Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Calling a spade a spade and Ultimate a participation sport

I like the saying, "calling a spade a spade". It's useful to step back and reevaluate things I sometimes take for granted.

Pictured Above: The joys of Ultimate.

So, let's take a step back and look at the legitimizing of Ultimate. The sports still growing in terms of number of participants, nobody cares about our sport except participants, and many of us who participate don't even like to watch others play. So is it realistic to worry about legitimizing the sport.

Of course it is, we need to push forward and survive among the other distractions that are available. Ultimate has benefits. There's no use letting the sport stagnate. At least, that's an opinion. The question we should all ask is what advantages come legitimizing and growth. I leave this for another post or you guys to consider. Having thought about this myself, I would argue growth in the sport mainly benefits a few unless it's taken from a slow and well thought out growth.

The other thing about legitimizing Ultimate is what does that mean. My earlier points were looking at legitimizing the sport with respect to getting it recognized and watched. This is only one path to legitimizing. I would prefer to see Ultimate legitimized through, again, the slow process of growth in participation. I feel that Ultimate's strength is as a participation sport where a certain type of person really enjoys the game.

That's what I see in Ultimate. I think too many of us want to accelerate this progression too fast hoping evolution through random mutations takes us to the right spot. This will, likely, result in some fundamental change to the sport that wrecks its' strength.



J. Becker said...

I think, as ultimate players, many of us are vulnerable to this false dichotomy which says that we are either "legitimate" (whatever that means, as you say) or "illegitimate".

The town criers for legitimizing the sport strain against the pot-smoking, hippy stigma, and yearn for a day when all ultimate players are hard-to-the-core. Those who speak against this legitimizing movement worry that we'll wander from the democratic player-power upon which our once-great sport was founded, and arrive at a day when, gasp, our sport is just like all the rest.

Understanding this as a choice between two opposites is dumb. Look at basketball, baseball/softball, (flag)football, and other so-called "legitimate" sports. Each has numerous subdivisions where players of various skills and levels of commitment can find a home. There's no reason why ultimate can't grow in a similar fashion--AND, I think this blogger is right when he calls for continued, steady growth in numbers. This is the path that will allow us to have our cake and eat it too, to grow the sport's popularity at both the base and the pinnacle. More numbers = greater visibility. Greater visibility = more numbers. More numbers & greater visibility = more players of ALL types & more interest in the sport from outside the community.

Despite the clever pun, the UPA does not need a "Revolution". It just needs to continue giving more and more people more and more opportunities to play, and diversifying the sport to suit the various subdivisions as they develop.