Monday, November 27, 2006

I'll Never Nail it In ... Again

In "Ultimate News Vol. 26 No. 2" there was an interesting article about spiking the disc. Well, it's my turn to put a perspective on this topic.

Pictured Above: Capitals at UPA championships.

I think the spike comes down to one simple fact. Does spiking help or hurt your team?

First, let us look to where the spike is from. The two sports that come to mind are the footballs (world and North America). In either of these sports, the spike or celebration, is an over the top celebration that is mainly (most cases) for the sake of the fans and television. I do not think, other than the bumps and hugs, that there is really any advantage for your own team over the basic momentum swing of scoring. In these sports, the opponents are similarly not affected by the celebration. In these sports, the over-the-top celebration is the norm (at the pro level).

We should also note that in both sports (at the professional level) fines are handed out for taunting opponents. At the recreational level taunting results in penalties and cards.

I guess my first question is how many times is a spike non taunting in Ultimate. My feeling is never. Sure people will say they're spiking because the point was a real challenge, or it was really big, but it all comes down to I'm spiking because I beat you. As a member of a sport where I tend to brag to other non-Ultimate types that Ultimate is amazing mainly because of the fun, respect, and self-officiated parts of the game. Spiking does not fit into any of these categories.

You might not buy my first argument about spiking, so let's take another look at the spike. Let's ask the question, does the spike benefit your team.

It is likely that a spike pumps up your team. Why does it excite the team; well basically, the team is celebrating success. But was the spike needed? I'll argue no. We also need to consider will anyone on your team be affected by the spike. I would argue yes, and the impact is embarrassment by teammates of a spiker. Just like watching your teammate make an ass of themselves arguing or making a bad call, a spike can have similar results.

My last point is, does the spike pump up the opponents? Even if it doesn't, just the risk of pumping up your opponents and losing the momentum swing should be enough risk to not spike.

I'm against spiking. I've done it once, and I regret the action. I guess it's just another perspective, but I find professional team that treat scoring like an expectation and not a great momentous occasion that only comes like a rare goal or touchdown in football.



kirker said...

we've had many discussions about this- mostly in disagreement. i believe strongly that spiking is a noteworthy variable in some games. it can have a huge impact on teams - to say otherwise undermines the rationale for even blogging about it. the real question is whether it fires up your opponents or crushes their spirits (or both! imagine spiking, firing up your opponents- but actually d'ing them again, then spiking it again! oooooh you can almost taste the crushed spirits).
like in any sport/competition, you should take any psychological advantage you can get (eg, the All-Blacks dancing a Haka before games; or some team that rosters the 7'4" uncoordinated giant claiming he is the "secret weapon").
all this to say, i think spiking is A-OKAY. it's a display of intensity, and it tells your opponents that "we ain't thru. we ain't lettin' up". i do agree, however, that a line can be crossed. over-aggressive spikes (eg, spiking it on your opponent) are generally uncalled for. Generally ... hi-oooo

Anonymous said...

I think I have to agree with kirker on this one... in general, spiking has just never bothered me. Yes a line can be crossed... and excessive spiking can just be annoying. However I actually get a real kick out of seeing some of the less aggressive people in ultimate (usually women) get so pumped that they can't control themselves... e.g. the usually silent Danielle from Lotus spiked one after an unbelievable layout grab in the women's final at this year's CUC and it was probably the highlight of the season for me.

There's nothing wrong with being intense and competitive, there's nothing wrong with being proud of yourself or your team, and there's nothing wrong with showing it... none of those things equate to being disrespectul to your opponents. In fact I firmly believe that a certain level of aggression and yes, even arrogance, is essential for a successful athlete (it's essential for success in many areas of life). Hard as it is to believe, many people struggle with failure because they are too nice!

I think it is a fantastic skill to be able to exhibit these competitive traits while maintaining spirit of the game... and I think part of the beauty of ultimate is that it (hopefully) teaches us to find and implement a proper balance between the two.

I'm not so much for eliminating spiking as I am for people learning to recognize appropriate spiking.

The Hammertown Queen

Anonymous said...

Spiking a disk is Great!

It doesn't have anything to do with hating on your opponent.

It is just the natural extension of the rush you get from scoring a sweet point!

And I HATE the guilt trip you get from so many ulti players whenever you show a little emotion.

Maybe I play with too much emotion, which may be why I shouldn't be allowed to be my own referee. (A topic for another discussion) But I think a lot of Ulti players can't differentiate between competitive aggression and asshole aggression... or maybe I am an asshole.

Big Al

kirker said...

uh ... and the 7'4" giant useless guy reference had nothing to do with you big al ... or did it?

Anonymous said...

personally, i dont think spikin the disk is right. it says that, "Oh, ya, i got my first sweet goal. hell ya." instead, if u just toss the disc down and walk away, it makes it look like u do it all the time and its no big deal.