Bobo plays ultimate in Halifax and I was lucky enough to meet him this summer at the Parlee Beach Ultimate Tournament in Shediac, NB. Bobo is a young up and coming player and is super passionate about the sport. He was playing in a recent indoor tournament and after a tight point, scored and promptly spiked (well kicked the disc). He wrote an article based on that incident and more generally related it to the sport in general. That article follows below.
Celebrations in ultimate are a very touchy subject. Spirit of the Game is, and should be, a tradition of Ultimate. SotG is what separates Ultimate from other sports, making your own calls in the heat of the moment is hard, but the success that you feel from making the right call is its own reward. But what I don’t understand is why celebrations are considered unsporting. Admittedly the acceptability of celebrations depends on the situation. This issue is subjective, I’m just offering my opinion.
As with all discussions we have to put this one into context. Depending on whether you’re playing in a pick up game or universe point at the UPA club championship the game will be different. Picture the following, you cut deep and the thrower left you out to dry. They put the disc really far in front of you and you are running it down. At the last possible minute you launch yourself at the disc and manage to catch it just before you hit the ground. If this is a pick up game or this is a tournament final, imagine your reaction when you get back up. Keep this in mind when you go through my arguments.
There is a caveat on my discussion though. I disagree with violent or revenge spikes (those that are directed at opponents or in reaction to what they thought was a bad call). These have happened to me and I generally just walk away because fighting and arguing are not in my nature. I understand why some people do that, but I disagree with it and therefore won’t do it. If somebody skies me or goes horiztonal for a huge play for the point, they have earned that spike. They kept their team in the game and I’ll congratulate them even after the spike. They made a play, credit to them.
I do not believe that spiking is indicative of unspirited play; on the contrary. Spiking the disc shows intensity, energy and passion. When I’m playing on defense and a team scores and spikes that is a compliment. It says that they were not confident that they were going to score. It tells me that we were playing good defense and they had to make a play. It gets me excited as a defender. It makes me want to come out that much harder.
It surprises me when people call me unspirited for spiking. I do not make calls that I do not feel are justified; I will never contest a foul call that I agree with, no matter the game or the circumstances. I love ultimate way too much to abuse the rules. I put my heart and soul onto the field. This passion and energy comes out of me after I score. Spirit of the Game is useless if the score of the game becomes meaningless. If I don’t care about the outcome of the game then why would I bother to play? I want to play because I want to win. If passion, enthusiasm, energy, and excitement for Ultimate are not part being a spirited player, then something is seriously wrong.