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.