Thursday, February 17, 2011

I've been following Lou Burrus' writings at Win The Fields as he discusses several reasons why referees aren't the panacea to Ultimate's ills, and I certainly agree. He mentions in two different posts the strongest points I have for continuing our current observer system, but having the observers perform the duties as they're prescribed.

The first point he addresses is the time between when a call is made and its resolution. I am in favor of the observers giving some time for players to work out an understanding of the play in question, but in my opinion observers have shied away from stepping in when it's clear the disagreement between the players won't be resolved. This can start with all players keeping in mind that in many contested fouls, a call/contest response is acceptable. But observers, perhaps afraid of being too large an influence, have developed a neutered style where they'll sit back and, only after minutes have been whittled away, step in and make a call. The observers need to be ready with a ruling, then interject and either rule one way or send the disc back.

Secondly, I am all for observers wielding team and personal misconduct fouls with greater frequency as a way to dissuade players and teams from forcing stoppages of play with bullshit calls and fouls to dictate the pace of the game. Right now the threshold for TMFs and PMFs is so high that only egregious violations seem to merit them. While observers have in the last year been more generous with TMFs, I don't think it's been enough of a change yet.

Lastly, as I perused some write-ups from Warm-Up, I read this breakdown of teams on No-Look Scoober, where the writer Stonewall Jackson conflates some heated intra-teammate talk with "issues being a unified squad". He goes on to write, "In one instance, negativity seemed to go over the top, past teammate to teammate heckling when members on the sidelines expressed their discontent with some turnovers colorfully."

I couldn't disagree with this more. It goes without saying that the writer was nowhere near the fields, or even Florida, during the tournament, but there wasn't a single instant all weekend where I thought any Hodag went over the top in criticism of his teammates and, had I felt that was the case, there would have been immediate and significant consequences for doing so. This Hodag squad is fantastic; I couldn't be more happy with or proud to coach them, and each of them would go to the limit of their abilities to help any of the others. If teams are looking at our unity as a possible place to get an edge or incite divisiveness look elsewhere, because you'll be wasting your time. If there's one things the Hodags have never lacked, it's strength through unity, and indeed our most common cheer, and the bedrock of our team philosophy, states it. Hodag Love.


Anonymous said...

I played against your team at Warm Up - Feldman catches in cut, turns and throws huck that results in a turnover --> "Fuck you Feldman!" shouted by Wisconsin player and heard at least one other time in the same game...either you're deaf or you're shamelessly pretending you didn't hear it...

Anonymous said...

...or screaming "Fuck You" at teammates is a unique expression of Hodag Love. Yeah, that's probably it.

Hh said...

Actually, I do remember that. It would be impossible to explain to an anonymous snark, or even one with a name, everything that goes into the relationships between each of the players on any given team. But we did discuss that type of comment, and how distracting it is, and while Feldman in no way took those comments personally, we said they were counterproductive toward our goals.

But I stand by what I wrote. While we're all working to improve our communication on the team, we're still a work in progress, and while the comment was inappropriate, "going over the top" like I wrote involves any altercation where communication between teammates moves away from the hotly competitive to the personally insulting. Feldman took the comment for what it was, we all moved on, and that was that.

Any more sarcasm?

Anonymous said...

I think everyone who has ever been on a somewhat competitive team knows that it's impossible to explain everything that goes into the relationships between each of the players on any given team...nothing new there, and you don't need to talk down to me about's just convenient that you remember that incident after someone else brought it up - I don't really care if it was that big a deal within your team or're the coach and you have to handle your team's problems (or non-problems, as you try to categorize that one) - I'm just saying that that spat looks like a crack in team unity to the outside observer and seems to contradict that bold statement of Hodag Love that you proclaimed in your original post - how you handle it and how it's interpreted internally is really none of my or anyone else's business

Match said...

Why do you allow anonymous posters, Hector? You always get this peanut gallery BS with them.

I suppose its sort of a compliment that this sort of wet blanket criticism is the best folks can muster.

In all honesty, I actually miss the days when we used to toss verbal shit at one another.