Disc Blind: "Going for the Disc" = Dangerous Play

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Disc Blind or: "I was going for the disc" as an Indicator of Dangerous Play.

Ok, I wanted to start a new thread on Dangerous Play. The contemporaneous thread
"dangerous play?" focusses on a different topic. I would like to initiate a discussion on what I
believe to be the prevalence of Dangerous Play throughout our League, across divisions.

Specifically, I want to call to attention the common phenomenon of using "I was going for the
disc." as an explanation for a (possibly minor) collision or foul. I suggest that very nearly
every time you hear this phrase uttered, it is an example of Dangerous Play, even if there is
no significant Dangerous Collision. It bears highlighting:


If you hear a player say "I was going for the disc.", very likely they just comitted a
Dangerous Play, and are unaware of the fact.


Ask yourself what is meant by "I was going for the disc." It really means that "I didn't see
you there and impacted you, but it's ok for me to have done that, because I was attempting
to play the disc". There's a less common variant of this where the player actually does see
the person, but collides with them anyway, because they were playing the disc.

I'm going to call this Disc Blindness. Being Disc Blind means that you are unaware of your
surroundings or your obligation to avoid collisions. This is absolutely behaviour which we
need to discourage. We especially want to discourage using Disc Blindness as a defense
against a foul call! In essence, players are saying "it's ok I impacted you, I was Disc Blind".
That's madness.

Playing Disc Blind is Dangerous Play, even if the contact resulting from it is minor.
Dangerous Play is not limited to Injuriously Dangerous Collision, it is reckless disregard for
the safety fellow players. Not seeing somebody in your path because you were "going for
the disc", or otherwise being unaware of what is in your path is without a doubt reckless
disregard for the safety of fellow players.

I think we need a concerted effort by the members of the league to discuss these situations
when they arise. Now, it's not fun to stand up to somebody and explain to them that they are
playing Dangerously. More often than not it will lead to unpleasantness. However, Dangerous
Play is the one situation where we are obligated to do this.

If you see a collision or foul where a player defends their actions by saying "I was going for
the disc", then you should call Dangerous Play (even if it's your teammate). It doesn't have
to be accompanied by Dracula-like organ stings. Calmly make the call, and say we'll
discuss it on the sideline.

Doing this will help people realize that the first goal of every receiver is not to get the disc,
but to avoid everybody. I believe that doing this can have a measurable effect on the amount
of Dangerous Play in the league.

i dont know if i agree with this completely. obviously in many cases if you run over someone
to get to the disc it is dangerous, but this rule was called on me today for the first time since
i started playing ultimate and it seemed very unfair.
Here's the scenario: the disc is in the air, and player A seems to be in position but sees
player B about to go up for the disc. Player A decides to shift his body (maybe stick out a leg
to impede the other player) at the last second. Player B runs into this leg while catching the
disc. Player A calls dangerous play on Player B.

So a couple questions: 1) as player B i didnt consider myself "disc blind" but according to
your description, player A WAS there even if they stuck their leg out, and i DID run into
them, so is calling a dangerous play foul on player B legit?

2) I honestly thought it was more dangerous for him to impede my path to the disc, so am i
allowed to call a dangerous play foul on him after he has called one on me? and if so, what

I felt i had made a very good play on the disc, but instead not only was i not rewarded, the
best i could do was to contest his foul call which just gave it back to the thrower.


If the situation did play out as you described it, then it seems as though the relevant rule is

A player may not take a position that is unavoidable by a moving opponent when time,
distance, and line of sight are considered. Non-incidental contact resulting from taking such a
position is a foul on the blocking player.

Also, while I agree with Temple and others that dangerous behaviour absolutely must be
avoided, it must be recognized that mere contact, even some reasonably forceful contact
doesn't necessarily mean danger. Yes, any contact involves some risk, but "dangerous play" is
really a special case, as suggested by XVI.H.4:

Reckless disregard for the safety of fellow players or other dangerously aggressive behavior
(such as significantly colliding into a stationary opponent), regardless of whether or when the
disc arrives or when contact occurs is considered dangerous play and is treated as a foul.

Hmm. I'm sure Temple will reply, but from my point of view that call is unjustified, if player A's movement is at 'the last second'.

We've had this happen before, and the way our captain explained it is that both A and B must have equal access to the disc. A defender is allowed to cut off or block a cut to the disc, but (and this is the key) not in a way that basically ensures the other player initiates a collision.

So, in this case, if A stuck their leg out or changed direction an instant before you got there, then I would definitely contest that call. However, if you were both circling around attempting to get the best position, and you had time to move, then it's less obvious.

That's the way I see it. I'd be interested to get others' takes.

Gin-Boh and Sean pretty much nail it.

Josh, I introduced the term "Disc Blind" for when 'I was going for the disc' is used as an
explanation or reason for why you collided with the other person. Unfortunately this is the
case very often, but fortunately, it doesn't sound like the case in the scenario you describe.

In the scenario you described (it's really irrelevant what actually happened), the reason for
the collision was because Player B was going for an open path to the disc, but Player A took
an unavoidable position. That's not Disc Blind, that's good ultimate on B's part and a foul on
A's part.

The objectives of every ultimate player:

Primary: avoid everybody.
Secondary: get the disc.

If somebody explains "But I was going for the disc", then they've got those priorities wrong,
and likely have regularly been playing dangerously.

Jon By Jon

Temple, did you mistype something there? Taking an unavoidable position is "good ultimate" on A's part?

Sure did. *corrected*

thanks for your replies. I'm still wondering what would happen if both of us decided to call a
dangerous play foul on each other. Would it be the same result as player B contesting player A's
dangerous play foul call? Basically I'm wondering what would be the best scenario for player B
since i feel like he/she has been cheated if the disc just goes back to the thrower.
thanks again

It really doesn't matter if the foul was a dangerous play foul or regular receiving foul... a contested foul will send the disc back, and offsetting fouls called by both will send the disc back. Stall count would remain the same.

Now, if player A's foul call (dangerous or otherwise) didn't include a receiving foul component, then the result of the play would/should remain, rather than sending the disc back. For example, the disc had already sailed past them making the turnover a foregone conclusion, regardless of the corresponding foul.