Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Spirit Circles for Ultimate Games

The traditional post-game handshake (or hi-five) requires each team to form a line and walk toward each other. Hands, then, meet in the middle of these two parallel lines. Here's a reprint of USAU's recent mention of an alternative post-game ritual which is gaining popularity on ultimate fields.

How to Form and Use a Spirit Circle

USA Ultimate has recommended post-game "spirit circles" to teams at the Youth Club Championships since 2010. It's an idea borrowed from international competitions throughout the ultimate world. For years, American teams have traveled to world championships where they have not only done exceptionally well in each competition, but showed the international community the importance we place on respect for the game and their opponents. But American players have also learned a lot from competing against teams from other countries, and invariably one of the most positive parts of the international experience has been the tradition of the post-game spirit circle.

While there are a number of ways to do this, here are some quick tips to get your team started:
  • Following each game, rather than lining up to slap hands, the two teams gather into a circle, alternating players on each team, facing inward, with arms around the shoulders of the person next to you. 
  • One or two people (often team captains) on each team will talk briefly about the game. Usually the losing team goes first, then the winning team.
  • Things to talk about can include how the game went, how your own team played, what the other team did well, who on the other team played well, and anything else that might be worth communicating…even if it's something you think could be done better (and don't forget to look in the mirror on this). 
  • After each team has had a chance to talk, the winning team takes a step into the circle and walks around counter-clockwise to slap hands with the players on the other team.

That's it! It's pretty simple and definitely an experience that brings teams together and puts the game and the experience in perspective. It’s all about respect for each other and the experience of bringing out the best in each other through competition. It’s also about building relationships and seeing opponents for what they really are: part of the same community that loves ultimate. Please note that this is not meant to replace other post-game traditions you may have (e.g., cheers, games, photos, gifts or trading gear).

[TEXT SOURCE: 2014 U.S. Open Event Guide]

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