Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tournament 7 - Conversation 1 - Circles are calming influences

This weekend was the end of the Open and Wonen's tour. The Open champions were Chevron Action Flash and Iceni took the women's division. You can see results here. I finished off my tour with an aggravated Achilles for the fourth time in my career, thought I stopped earlier than I normally would have. Maybe I'm learning something.

Pictured Above: An explanation of a spirit game at Gender Blender 2006 (photo courtesy of Kevin Brown)

Anyway, I had a good conversation with Steve Guigere of Blockstack.tv and we were hitting on a range of topics. At one point we were reminiscing on how we got into the sport of Ultimate, and both of us made comments on remembering being introduced to the after game song.

About 7 years ago, depending on where you played, teams would sing a song after a game in which a popular song would be rewritten with new words that would make fun of Ultimate, yourself, and the opposing team. This was considered a major part of the spirit of the game by many teams.

You can still find some teams that do these cheers, but the practice in general is a dying breed. Now there's occasionally a hip hip hooray (which I'm not a fan of since it always seems to be done with lacklustre), but most games in North America end with a shake of the hand in the open division and sometimes a spirit game in the coed division. I have no problem with this and think the sport is still a very spirited considering we play a competitive game in which we self-officiate ourselves and respect each other.

In the U.K. and Europe, the after game session is a hand shake, and then a congregation in a circle where the captain of the losing team makes a speech on how they felt the game was and the winning team captain makes a similar speech. These speeches, from my experience, recap how the game went with compliments to the opponents and your own team, and then a mentioning of how spirited certain aspects of the game were.

Steve and I came to the point in our conversation where we thought that the circle (or huddle) should be added to the North American game to upgrade the friendship and good nature after a game (in another post I suggested meeting someone new each game). After thinking about this for a few minutes, I wondered if the circle would work in the Open UPA division (club or college). It's possible that it would work, but within the current culture of the game it seems unlikely that it would work. I can't really comment on the other divisions, but I imagine two open rivals circling up and staring icily across at opponents.

Another problem is how would we even start up the circling. One team could possibly lead the initiative with a strong willed leader with lots of charisma. That or a rule could be enforced, which is never a great choice.

Anyway, an interesting idea that probably would make our sport better around the world. The Canadian and U.S. teams will likely participate in these huddles during worlds, but that will be the full extent that it is adopted in North America. Unless Vancouver is the seed for something new...



Jim Biancolo said...

I feel like I've posted this achilles advice to your weblog before, sorry if so! Anyway, here's what I did:

How I Fixed My Achilles Tendinitis

Jeters said...

Hey Jim,

I read your blog among other advice. Thought that I was in a good spot and then last weekend happened.

The pain is in a new spot. I don't know if that means a new injury.

Thanks though...


Ulti-lover said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ulti-lover said...

Steve is a nice guy; and always has interesting things to talk about.

Uni ultimate in the UK has much emphasis on the social side, circles, speeches, 'call games' and handshakes are seen after every game.

I was wondering (after your post to Brit disc) if you would be interested in a link exchange?


Farmer John said...

when I studied abroad in Australia, the high level open league I played in used a spirit circle. Granted, Australians obviously have a different sport culture, but it does work. And some of the angriest people I've seen in ultimate played in that league. You see them sometimes at Kaimana too. I like the spirit circles, I think it helps the game.

Twatson said...

Yeah, spirit circles are really common in Australia, basically every game.

In regards to spirit, it helps a lot that the frisbee community in Australia is smaller. You see the same faces more often and have probably played with heaps of the other players on hat teams etc.

Realistically, you can't be too cut and pissed off at people because you should know that you could be playing with them in the future, whether its in a year or three.

Even in the larger US scene, match diesel has made the same comment, so I guess it still applies.

peyton said...

i really like the spirit circle, particularly after experiencing it with people from multiple nations at 2006 wfdf world clubs in australia. last year, i brought it to the canadian ultimate championships with my coed team, MONSTER.
i think it's a great time to recognize the privilege of playing ultimate in a world where we take many things for granted as well as thank the other team for sharing the experience with us. unfortunately, tournament scheduling does not always seem to allow for a long circle/presentation between games. i hope to have a spirit circle at least once a tournament as we should always take some time to remember how lucky we are to be playing a game we love and that carries the responsibility of upholding the spirit of the game whenever we can.