Andrew Roca is the head coach of the Central Florida Dogs of War
Earlier this week, a video of a simple spiking incident became a hot topic in the ultimate world. At T-Town Throwdown, Brawley Adams of Central Florida made a questionable bid against Alabama’s Chris Browning in the end zone. Browning reacted with a spike into the back of Brawley Adams’s leg. After witnessing the assault at close range, Brawley’s teammate, Michael Hickson, shoved Chris Browning in defense of his fellow player.
What the above video footage failed to show were the events that followed. Though it was constructive to show the events that took place, it did not display the ensuing apology and explanation from Chris Browning to me about his intent. Apologies and hand-shaking were also shared between Brawley, Chris, and Mike Hickson.
As stated to me in his apology, Chris Browning did not intend to hit Brawley Adams. Like the majority of other players out there who have played against overly-physical opponents (myself included), I understand that Chris’s intent was to spike the disc near Brawley, signifying that he embraced the contact and still scored.
In the heat of the moment, Brawley made a potentially dangerous bid trying to play high pressure defense, as I had requested of him. Under those circumstances, Browning unintentionally hit Brawley, and, in response Mike Hickson defended his teammate, as I’m sure most of us would have.
This event quickly caused many debates over the characters of the players involved in the confrontation. Comments have talked about the penalties that should have been doled out, reprimands that should have been made, and how the players’ actions would have been better controlled with observers or referees present. There were suggestions that TD be given the ability to eject people from the tournament. What is missed in those assumptions is that the participants in this player-controlled and self-observed sport were able to resolve the situation without the aid of an “authority figure”.
What everyone has claimed to be an aggressive case of “bad spirit” in a game of college ultimate turned exactly into the opposite: a heated moment was readily diffused with apologies and handshakes. SOTG, the philosophy that USA Ultimate has always tried to instill in its players, prevailed and the game continued without issue—a testament to both teams’ conflict resolution abilities. In competition there were always be an opportunity for those to lose their cool in the moment, but it’s the actions that take place after that defined the rest of the games played on the weekend.
Without referees or observers, the game continued further without conflict. UCF and Alabama would play once more, again without any incidents. We settled our differences ourselves, resolved conflict, and continued on with play.
On behalf of the Central Florida Dogs of War, I would like to say we would enjoy the opportunity to play such an intense and competitive opponent like Chris Browing and the Alabama squad once again.
You can watch the full showcase game between Alabama Yellow Hammer and the Central Florida Dogs of War here, courtesy of Gray Lloyd.