Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Are we Pirates?

Obviously, much of what I right about comes from resynthesizing other sources of information and applying ideas to Ultimate. My latest read is a book called the Pirate's Dilemma by Matt Mason (A pretty good read).

Pictured Above: A pirate duck (one for Crispy).

In this book, Mason looks at historical Pirate movements in our past that have led to what we consider normal in present day. He then looks at modern "Pirate" endeavours and questions how they will/are reshaping our modern capitalist world.

Ultimate has some roots in this domain. In some ways, we're rebels without referees and spirit of the game. We don't fit into standard sporting organizations, and the mainstream could care less about what we do. Tournaments are run all around the world, and people come and enjoy a different type of game. Also, out of this companies have emerged with different paths, and the jerseys of late are artistic works in comparison to traditional team jerseys.

Making our own path is changing somewhat to the mainstream. I've crossed back and forth across the line of "mainstream" and "legitimizing" trying to decide where I stand, and this line crossing has been pointed out more than once by past commentors. It seems inevitable that as the sport grows and we bring more people in who've been in other sporting domains that many of the ideas in other sports will mix into Ultimate's culture. Just like other cultures and religions worry about population influx, Ultimate is similarly impacted.

The same happens with all sorts of counter cultures. Pirates or rebels of the past are now the leaders of today. Mason points out how Punk and Hippy movements still ended in commercialization, but some of these endeavours have changed corporate culture to the beliefs from their founding movements (to the arguable better or worse).

Maybe Ultimate can play a roll in sporting culture accross the world. Number one on my list would be giving young North American athletes an outlet where the angry parents can't live through their children (and stress relieve by attacking referees and coaches).

What I really want to emphasize is that we can be sporting Pirates. Steal from the good and toss out the bad. We play an outsider sport, and the biggest opportunity we have is to do things differently (hopefully for the better). Forget about television. Ultimate and the Internet have similar existance frames and that's where we belong. Blogs, online score reports, live feeds, podcasts, and RSD are what we can do well.

Those concepts are even mainstream ideas. Maybe it's time for online officiating or maybe the rules need to be changed to live playing sidelines. We still have flexibility to change in Ultimate. Frank, the UPA, myself and others are the old views, and the young guys and girls getting into high school and college need to shape this sport in their image.