Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ultimate Frisbee article [Washington Post]

A friend texted me "Reading abt the Current in the Post Sports Section" this past weekend. Published in the printed newspaper (circulation of 838,000), the article is a good 'MLU 101' and game promo.

However, the article did not cover the other DC pro ultimate team (Breeze), nor the AUDL. Did the author ignore covering the AUDL/Breeze because he writes for the MLU/Current?
Game recap. WaPo story.

Ultimate frisbee looks to grow, so long as it can maintain its roots [WaPo 6.22.13]
By Bryan Flaherty

..."Playing before crowds of over a thousand has been unreal,” said Daniel Kantor, DC’s co-captain. "When I first got my jersey and got on the team bus for a road game, it made me think, 'Yeah, this is happening. I'm playing professional ultimate.'"

"Professional" is true in a minimal sense. MLU Commissioner Jeff Snader said players make $25 per game with incentives that will push some players' season salaries over $1,000. Crowds at the modest stadiums the league rents from high schools and municipalities have been small, but Snader said fans who give the sport a look tend to return.

"Things can change in an instant," said Tom Crawford, chief executive of USA Ultimate. "At any moment, players can shift from offense to defense."

What traditionally has not been part of such transitions is the presence of a referee. The sport's guiding principle — referred to as "spirit of the game" — calls for players to make their own officiating decisions and settle disputes on their own.

But MLU made a decision to move away from the self-officiating principle, instituting referees instead in one of several key rules changes aimed at making the game more accessible to regular sports fans, including adding time-regulated quarters instead of playing to a point total and expanding the size of the playing field.

"We wanted to simplify things on the field for the players and the fans," said Snader. "Referees prevent lengthy on-field discussions between players and move the game along."

According to Crawford, such rules changes mean the MLU is playing a sport that isn't, by the strictest definition, ultimate.


Anonymous said...

Ha, yeah he was certainly biased, probably should have divulged that in his article. I find it funny how hyped that NY/DC game was. Two 3-6 teams playing where SOMEBODY had to win to make the playoffs is pretty pathetic.

Sludge said...

Dear Anonymous @ 11:00AM,
Agreed; a disclaimer should have been included in the article. Since the author has a connection to the story subject which *might* influence how he wrote the story, it's a (journalistic) conflict of interest.

Bob said...

"According to Crawford, such rules changes mean the MLU is playing a sport that isn't, by the strictest definition, ultimate."

Ridiculous, ridiculous statement.

Someone should tell Tom Crawford about the several editions of the rules (including the first edition, written by the founders!) that allow referees, or specify how to play timed games.

USAU ultimate, as it is now, is a different game from a few decades ago. Remember when there was basically no stall count, or when it was 15, or when you had to pause between the word "stalling" and one? Or that games were played to 21, or 17. Not too long ago, the endzones were 25 yards deep, now they are 20.

So when the USAU changes the rules, the refs, the size of the field, the stall count, and the game length, it's still Ultimate. But when another organization does it it's "well, you can do that, but don't say you are playing 'Ultimate?'"