Spirit of the Game
History of the Spirit of the Game and Observers in the Sport of Ultimate
05 July 2011
The issue of whether the Observer system -- as used in North America at the highest levels of competition -- is in fundamental conflict with the “spirit of the game” of Ultimate is an ongoing debate not only in international circles and WFDF but also still in North America itself. The issue is extremely complicated and multi-faceted, and the debate is often poorly informed as too few participants understand the long historical evolution to the current Observer system now used, impacted by a series of notable incidents over time that shaped the process.
The issue of spirit of the game was a central theme throughout the ULTIMATE--The First Four Decades, by Pasquale Anthony Leonardo and Adam Zagoria, published by Joe Seidler in 2005, which catalogued the history of Ultimate. The following selections from that book provide an overview of the key debates and events that led to the development of the Observer system as it is currently used today. I would note that, despite the level of concern about the purity of the original principles of Ultimate, the founders at Columbia High School fully expected that referees would be used if Ultimate took off. Further, while observers are now used at the top levels of competition in North America, most games are still played without any Observers and most North American Ultimate players would say spirit of the game is still alive and well.
- Robert L. “Nob” Rauch
Ultimate Spirit of the Game Committee
06 June 2011The purpose of the WFDF Ultimate Spirit of the Game Committee is to promote the importance of good Spirit.
Ultimate and Spirit
06 June 2011
As Ultimate is a self-refereed sport, maintaining spirit of the game is essential to making the game work. And good spirit makes the game more enjoyable. At a bare minimum, ultimate players should hold themselves to the same code of conduct as referees would be expected to conform to at their level of play. The following are considered essential elements of good spirit:
- Know the rules
- Avoiding fouls and body contact
- Being fair-minded and respectful
- Having a positive attitude
- Showing self-control
Additionally, introducing yourself to your opponent and complementing them for good play or spirit will always increase the spirit.
The Rules of Ultimate outline in more detail key element of Spirit of the Game.
Spirit of the Game Time-out
27 May 2011If there is ever an issue with Spirit of The Game during play, Captains should be aware that the Appendix to the WFDF Rules of Ultimate include a Spirit of the Game Time-out (A7):
- If a team’s captain believes that either or both teams are failing to follow the Spirit of the Game (SOTG), they may call a “Spirit of the Game Time-out.
- This can only be called after the start of a point and prior to the ensuing pull.
- During this time-out, neither team may engage in tactical discussions.
- All team members of both teams will form a “spirit circle” in the middle of the field.
- The two opposing team captains shall separately discuss all current issues with adherence to SOTG, determine ways to rectify those issues, and then convey the agreement to the spirit circle.
- SOTG time-outs do not affect, nor are they affected by, the number of time-outs available.
BE CALM Strategy
27 May 2011
|Breathe||don’t react straight away|
|Explain||what you think happened|
|Consider||what they think happened|
|Ask||other players for advice (on perspective and rules) if needed|
|Listen||to what everyone has had to say|
|Make a call||loudly and clearly (and use Hand Signals)|
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