed and what’s trending in ultimate. Forums like r/ultimate and Ultiworld have blossomed into strong outlets for discussion that grows ultimate and brings our community together.

Generally, I like to keep pretty quiet and let the voices of our community shine. But something I saw this week got me rather disappointed in the ultimate community. In general, we’ve been treating Frank in a very harmful and insensitive way.

I can’t say whether Frank suffers from any mental illness or if he’s just a guy who is frustrated with the way he’s been treated over the years. What I can say is that he told us, flat out, that being called crazy is “harsh” and “painful.” Let me write that again. When people call Frank crazy, it’s “painful” to him.

I don’t think this is how the ultimate community wants to treat people.

Disagreements with someone’s point of view, when presented and discussed in a civil and meaningful way, are something that everyone should welcome. But by and large, that’s not what’s happening right now on Ultiworld, on r/ultimate, or on Twitter and Facebook.

Alluding that someone is mentally ill shouldn’t be a putdown in the first place, and using mental illness as a putdown can be actually dangerous. If someone is acting out, it’s often a tell-tale sign that they don’t feel good about themselves. We should allow for the possibility that it comes from a darker place, and we should consider that our jokes or dismissals can be more harmful than we realize.

In the wake of the Robin Williams tragedy, there was a popular and extremely articulate article about how media and the internet at large had been treating actress Amanda Bynes. The article focused on celebrity and the public’s open mocking of Bynes’ potential mental state and devaluing of her as a person. It has an alarming number of parallels to what I’ve been reading this week. If I were your teacher, I’d assign this article as required reading. Just go ahead and replace her name with his and see how you feel. Here’s a segment:

“Yet the vast majority of press and articles surrounding [Frank]’s mental state seems to ignore the stark reality of [his] struggle, and instead, opt to mock [his] erratic and unusual behavior. Rather than recognizing that [he] may have an illness, they have turned mental illness into a spectacle to watch, enjoy, and ridicule.”

Again, I don’t know whether or not Frank suffers from mental illness. It shouldn’t matter. But what if he does? Should we keep mocking and bullying him, staging him as entertainment until he breaks down? Should we call him crazy? Or what if someone you knew, who had a mental illness, acted like Frank? How would you treat them?

Maybe we should approach cases like this in a whole other way. Maybe we shouldn’t attack people for their ideas or their lack of social graces. Maybe there are times we shouldn’t engage at all, or try our best to show respect when someone does something different or acceptance when they do something we don’t like.

We’ve all said some regrettable things in the past. I know I’ve been insensitive on many occasions. But we have an opportunity here as a community to make the extra effort to support each other. To remind each other about the importance of being tolerant of other people, sensitive to their feelings, and compassionate about mental health.

There are a lot of great resources out there too. Canada’s Bell Let’s Talk recently ran a campaign to help raise awareness and their website has some great media on the subject of ending the stigma of mental illness.

At the end of the day, I believe in community. The ultimate community has been a shining example of compassion and inclusiveness in the past. What’s at hand right now is a chance to be a positive force. The collective is getting larger and more diverse every day, and that means our shared conversation is bigger too. This makes it harder to connect over shared values, but it’s possible. All it takes is being a bit more thoughtful. We can certainly do better than this.

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  • GUEST

    dont fall off that soapbox Skyd.

  • Wat
  • gone_mental

    This isn’t an Ultimate problem, it’s a culture problem. Culturally, we don’t have mechanisms and processes to get mental health treatment to those who need it.

    If someone breaks their leg or sprains their ankle, the signs are obvious and action is taken. The signs of mental illness aren’t always as obvious. Amanda Bynes, Paula Abdul (from American Idol days) clearly and publicly acted outside the normal and we attribute that to mental illness or influence of drugs and alcohol. Others like Robin Williams and my Mom suffer depression do so privately. How do you know? What do you do? These are the decisions we must make.

    Ultimate community, perhaps more than mosts, revels in it’s quirky and unique personalities. This blurs the lines even further between what is acceptedly different and what is unhealthily different.

    In this case, Frank is a polarizing figure and has been for quite some time. He seems to have a relationship with Ring of Fire, depending on the how you read the subsiquent Ultiworld comments. What are they doing to help? Are the enabling the behavior?

    • Actually, no. This is Ultimate’s problem. It’s built into the framework for the rules.

  • Jokeception

    must be easy to throw all that shade form the pedestal you put yourself up on huh?

  • Thatsrealsad

    People don’t actually think Frank is crazy though, right? From reading back during RSD, the general consensus (I thought) is that he just has some different thoughts on ultimate and is a huge dick about it. His offense is theoretically sound but in practice runs into some difficulties

    Wassn’t there a group of people that actually made a team in the Bay area in like 08-09? and had Frank try and teach his offense but the team fell apart because of the abuse from him?

    Aren’t people calling him crazy Frank in the same manner that you call your kinda reclusive drunk uncle Crazy Bob?

    • This is 99% nonsense. Check your facts.

  • Ariel Jackson

    I understand the concern, I really do. But I also wonder how much of the response to Frank is do to his hostility in the way he interacts with people (at least online, where the majority of his interactions with the community take place), rather than any general unusual behavior. I also have some unusual ideas about ultimate strategy (anyone who knows me, knows that I’ve half-jokingly argued for setting basketball style screens against a zone defense…), but I don’t berate people with my ideas.

    I don’t know enough about mental illness to know if the hostility is a genuine symptom. And I’m sure that some amount of the mocking is traditional bullying, but I don’t think that all or most of it is. But I don’t see this as a clear-cut case of ganging up and bullying. At best it is a response to hostility and at worst it is complicated.

    • Ariel, I’ve been abused on and off the field for 30 years now. In the past 15 years, I’ve been called for over 2000 traveling violations and 1500 pick violations that were completely legal. I’ve been fouled thousands of times running my offense with little to no recourse.

      What you, and seemingly everyone else here is unwilling to look at, is that the framework for Ultimate promotes systemic, institutionalized bigotry (lack of tolerance for non like minded thinkers). Because I make that assertion, you assume hostility. You think I have some sort of mental health problem.

      It’s unfathomable to you and everyone else that Ultimate promote bigotry. No one likes to be called a bigot so you can’t even take a look in the collective mirror and ask the question. Does it?

      You have absolutely no idea what these past 30 years have been like for me. Run a few miles in my cleats and then maybe you’ll get an idea of how your community has treated me.

  • Guest

    What’s wrong with being crazy? Like there’s anyone anywhere that would be considered completely sane by everyone.

  • Jimmy Leppert

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWZUe-AxHbE

    What Michael Landsberg, a Canandian media personality who participates heavily in the #BellLetsTalk movement Elliot mentions in the article, says touches on similar aspects to what Elliot mentions here. What Mr. Landsberg likes to say when he talks about mental illness, is that anything (language, media, etc) that helps to keep the stigma against mental illness going is helping to keep people away from help. Same thing can apply here, in the greater response of our community to Frank presenting his ideas once again. We may not like the way he presents them, but that doesn’t mean we have to respond in such a gross manner.

  • Tom

    Zany Frank it is!

  • Ulticommenter

    I work with folks who suffer from mental illness. They don’t want to be ostracized, but they aren’t so simple as to not understand the difference in how words are used and what they mean within context. Most of the reaction to Frank’s column isn’t about any perceived mental state. It’s because his ideas are different, he presents himself in a wildly egotistical way, and he says things other people who were in the conversation say did not happen. This is what happens. You write. People respond. The ultimate community is one of the warmer and more accepting cultures I’ve ever seen. Ignore the trolls. Every video analysis I’ve seen by Frank starts with the branded lead-in “and they call me crazy.” No one is forcing him to do that.

    • Sure, the ultimate community is warmer and more accepting…….and they’re still playing the same offenses as they did 20 years ago. And running the same drills that were run 30 years ago.

      Wow, an egotistical athlete. I’ve never heard of that before.

      Look, all I’ve ever wanted was to compete at the highest level on a level playing field and the rules for ultimate do not provide that.

  • notaboomer

    wow so now frank is clickbait on two ultimate websites. #winning #sad

  • notaboomer

    The ultimate community has been a shining example of compassion and inclusiveness in the past.

    you sure about this?

  • Wow Elliot, thank you so much for this. I’m open to taking any sort of MMPI, Rorschach test, Mental Health Evaluation of any kind. You guys think I’m crazy? Here’s video that I just did this week that breaks down some of Kurt Gibson and Alan Kolick’s moves. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b19F9B-bJqM

    • Harbison Schwartzkopf

      I don’t understand your use of the words ‘penetration’ and ‘penetration move’. Could you explain more?

      • Molly

        Read the ultiworld article.

        • Harbison Schwartzkopf

          Ok. Reading it now.

          • Harbison Schwartzkopf

            Ok. Still don’t get it.

          • Molly

            From what I get is that it’s give and go throws to different spaces on the field that allow the thrower to be an every other. I’d use the word “attacking” vs penetrating.

          • That would be not very accurate, but the word attacking is correct. I could penetrate a hundred times and never get the disc back but the over all effect on the defense is the same.

          • jan

            lj

          • dusty.rhodes

            “to be an every other”?

            i mean… the purpose of language is to communicate, and I understand what you’re typing… but that construction makes my mind’s ears burn.

    • BJ

      Please post a video showing us how much better and ‘more dynamic’ basketball players would be if they could go backwards more. That shot-clock is an abomination. The rules are just stupid.

  • guest

    I’ve interacted with Frank enough in real life/online to know that there is a basic disconnect with reality. I see the same thing with a family member who suffers from severe schizophrenia. Unfortunately in Frank’s case, it manifests itself in a way that anyone approaching him along the lines of the golden rule will result in a rather distasteful exchange. Frank doesn’t need to be approached along the lines of being open about his ideas, he needs to be approached about getting the help he needs from the medical community. The ultimate community isn’t going to provide that. Unfortunately, the ultimate community is only going to provide him a discussion that feeds his disorder, even if that discussion is civil. While giving him a platform may be well intended, I assure you it is only prolonging the problem at best, or worsening it.

    • Well said by an anonymous guest.

    • Matt Wiegs

      The Golden Rule has nothing to do with exchange. The point of it is not what other people do to you, but how you treat them. I know that’s way off topic, but I feel pretty strongly about that.

  • Hunter

    He calls himself crazy frank, have you seen his videos

    • The videos say “…..and they call me Crazy”.

      The whole point here Hunter is if someone thinks I’m crazy, then they must be really crazy!!

  • other possibilities

    “I can’t say whether Frank suffers from any mental illness or if he’s just a guy who is frustrated with the way he’s been treated over the years.”

    This is what is known as a false dichotomy, Mr Trotter. It is possible that Frank is in perfect mental health and isn’t as “frustrated” with his treatment as some suggest.

    (Indeed, if Frank were truly hurt by the decades–decades!–of vitriol spewed at him, he could have easily 1) withdrawn from the community of Ultimate a-holes who just “don’t get it;” or 2) presented his ideas without denigrating,and I mean this literally, the entire Ultimate community.)

    Frank presents himself as an egotistical maniac with a dubious, inflexible grasp on Ultimate trends and tactics. If that’s caused by mental illness, he deserves our sympathy, and he should seek medical help. If not, well, you reap what you sow.

    • >> inflexible grasp on Ultimate trends and tactics

      This is hilarious.

      There is simply no room in your mind for the reality that Ultimate trends and tactics are less than primitive. See my video below.

  • Charles McClane

    “Calling someone crazy because they’re different is wrong. Mental illness deserves compassion, not ridicule.”

    So does this mean that anyone that’s different has a mental illness? What’s worse, calling Frank “Crazy Frank” because he has some zany ideas or labeling him as mentally ill?

  • Sam

    if elliot trotter want to talk about how we shouldn’t call people “crazy” because that makes light of mental illness, that’s fine. that seems right to me. but that’s unrelated to this problem: if all i see an individual doing is bragging about himself while simultaneously putting down an entire community of which i’m a member, i don’t feel bad about calling him an asshole. i don’t feel bad about using words that he finds “harsh” or “painful.” i don’t feel any desire to treat him with respect if he isn’t treating me or my community with respect. let’s not conflate a broad discussion about how our society talks about mental sickness with the coming to the defense of a guy who has never made much of an effort to be nice.

    • neeley

      “i don’t feel any desire to treat him with respect if he isn’t treating me or my community with respect.”

      What if people who aren’t doing so well are the ones that ruffle our feathers the most? i once heard something along the lines of “those who need love the most are the ones who deserve it the least,” and I think that applies here and in a lot of other cases where someone is acting in a way that bugs me.

      I understand the perspective that this piece wasn’t needed, but even allowing for that, I think general discussion of the idea that treating people the way you’d like to be treated, not how they treat you, is an effective way to make life better for everyone.

      I’m not saying you have to agree with me, nor that I always take the routes that my best self would tell you I’d like to. But when I think and talk about what my actions do and how I’d like to treat people, the result is usually a better me.

      Figured I’d add my $.02 since I helped Elliot edit this.

      • What’s good for the goose…

        “…I think general discussion of the idea that treating people the way you’d like to be treated, not how they treat you, is an effective way to make life better for everyone.”

        You are right to suggest this to all. “All” includes Frank.

        Do you think Frank treats the Ultimate community how he wants to be treated? If yes, there is no problem with the community lambasting him as he does us. If no, then either Frank is mentally ill and needs medical support (and those who attack him are lowlifes) or he’s just a trolling a-hole (and possibly a masochist).

        • neeley

          I’d suggest this to Frank in a heartbeat. Then what Frank did would be out of my control.

          I think it’s best to leave people be whether they’re the former or the latter of the possibilities you’ve mentioned. Especially when what they’re doing doesn’t actually hurt me, nor hinder my ability to play ultimate, nor keep me up at night, nor change anything about my life besides what words pop up on my computer screen.

        • Again, there’s is absolutely no room left in your mind here for an alternative. If I”m not a Troll, if I’m not a masochist, If I’m not mentally I’ll, if I’m not in need of medical support, what does that leave?

          I understand that it’s not easy for you to swallow, but the style of play that I’ve refined over the past 25 years obliterates just about everything you know about the game.

          There is simply nothing egotistical about that. It’s a fact.

      • Why is me offering an alternative viewpoint into the world of Ultimate bugging you? Could it possibly be that it’s because deep down you know there’s some truth to it?

        All I want is for the game to evolve.

    • Sam, I think you are confusing being nice with being respectful. Have you ever had a coach in school that was firm, strict and disciplined? Just because coaches and others are not ‘nice’ doesn’t mean they don’t respect you and in fact, it’s been my experience that those educators who are strict are the people that respect you most.

      As for my disrespecting the community and the game, how do you figure? The rules were ill-conceived from the beginning, never vetted properly and over the past 35 years, for every decent improvement to the rules, there were two new ones that just made the game worse. This is a fact. How is that disrespecting you or anyone else?

      I’m an asshole? Because what? That’s your defense to say whatever you want about me?

      I’m not criticizing you Sam, based on everything I know about Ultimate, just about everything about the game is wrong. The cuts, the drills, the pivots, the rules, the governing body, etc. There’s absolutely nothing disrespectful about me seeing that and yet you feel it gives you complete license to disrespect me.

      See, this is the problem with the concept of Mutual Respect codified into the rules of a game. It really doesn’t leave open the door for people who think differently. The irony is that you impose your concept of respect on me and that is probably the most disrespectful thing anybody can do.

      • Thatsrealsad

        If just about everything about the game is wrong, What is actually right? What are the parts of Ultimate that you like and think should be grown?

        • What is right is that Ultimate Nation is a really cool consortium of people. It really is an amazing group.

          As far as the game itself, I sincerely hope it can change but there is a tremendous interdependencey in the way. The rules need a complete, top to bottom overhaul and offenses need sound principals and fundamentals.

          The implication here being that nobody on the rules committee has sound principals and fundamentals so therefore, it’s impossible to overhaul the rules. MLU/AUDL has a golden opportunity to overhaul the rules and they left them in tact, that, to me, is incredibly bizarre.

          So I think what has to happen is someday (hopefully someday soon) a team is going to adopt sound fundamentals and principals and when they do, the rules obvious and latent unfairness will be clear. At least this is my hope as I see it as the only way for the game to get fully overhauled, inside and out (rules and implementation).

          Is there anything about the game that I currently like? Not really. If I’m correct, I think 10 years from now, people will look back on the days ‘pre-overhaul’ and just laugh at the game, but right now, everyone is too invested in how the game is played now to see the absurdity of it.

          Cheers!!

  • LG

    im just gonna leave franks facebook status here:

    “Here is an interesting article written by elliot trotter about how I’ve been mistreated by the Ultimate Community. However, I think he is somewhat missing the point because at the end of the day, it’s been the Ultimate’s Community’s systemic and institutionalized bigotry that has prevented the game from evolving. The hard truth is that it is the Ultimate Community itself that suffers from Mental Illness. It’s very sad. To me, Elliot doesn’t quite go all the way in this article with regards to calling upon Ultimate Nation to do some very deep, meaningful and real soul searching. Everything about the game is wrong.”

    He tagged a bunch of well known coaches/players so I assume he wanted to make it as public as possible.

    • At the end of the day, all I want to do is change the way the game is played. It’s been an interesting week to say the least.

  • I think this video says it all. This is to the crazy ones. The misfits. The trouble makers. https://vimeo.com/31671495

  • datbeezy

    Firstly… I don’t think “crazy” in contemporary usage is akin to implying an actual mental illness.

    Secondly, Frank Heugenard gets very little sympathy from me. Crazy or not, he’s still an unbelievable jerk who has written tens of thousands of words about how little respect he has for the “rest” of the ultimate community. Seriously, fuck that dude, call him whatever you want – he’s earned it.

    • How have I disrespected the community?

      Ultimate is based on a lie. How is that my fault?

      All I’ve tried to do is shine light on that lie. Wake up.

  • Whoknows

    Kind of a bummer that we don’t internalize what Elliott is saying but instead finding ways around it to not blame ourselves. If someone is a dick to you, does it solve anything to be a dick back? “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -MLKJ Kindness is the cure

    • Nicely said.

      Watch out for haters, the thing they hate most is change.

      • Koho

        Thank you for 1000% of our daily allowance of irony. I agree with the high-minded ideas of the article and these comments, but as a long time Frank watcher and reader of RSD, I just can’t seem to extend the same empathy to Frank that I would to just about anyone else.

        • As per most people, you are missing the point entirely here. I’m not interested in you sympathy, empathy, pity or even compassion. The joke is on you and the entire culture. Ultimate Frisbee can’t evolve. It is stuck and the joke is that the more I ridicule a system based on ill-conceived ideologies and half-baked ideas, the more you cling to it.

          I was recently having a conversation with a friend of mine from Purdue, maybe you know him, someone I’ve played with and against over the decades and I was saying basically “just because 2 million people think one way about Ultimate and I think another, that doesn’t make me wrong” and he just stared at me in the eyes and said “yes it does”.

          What? Truth isn’t a democracy. But the egalitarian, mutually respecting nature of the sport/religion/culture/community that is Ultimate Frisbee simply can’t see beyond that simple fact. Leadership never comes from the middle of the bell curve.

          You can’t extend me the same respect you would others because why? A spirit of the game violation? Seriously. What exactly have I done to you to deserve this disrespect? Are you not being a bigot by acting exclusively towards me because I think differently than you?

          • Koho

            Frank – I don’t think I missed the point of the article at all. And, over the years, I’ve extended a great deal of respect to you, far more than you have ever extended to me, sir.

          • As a person, I respect any and all ultimate players. But on the field, on RSD and on forums everywhere, I don’t have respect for any player’s knowledge of the game. I just don’t. There’s not a single player that I see play who has elevated his/her game to a level comparable with mine. This is the problem with mutual respect. Why should I respect a player’s knowledge of the game when it is based on a less refined game? No where else in sports would this happen. Its completely unnatural.

            But now what usually happens is because I’ve said something disrespectful to your game, you take it as a personal attack. But how can it be a personal attack when I have no idea who you are?

            This is a huge problem. I only want one thing, which is basically to share my knowledge of the game so that the game can evolve.

            “But it’s not what he says, its the way he says it”, “he’s too aggressive” “he doesn’t present his ideas well”

            Seriously?

  • People seem to assume that my assertion that everything is wrong with Ultimate is out of spite, or me being a prick, or me being a troll, or me being egotistical, or an asshole, or that I’m mentally ill (or most likely, all of the above).

    There’s simply no room in your thinking that my assertion is correct and it is your assumptions that are wrong.

    If it were legal to run with the disc, what would it do to the game? It would ruin it.

    In the form of dribbling, I’ve been running with the disc legally for a quarter of a century. It creates a massive shift in how the game is played.

    Watch the video I posted today on UltiWorld again (and read the comments below it).

    My knowledge of the game is unsurpassed. That isn’t ego, or lack of humility. It’s just a fact. Due to the homogeneous, egalitarian nature of the Ultimate community. there’s the lowest common denominator, and then there’s me.

    My video posted today is literally a game changer. Literally. Teams across the country and around the world are going to start practicing with some of these ideas tomorrow and in time, people will look back at at my rhetoric and realize that what I have been saying all along was 100% true.

    Frankly, I’m extremely excited to see how the game evolves now after I’ve posted these four videos. Every team will have their own take on these ideas and the concepts will morph into a paradigm shift that will usher in an entire new era of this sport that we all love.

    My apologies if I’ve ruffled some feathers along the way, but for a long list of reasons (far too many to go into in any detail), relative to where I’ve taken the game over these past few decades, Ultimate has not really evolved in 25 years.

    Sometimes it takes just a gentle little nudge to wake someone up, but other times it takes a bucket of ice water!!!!

    Watch out for haters. In any revolution, their always the ones who want to hang on to the status quo.

    • JustPassingBy

      Hey Frank,

      I’ve been thinking, you’ve already won the argument. You created Dischoops. Like you said, Dischoops is the evolved form of Ultimate. So instead of criticizing Ultimate, why not just encourage players to try Dischoops?

      American football is derived from Rugby; Dischoops, derived from Ultimate. If American football were to implement their rules into Rugby, it would no longer be Rugby. Likewise, rules from Dischoops implemented in Ultimate would no longer make the sport Ultimate.

      I believe Dischoops is a fun game, and I’ll probably play it in the future. I just don’t see the need to change Ultimate the way you do, probably the same way Rugby players don’t feel the need to change their rules to mimic football.

      Call it stagnant if you want, but as long as people find it enjoyable, it’s going to be around for a while.

      • You are missing the point. What I’m saying is that Ultimate can be ten times more fun than it is the way you guys play it.

        It’s like sex, sex is a lot more fun when it’s with another person.

        Ultimate is a lot more fun when you run compound tactics (which involves another person).

        I’m not against anyone having sex by themselves, all I’m saying is that you don’t know what you’re missing out on if that’s all you do.

        I’m not anti-ultimate at all. The rules need a complete overhaul and the way you guys play the game is not particularly intelligent but that doesn’t mean I’m against the sport itself. The rules were never vetted, and the offenses have never gone under any sort of refinement.

        This will happen.

    • ausjmc10

      If this is the case, I would love to see you continue to post more videos like these on your Vimeo channel. I have not watched today’s clip (bookedmarked for later), but looked at a couple of your dischoops/goaltimate videos, and felt I understood your approach better after that. As is clear, many people are struggling with the way you communicate with words alone (including us visual learners), so this may help better illustrate your ideas.

      • Charlie Eisenhood was on a 90 minutes skype call with me a couple of weeks ago to interview me and would have done the entire Ultimate Community an enormous favor by actually posting he video of the interview, rather than transcribing it and just putting my words down. You would have not only seen me speak in my own words, heard the inflections in my voice, to hear me laugh and be able to get to know who I am. The entire interview would have been perceived completely differently. All of that got lost and he did a huge disservice to the community in doing so.

        • ausjmc10

          To be honest, I don’t really mind whether I know/understand you as a person, as we’re highly unlikely to cross paths. I’m interested in the potential to expand my understanding of the game, and your analytical & gameplay videos (which I’ve now watched) are thus of interest. I don’t agree with everything you describe, but I feel I’m coming to a better understanding of your perspective having seen a few of these videos, and would be interested to see more.

          • I hope to make many more, but now I just want to teach what I know so I can make videos of what TO do, not what NOT to do.

            As for agreeing with me, this is a huge problem with the game. If you understood the offense and how powerful it is, and how it literally changes the game, you’d be much more inclined to agree with me. Therein lies the rub. Lowest common denominator has been ruling this game for decades. That’s not meant as a dig or an insult, it’s just a fact. It’s part of the Ultimate ecosystem. The rules to not favor a more refined game, they favor a much rougher game. Authority is assumed by those who win, which to me is utterly meaningless because the rules are so ridiculously slanted towards the lowest common denominator. stalemate.

  • Charlotte Montemayor

    First, let me say that I think the message of this article is wonderful and
    timely overall. It is a well written and some important things are discussed. I
    was meandering through my FB feed this morning and this one jumped out at me so
    I read it. After reading it I realized that I was curious about who Frank was,
    what ultimate was and why was this article in my feed? Turns out I’m connected
    to Frank on FB. I really don’t remember it and have never interacted with him.
    But I have a curious mind, so I started to dig. Then I found this article:
    http://ultiworld.com/2015/01/27/basketball-ultimate-philosophy-interview-crazy-frank-huguenard/
    – and it blew me away.

    This is not a crazy man. This is a person with a brilliant philosophy and with
    a deeply and disruptively innovative new way of thinking about a much loved
    sport. And then I realized why I connected with him a few years ago. I was
    going research on disruptive innovation and I read/learned about disc hoops. I
    was also thinking of making a video on innovators. Somehow that led me to his
    profile, so I connected with him on Linked In and FB. My research took a
    different turn, and we never connected more than technologically.

    I am in awe of innovation and those brave people who bring their ideas to the
    world. It is a lonely and isolating place. Over time people can become brusque,
    jaded, frustrated from lack of on par thinking and people with open minds. Our
    society is not accepting of different. Example: even as it is embracing “geek
    culture” the last several years it is trying to slap a broad brush stroke
    of “sameness” to the idea that being smart and geeky is cool. People
    start to address it as a culture and it is about what you wear, what sci fi
    show you watch and how to be alike instead of what being geek really is – which
    is not ashamed of your propensity for intelligence, school of thought or less
    than ordinary ways to spend your time. Society is so lemming-like it’s crazy.
    But Frank isn’t.

    I have never talked to Frank. I’ve never watched a video of him talking. I
    don’t know if he is brusque or rude or comes across arrogant. But what I can
    say after reading the interview (link referenced above) on his ultimate
    philosophy that he is a brilliant man with something very special to give to
    the sport and to the players. I’ve worked with many innovators over the years –
    and only two disruptive innovators of the whole bunch. They are a very, very
    special breed. They transcend conventional thought and they see things in a way
    that no one else ever has. In some ways they are so isolated because they have
    no way to penetrate the average “go-with-the-crowd” mentality that
    most of society has. They have to swim upstream against some very challenging
    currents and search hard to find another who can swim with them. It takes a lot
    of personal strength and PURE passion for something to keep going. Their ideas
    are beyond beliefs, they are like DNA embedded in their very being. They see so
    clearly a new way, a better way and it makes perfect sense.

    To even imply that this “might” be mental illness is a travesty. It
    is just being different.

    This whole subject really got to me today. First this article, then the
    interview I read. The titles are insulting “On Basketball, Ultimate, And
    Philosophy: An Interview With ‘Crazy’ Frank Huguenard” “Frank
    Huguenard is a pariah in most ultimate circles. But can we learn from
    him?” – seriously, “Crazy” and worse “pariah” – this
    is a big problem in journalism today. The cut throat, go-for-the-jugular
    title that will get the most clicks. I get it, I’m in marketing, I write,
    but still, the ethics of going with a slanderous claim is shaky in my book and
    they are painful for the subject. And it perpetuates the lemming-like
    behavior of society to gang up on the one that is different. This article
    wasn’t much better by REPEATEDLY saying he “might” have a mental
    illness. I don’t think the intention was bad, but really?

    Like I said I don’t know Frank. In fairness, I think Frank probably has a
    difficult personality based many allusions to his “ranting.”
    But I still think he is a man that has a gift and who can benefit the sport,
    perhaps even help influence a change to greatness. I did want to reach
    out to him after reading these things. I can’t stand bullying of any
    sort, and again, I admire the hell out of brilliance. So this is what I
    wrote him on his FB posting:

    “Came
    across the Sykd article, read it, was curious so I read this article. Caveat, I
    don’t know anything about ultimate… not even sure I remember how we connected
    on FB. I believe it was after coming across disc hoops video on innovators when
    I
    was doing deep innovation research. Anyhow, my point is my mind is virgin
    territory for all of this.

    This
    is a brilliant, brilliant breakdown on your philosophy. In fact after reading
    it I’m pretty pissed about the mental illness discussion. I will tell you that
    i have worked with several geniuses in my lifetime and that they all face this
    sort of ridicule. The muscle memory of the action, the emotional connection to
    the action and the PURE passion for the action (whatever it might be…
    ultimate, basketball, building robotics, developing cures, making new
    technology, etc…) give the world massively innovative new ideas and solutions
    and ways to think/perceive/reason/love/live. You have an incredible gift to
    give. Maybe the wrapping paper needs some adjustment, maybe not, I don’t know.
    But I know that brilliant people think new things in new ways and it is hard
    for most people around them to get it. And until the conversation can be
    actually had amongst many people, it’s hard for new ways of thinking to move
    forward.

    I’m
    not sure what I want to say here, just that these reads impacted me. I will be
    thinking about them and your philosophy for a long time. Applicability more to
    life than about the game, but it has deep meaning for both in my mind. I wish
    you many good things, much luck with getting your message, your story, out
    there. I don’t think you are full of ego, I think you know what you are talking
    about because is in your dna. There are no doubts. People don’t get that and
    don’t know how to respond. It can be isolating. Common amongst disruptive
    innovators.”

    • R u srs

      What an incredibly dumb post

  • tim boroque

    i feel that our sport should not have any disrespect towards anyone. we never at all do things like that. we have always been kind to people and did things to make our sport popular, and we should continue to do so. anyone should do like we do when we play ultimate, we should show mutual respect and never taunt people. ultimate unites us all, even the mentally ill are part of it. we are all part of the ultimate community, nothing ever divides us. everyone should be treated with respect, wheter mentally ill or not.

  • Former.RSD.Poster

    The ultimate community has been both not patient and incredibly patient with Frank over many many years, including a lot of hijinks on his side. It is not clear from this article that Elliot has done the background research on this. There’s probably 20+ years of preceding conversation that would, frankly, be pretty surprising to a lot of the younger readers, i.e. those that only came onto the scene near the end of RSD. Even to those who have 5 years of RSD experience. Because this goes way back.
    I am pretty progressive on a lot of things, and insofar as there is insensitivity to others who experience challenges in the mental health arena, and labeling frank as crazy frank hurts those people, that’s something to consider. But Frank’s feelings, based upon my understanding of his interactions with the community, are not something that are any type of priority to me. Again, insofar as there is a parallel here to a word like “retarded” which I try not to use because of the feelings of others, I get it. But Frank has done some pretty odd things, and the word crazy is about as accurate in characterizing those things as any other word.
    And that is from someone who does not disagree with the view that ultimate is currently at a stage of development similar to basketball before the jump shot. Also, I interacted with Frank in person prior to 2000. Gawd I am old.

    • Former.RSD.Poster

      Uh, also, Elliot, are you aware that Frank had a business in which he called himself “Crazy Frank?” This would be fairly basic research, and is well known by those of us who have known of Frank for years. Frank’s revisionism on this particular issue (so painful that I started a business called Crazy Frank’s!) is instructive.

      http://www.metroactive.com/metro/02.21.07/dining-0708.html

      To show that there are other things that are GREAT about Frank, here’s a link:

      http://vimeo.com/18401818

      • pancakemouse

        “Uh, also, Elliot, are you aware that Frank had a business in which he called himself “Crazy Frank?”

        That’s typical victim mentality, though. I forget what the psychological term for it is, but being told something so much you start to believe it yourself.

  • Nickolas

    I still feel by saying that what professional players do is “stupid” in terms of how they play the game is not just an attack on those players, but also those who are striving to get better. I have no problems with learning a new perspective, and the second video Frank put out was pretty informative into what he wanted to show. However that being said, the way he presents his ideas is not very inviting. I do agree that the title of crazy isn’t the best choice of title for someone who obviously doesn’t want to be called crazy, but it doesn’t really help when essentially he calls the rest of us crazy.

  • Pop-Pop

    Leave it to Ultimate players to spend paragraphs arguing about a concept as simple as treating everyone with respect when interacting with them. If you take issue with the things someone says then either try to discuss them respectfully or ignore them and keep living your life. If you try to discuss them respectfully and that someone is a huge dick about, then respectfully excuse yourself from the interaction, and get back to living that life. This way, if someone is really not trying to be a dick and is just misunderstood, eventually that will come across in respectful conversation, and everybody feels better at the end of the day. And if that somebody really is just a dick, eventually any community that he/she spends time in will just collectively ignore what he/she has to say, and he/she will be forced to learn something, putter around in obscurity, or find a new community. Either way the community grows and the dicks within said community get a good opportunity for reflection.

  • As stupid as Seattle’s last minute play was last night, that is how stupid just about every throw, every cut, every pivot looks to me in Ultimate. Ultimate players are stuck in a reference frame that does not allow them to see their own stupidity. John Cleese says it best here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvVPdyYeaQU

  • Koho

    To any experienced ultimate players (other than Frank) who’ve heard Frank over the years or (more specifically) watched his video recently linked to at Ultiworld: please tell me whether you can follow Frank’s arguments, and are convinced that Frank has found new insights, so far missed all of the 1000’s of other ultimate players over the years, that would make Allan Kolick “5 times more effective.” (I’ll take even a slight improvement…) I have tried more than once to try to find something real in Frank’s “teachings.” I simply cannot. This is a bit off the article topic, but I think relevant to the larger discussion.