Saturday, June 21, 2008
(editor's note: Toad posted nearly indecipherable comments addressing Former College Champ. I went archeologist on it and reconstructed from the fragmented bits of English what message I could. Again, Toad, if you can keep it civil I welcome your comments and voice.)
It’s not that “ultimate players are balancing fairness, it’s that ‘people’ (in general) are. We as Ultimate players are not special; we are the same as normal people. We are normal people. The anti-ref stance is dogmatic idealism with goals that are too lofty and don’t belong within a competitive sport.
Referees’ interest in performing well in order to keep his job or get promoted is what leads to them calling a good, efficient, clean, accurate, and fair game. Their interest in self-preservation (job-wise) ensures their objectivity. Their objectivity will lend the game an integrity that will come in the form of game management and presentation.
What you’re arguing is that the presence of refs will lead to what I call a Claim of Diminished value, where your perception of the other team cheating somehow makes their victory hollow and tainted. But as far as the root of competition and desire, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat can all be achieved in sports that use refs to facilitate rule enforcement.
And for your example of ‘doing the right thing’ and withholding a call in a big game, there are plenty of counter examples of bad calls being made when the stakes are equally high (see Steve Dugan’s confession of game-changing cheating in semis of Worlds). Understand that there is nothing that equates watching the “international competition with the self” via a self-officiated sport with good sports entertainment. There’s a reason this internal challenge doesn’t exist in televised sports. By your own admission refs will definitely make the game more “watchable, fast-paced, and like other sports.” Why is this a bad thing?
I also don’t buy the “focus on not getting caught” with refs. The focus of the athletes is on strategy and execution. How different is this mentality of “not getting caught” in refereed sports with the constant intentional bumping of a thrower, the fast counts, the double teams, the traveling that’s prevalent in the game today? Have referees enforce stricter deterrents against that type of cheating and I guarantee player focus will be on not committing the infraction in the first place.
And while I commend you on your no-call in the heat of the moment, you’re the exeption. The point isn’t to look at what people “should do”, but rather on what they will do, are capable of doing, and what they’re already doing *now*.
Your concern that Ultimate is heading towards mediocrity is laughable in light of the fact it’s not even mediocre yet from a presentation and commercial level. Your vision for rule enforcement is simply too idealistic, considering Ultimate is a sport and not a priesthood. It’s great that you can compete within the system, but the fact is others can’t, most haven’t gotten there yet, and others who have will falter and backslide. Your vision is too unrealistic an expectation and it isn’t fair to the sport for these unattainable dogmas to influence things on the “field of competition.” You would like everyone to keep themselves honest and not cheat but, after all, isn’t what entails (or is perceived as) cheating also subjective?
Referees are the way to go. The dynamic of them “breaking the pact” when the game gets heated is a non-issue. Their pact is with their crew to call a good and consistent game, nothing more or less. You say, "the inequity of the other team is no reason to throw out the notion of fair play." Agreed but, neither is the presence of referees. Point is, if people cheat with refs and use a "not get caught" tactic, dosen’t that say as much or more about that person than your idealistic notion of how Ultimate should be played now? I think the fact that those against referees think Ultimate players will “turn” overnight really says more about the kind of people they are, and the kind of people they think each other to be.