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Spirit Of The Games

by Taylor Pope

I am not going to write about history. I'm not going to write of how "zealots" and "RSDers" alike bake their theory cake and top it with a little Spirit icing so everybody thinks it will taste sweet. If I am going to talk about it, it's going to be about me and what I think, so here goes: 

Spirit is respect. Respect for your opponent, respect for the situation, and respect for right to play this game at any level you want. 

Every elite team must first slog their way through some pretty easy games on the road to Nationals. This year, Ring of Fire's first game at Sectionals was against a high school team. Easy crush, right? Sure, but that's the best damn thing about this sport. Any 7 people can get together, pay a Sectionals tourney fee, and if you are good enough, win a national title. Here is how Spirit plays out for me in those games. I will make and contest zero calls. Wait, wait, wait... You might be thinking, "So you base your usage of the rules on whether or not you think you will beat your opponent." Answer: Yes. I don't make a lot of calls in general and I certainly have no reason to be contesting most of the time, but I get embarrassed if my team starts calling travels on some college player whose about to get spanked anyway. 

What should you do if he's breaking the rules? Chill, let it go, be a nice person. But wait, "Shouldn't you make a point to teach the inexperienced the correct way to play the game, thereby holding him to the strict interpretation of the 11th edition." Answer: No. Let somebody else be that guy. And I'll tell you, that guy is out there just frothing at the chance to show someone his rules prowess. You, instead, be the cool guy who wins like you were born to. 

Change the setting to any game at nationals and you get a different picture. The stakes are higher and so is the parity. Oh, and everybody at Nationals should know the rules. Plus there are observers. Here rules are enforced to the letter and everybody mostly agrees that to be okay and Spirited. Where Spirit plays out here is in a respect for the situation. Everybody is playing for that title. For most on the Elite teams, it can be pointed to as the most important thing. That said, things get heated at Nationals. 

I get heated at Nationals. I yell and curse and bitch and foul and spike and taunt and if need be go down swinging at Nationals. I play physical, I initiate contact and I will probably foul you once or twice in doing so. Let me know it bothers you? I'll do it even more, cause I am trying to win just like you. I promise I'm not trying to hurt you. I love you. It's just part of the game, just like penalties and fouls in any other sport. You want that to change? Change the rules. You may think that I have less respect for you, but it is quite the contrary: it means I must play that way because you deserve to experience the game the way it was meant to be played. 

I will also say this, I am not alone. There is no team at Nationals that doesn't play physical defense, if there is I would ask how many bids their Region must have got. But I will tell you this, win or lose, I will respect my opponent who shared the field of battle with me. If you beat me, I hope I made it worth your while. My Spirit is my soul, and Ultimate is one of those few places where you can channel all that primal instinct and rage into something beautiful, something that only those on the field with you can understand. The sweat and blood and anger and passion is spread out on the field where it was laid for all to witness. You can go around collecting it up, and holding it, like the hate for that girl who dumped you and went out with your roommate, or you can leave it there and have a beer with me. 

huddle Issue 24 Spirit Of The Game

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

by Tully Beatty

The Real Issues With Spirit
by Lou Burruss

Even If No One Is Watching
by Lindsey Hack

A Tennis Analogy
by Brett Matzuka

Our Rules
by Ryan Morgan

Codifying Spirit
by Ted Munter

Spirit Of The Games
by Taylor Pope

Character When It Matters Most
by Chelsea Putnam

The Blender
by Charlie Reznikoff

Two Principal Components
by Adam Sigelman

What Goes Through Your Head
by Ben van Heuvelen

What We Do
by Ben Wiggins

My Turn As That Guy
by Anonymous Elite Open Player





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