Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tournament 6 - Observation - Observers

Fine. I can accept observers being present on the field. By their title they are meant to observe the game. However, that's not what I've seen them do.

I don't mind them calling the play in or out, but I don't like there presence on the pull. After you score a point you'll be trying to call the line and every few seconds you'll hear something like, "10 seconds to put a hand up"..."five seconds to put a hand up". I would be happy with just the five second warning and no other interruptions.

Pictured Above: GT and les Q in a jump ball battle (photo taken by Dave Tingle).

My next peeve is the offensive offside. Your foot needs to be on the line at the time of the pull. How strict does this rule really have to be. I understand the call for a player five feet behind the line or some extreme, but minor infractions have no affect on the game.

Pictured Above: Another GT and les Q air battle with Gord Harrison coming down with this one (photo taken by Dave Tingle).

When there is an offside the observer gets their day in the sun and runs onto the field to call the offside. The offside is enforced and the offensive team or defensive team have no option to decline the penalty, which is normally just a warning on the first infraction.

Pictured Above: A Goat vs. (I think) Truck Stop air battle in pool play. It's hard to see who won this one with Brett Taylor in the mix and Steve Ficko (99) on the field this is a D-line air battle for Goat (photo taken by Dave Tingle).

I'm also not a huge fan of the automatic timed delay of game. If a big huck is thrown and is turned out of the back of the endzone the new offensive team has 20 seconds to get the disc into play without the opponents actually having to go into the delay of game sequence. At least, have another disc ready on the line (that would actually be useful).

I was watching both the Men and Women's finals at Boston. The men didn't seem to have too many problems with the observers, but I'm not sure if the observers on the women's side were actually always focused on the game. Is there an option of getting rid of the observers when both teams feel that they're not any use?

As we bring referees into Ultimate (as observers obviously are with limited rolls and spin doctored titles) you have to expect the observer rules like the game rules will evolve. I've got my complaints off my chest.



lexinator said...

The big issue with the observers in Boston this weekend was that they never seemed to understand what was going on. There were two times in the finals when players could not come to an agreement. They would look to the observer who ended up either did not seeing the play, asking the players for a reenactment/discussion of what had just happened or not understanding what had actually been called.

Having the observer to give an instant call on the situation is the plus I see with having them around. Once the call is made, play on. It's when observers are the ones starting the long talks on the field they lose all value.

honeyhands said...

I agree; from my limited heckling perspective, the weakside observer dude was the one handling all of the calls and he seemed confused about what actually happened during the play.

There was another lady observer further upfield who was not consulted even though she had a clear view of the plays in question.

If an observer is to be responsible, they have to admit when they didn't see what was going on and go back to contest/no contest rules, or consult with the other observer to see if they can make a ruling. Otherwise, they lose a lot of authority.

With regards to the offsides and delay warnings, they should not be speaking to players at all unless the other team requests it. It was pretty distracting and against the spirit of observer rules (which is to OBSERVE) that I read pre-tournament.

People are naturally going to resist encroachments upon their authority in any situation, so it's natural to feel weird about observers coming into the play. That's why the 'ask the observer' system has so much merit- it takes away the arbitrary imposition aspect of refereeing. Like most theories, it only works in reality if it is practiced.

The Pulse said...

Every college game I've played in with observers, they've told us either 10 or 20 seconds to signal, then used their hands to count down the rest of the time, letting us look to see if we needed to hurry. One of the largest benefits to having observers is that they keep the game running quickly.

Jeters said...

I would be fine with the one warning time on the line.