I've been trying to move on and accept this for a week, but I still feel I need to say something, so I'll put this to the peanut gallery.
I had the worst game of my 3-year VUL career last week against a team that was playing only to win. This team is in the bottom 10 overall in season-average-spirit, and my own team is in the top 10 overall. Both of our teams are in the lower divisions, so we're not exactly playing for hardware.
Many on our team were rubbed the wrong way, including myself, and I have to admit that I allowed myself to exhibit poor sportsmanship also. I agree that it takes two to tango, but would also point to our respective season-long spirit averages as proof of who instigated this behaviour.
My team's observation was that the poor-spirited team often called violations when they were unhappy with the outcome of the play. Some were accurate, some were questionable, and some were completely unreasonable.
Now, I'll grant that our team does not call much of anything, so getting used to the closely-called game was frustrating. I also realize that although we are comfortable in a low division, other teams are trying to move up and may see things more competitively.
However, the sheer number of calls being made was (IMHO) beyond anything any team would call "fun", and since any call must be respected and there is no arbitor, the opposing team effectively had a veto over any and all plays made. Given the heat and that we didn't have the substitute resources of the other team, this resulted in a tactical advantage. We lost by a single point, and at least two points were called back on out-of-bounds calls made from the centre of the field alone.
My question is this: I didn't join this league to become a rules-wizard so I could argue with children, nor to defend myself from over-zealous playcalling by calling plays more closely in retaliation.
Is there anything to be done besides pat ourselves on the back for being bigger people, and thanking ourselves for the character-building experience? If not, quite frankly, that's pretty weak.