Relative Sportsmanship

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So,

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.

Ive come across similar teams in the past...and really, not much you can do about it. There are some people in ultimate, as there are in every sport, that think everything is an infraction against the other team...whether it be a foul, out of bound, travel, stall count....Some calls may be legit, but as you said, some of them are just wrong, or even worse...cheating. Whether people are 'cheating' on purpose, or its just their personality to assume they are always right, or they are used to other competitive sports where you give your team the benefit of most calls.....with out a ref, not much you can do about it.

And no, i do not think all player that make alot of calls are cheaters....but i definitely think there are a few players/teams in this league that blatantly cheat when a game/call isnt going their way.

The only thing you can do is learn the rules and dis-agree when a bad call is made. An easy start is, out of bounds should not be called form the middle of field, unless no one else (either team) had a better perspective. If you, or anyone on your team, think you saw a play in or out better than the person calling it, make sure you arent afraid to call it as well. Worst case, back to thrower.

I remember playing in this game, on the opposing team. Again I feel a little insulted at this skewed sense of spirit. I;m not saying either team was very spirited, and both sides could have helped to dampen the flames a little.

I remember explaining a few rules to your team that seemed to be common place, quoting from the 11th edition. I also remember getting very negative responses from your entire team for knowing the rules when clearly none of you had ever read the book. I disagree with your belief that some of our calls were completely unreasonable. I tried explaining many rule infractions to my team to stop the game from where it was going. Nothing we called off the chars, especially if you had never heard of things like the continuation rule before.

I know intense game but leave it all on the field. How is never reading the rules spirited? How is bringing this up on the forum spirited? You're just trying to make yourself feel better about the game.

So a season long spirit rating means you were undoubtedly full of spirit that game? The low season long spirit rating means we obviously were the instigators.This kind of assumption probably steered the game in a negative direction from the beginning. Basing on history is not spirited either.

You didn't join to argue with children over rules you haven't read? I apologize for being well rehearsed in the rules and also apologize for losing your respect because of my age, how mature.

Given how you dealt with the situation on the field, and now off the field, and how you stereotyped our team originally just points to how much of a character building experience this really was.

I've never seen a bigger problem with respect to making a perfectly legitimate call, and having the opposing team become completely belligerent in arguing said call. It has been a rarity to see players simply contest a call.

Instead, we see players arguing, insisting that "you can't call that", or implying that you are just cheating because you made ~5 foul calls throughout the course of a game. I've also seen players respond with "Well if you're going to call stuff that didn't happen I'm going to as well" (The stuff that "didn't happen" were foul calls that the player could not have possibly seen).

I brought this up before, it seems some teams think that simply making any rule calls is BAD SPIRIT. Having a game with no calls whatsoever is GOOD SPIRIT. Guess again.

Jesse,

My comment about arguing with children was uncalled-for, and I apologize for it and take it back. You worked hard for your win; congratulations, and good luck in your coming games.

Regarding your season spirit score, we were not aware of it until after the game; it did not prejudice our opinion of your team, rather you created that opinion last week. The spirit score, as well as some conversation with other teams that have played you, only served to confirm what we observed on the field.

Simon.

If this was the worst game of your ultimate career, you've lived a blessed existence.

The "Pink Flower Fairies" used to challenge us to fist fights, mock our players for being overweight, and have no regard for players' safety or the rules. And yes, those games were in low divisions as well.

You are going to have to bring a more compelling case in order to get me on your side. You've betrayed a bias against this "poor-spirited" team for making calls, and beating you, neither of which I can lay any blame for.

You don't need a degree from Hogwarts to be a rules-wizard. Be familiar with the rules, and do your best to play by them.

I didn't see the game in question, and I don't really care. I'm not going to comment on the
game played, but I will comment on what was presented here.

Simon, at several points in your post I got the impression that you think making calls lowered
the 'spirit' or the fun of the game. Maybe that was limited to only the calls you saw as
"completely unreasonable", but even if that were the case, you have to understand that not
accepting a call which you view as unreasonable as a valid call is in itself unspirited.

If you believe the other team was cheating, that's one thing. The only recourse you have is to
walk off the field or turn the other cheek.

I don't know (or care) if the other team was consciously cheating, but if they weren't, then
you have the case where they saw a play differently than you. That's ultimate my friend. If
you don't like that, you're in the wrong sport.

"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."

This sentence to me is telling. Quite often (especially in the lower divs), none of the teams
know the rules all that well, or at least they don't bother making calls when they see
disallowed behaviour. I have often seen teams where most of their players really had little to
no idea about the basic rules of ultimate (traveling, no-contact, IB/OB, picks, etc).

You're playing a sport where *you are the referee*. If you don't play by the rules, and allow
the others you play against to not play by the rules, then you are part of the problem. You're
setting yourself up for a situation where you face a team that does know the rules, and
usually it is the ignorant (no pejorative there) team that comes out rubbed raw.

I'm guessing you're on a nice team, probably make one or two calls a game, and prefer a
more laissez-faire game where the rules of play are quite fuzzy. Likely you mostly play
teams that are quite the same, and that works well.

What doesn't work well is when you play a team that decides not to be so laissez-faire, and
they decide to start making calls (especially when you're scoring a point). That team may call
the game closely, and that's perfectly spirited of them. Reacting poorly to that, or expecting
a more loose game would definitely be poor spirit.

Simon, I'm sure your team is nicer than the other team (that's 95% of what the spirit ranking
shows), but that doesn't mean you're necessarily more spirited, and certainly doesn't mean
that you showed better or even good
spirit last week.

I wasn't at the game in question, but I have seen and played in many games similar to this. My biggest problem with ultimate is that people don't understand the rules. If you don't take it upon yourself to learn the rules, you only have yourself to blame. There is a forum here for people to discuss rules and their applications and interpretations. In a sport where each person on the field is the referee, you have take responsibility to know the rules as best you can. You don't need to quote them by each section, but you do need to know them. It would be similar to going to play baseball and having an umpire come in and not know the infield fly or ground rule double rule.

It is never against the spirit of the game to call a foul, violation or other call if you truly believe that's what happened. Just because the last team didn't call anything, doesn't mean the current team you are playing doesn't have the right to call all fouls. You are cheating yourself and your teammates if you don't call the game the way the rules are laid out.

If you didn't want to play with rules, and just wanted to hang out with your friends and drink beer, there are beaches and parks you and your friends can go play on your own time. I highly recommend staying in the league and learning the rules though. You'll find it more enjoyable.

DBZ By DBZ

If you haven't noticed, spirit defined in this league isn't very accurate. You'll have teams who win receiving low spirit scores, and teams who lose receiving pity high spirit scores. The reason your team receives such high spirit rating is simply because you offer beer at the end of the game. If anything, the game we had before the season ended and the game we had during playoffs were two completely different games. If anything, it wasn't simply our team that was playing differently, but yours also. It takes two to tango.

Not to mention, you had one player who simply didn't know rules and kept arguing as if he knew what he was talking about. We don't care about calling out rules, but if you're going to state the wrong calls for the wrong reasons, then there's something wrong there.

To me, it just felt as if your team's attitude turned 180 towards us in that game also.

Anyhow, the other teams in our division aren't as spirited as you think. They all have faults. The only reason why every team in this division loves your team is your fun outgoing attitude about the sport and care free nature. If that's how you want to play, like Squiggsy, don't play in league.

"The only reason why every team in this division loves your team is your fun outgoing attitude about the sport and care free nature. If that's how you want to play, like Squiggsy, don't play in league."

Give your head a shake. I can say with conviction that the VUL wants teams that have a "fun outgoing attitude" and "care free nature". Such characteristics are not mutually exclusive with playing with spirit, and playing by the rules. Sure, any given team may have some work to do with respect to understanding the rules. But the day we place strict adherence to the rules above having fun is the day this league will begin to die. Spirit is fundamentally about respect, and respect doesn't include denigrating an opponent, or saying they should go play elsewhere, because they choose to play with a different focus than you.

Thanks all for the input.

I would like to say that at no time during the game in question did I feel that anyone was deliberately calling incorrect fouls to reverse plays, on either side. Isolated incidents aside, I have not seen a pattern of such behaviour at any time that I've played here, and I'm very appreciative of the significance of that, given that the entire 200-odd team league is self-refereed.

Just wanting to put in my 2 cents since I felt like I (and my team) was being attacked with the wrong reasons.

In other sports, the ref will make the foul calls, travels calls, out calls etc. And since this is a self officiated sport, someone on the field will make that call. The other team is always allowed to contest if they disagree.

Yes, having fun should be the first priority. But is letting the team complete a breakside huck, which was only achieved because of an extremely obvious travel, considered as fun? And is getting elbowed in the sternum fun too? Or how about getting mowed down by 3 simultaneous picks? I let a lot of the little things slide to keep the flow of the game going, making it more enjoyable. But when there is an obvious “breaking of the rules”, I will call it.

Our team is a learning team too. We have been around for pretty much the same amount of time as yours. We took the time to learn the rules. Maybe your team should too to prevent situations like this occurring in future games.

Re: bottom 10 on the spirit rankings
Since we were put in a lower division in the first month of the season, we ended up winning several games 13-0/1/2. The other teams gave us extremely low spirit for doing so. So we asked to be bumped up two divs for the next month. We ended up losing by quite a bit to most of the teams, but they gave us much higher ratings. So that is why we are where we are in the standings. Therefore, I don’t think that by playing by the rules affected our spirit, just the outcome of the games.

Simon,

There's too much he said/ she said going on here for me to want to comment. However, I feel compelled to point out that this statement of yours:

"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."

appears to contradict this one, also of yours:

"I would like to say that at no time during the game in question did I feel that anyone was deliberately calling incorrect fouls to reverse plays, on either side."

Since the first one seemed to be the basis for much of your initial dissatisfaction with the team/game in question, I'm rather puzzled by the newly adopted stance. Unless, that is, by "questionable" and "unreasonable" in the first quote you really meant "that our team wouldn't have bothered calling."

"I would like to say that at no time during the game in question did I feel that anyone was
deliberately calling incorrect fouls to reverse plays, on either side."

So you admit they were playing within the rules, but your team got upset because they were
making so many valid calls of infractions your team was comitting.

Simon, that sucks.

Absolutely we want happy-go-lucky teams in the league. But realize that your team's decision
to remain ignorant of the rules (again, no pejorative) and your team's reaction to a properly
called game is largely what caused the unpleasantness.

I think your team could benefit from some more mentoring. Hopefully you guys can learn
from this experience.

Or maybe consider coming out to observe some higher div games.

Granted, games like the one described on this post happen in higher div games.

But I think there are more games where rules are "called" much more often; and are resolved quickly (either happily or not!) and the game continues without much more than a huff and a puff from 1 or 2 players. The understanding is this: while we are having fun playing (why are we all out here, after all?!), and drinking bevvies, the fun does not really diminish with these calls because 1) we know how to resolve them quickly b/c 'most' people have a general understanding of the rules and 2) we understand that rule calls are part of the fricken game!! That's why it's a sport. There are RULES that govern how we play. Beers, super fun attitude, or not, this is a concrete definition of SPORT! Some of the teams are out there with a stacked cooler and sense of humour; others are of the I'm-too-good-for-you variety. In any case, the games are still played hard and fun!

Netty,

I agree that your team's understanding of the rules is likely, on average, better than the rest of the division. It is most certainly better than our own, and certainly one lesson we took from the experience - that is underscored by this discussion - is that we need to brush up on the rules of the game.

I don't agree with the insinuation that your team's understanding of the rules is iron-clad, and I certainly don't agree that our "learning the rules" would prevent this situation in the future.

Calling picks when you're well out of the play is not within the rules. Ignoring a fast-count call and then arguing over whether or not your defender had started to say "ten" before the disc is thrown is not within the rules. Making best-perspective calls from midfield - then arguing with someone much closer to the play - is not in the spirit of the rules, nor is making calls (or prompting teammates to make calls) from the sidelines. Our team complained directly to your team during the game about these last two, in particular, and although our concerns were acknowledged at the time, this did not prevent similar occurrences later in the game. Similar to you, there were calls we let go either to speed up game play, or out of lack of watching for such things unless they were egregious.

I do not want to have an argument about who better understands the rules. I believe that your own team has a better understanding, but that neither of us are perfect. I will state again that I do not believe your team was cheating; in the playoffs, amongst competitive people, sidelines seem closer and tension can lead to things being seen differently than they might in calmer times. "Blurry memories" of an exact interpretation of the rules can prevail.

The entire point of my posting was to comment on the balance of our two teams' approaches. If your team makes five unreasonable calls, according to your position, my own team has to make five such calls to achieve a "fair" outcome. Do-overs are great, but on a hot day, a team with few subs that is compelled to repeat plays that were called on unreasonable grounds is put at a disadvantage. I do not agree that the best approach to balance is to have all teams call a similar number/strictness of fouls, particularly when we are all aware that understanding of rules in the lower divisions is not perfect.

...cont'd

cont'd...

Regarding your season spirit, I have reviewed your semester-by-semester spirit scores, and don't agree with your conclusion. While your avg spirit did go up when you were being beaten more often, your average that month was still well within the bottom half of the league. The next semester, when you were a div lower and your record was in the middle of the three semesters, you had your lowest spirit average of the season. Many teams manage to win consistently and also attain high spirit scores; some of those mentioned on the VUL main page were also some of the best teams in their respective divisions.

It is fair to ask me/us to review our knowledge of the rules, and to absorb your learning curve. In turn, I request that you absorb our learning curve, and that you review your spirit ratings and your approach to calling fouls, at least in the context of your own knowledge of the rules. Your captain has access to detailed information regarding what each opponent liked/disliked about your play. There is one checkbox in particular commenting on whether the marking team feels that the opponent calls too many unjustified fouls. If this or any other specific critique shows up repeatedly in your scores, I think it is fair to ask you to ask yourselves why that might be.

Finally, I would like to state that I regret that this conversation became so personal in a public forum; I had intended to keep the issue general/abstract. If you wish to discuss/debate my opinion above, feel free to contact me off-line via the link to my name. If you feel that you must reply publicly, feel free.

Thanks,
Simon.

Temple, Gin-Boh, et al.

See my long-winded response above. I don't feel either team played completely within the rules, but I fully suspect this was due to passion/ignorance reasons. My comment was that I saw no deliberate cheating, and my complaint is merely that, when a team is going to call the rules closely, there is in my opinion a burden of responsibility to make sure either that you're 100% bang-on with calls, or that your "foul threshold" takes this into consideration. At the very least, some consideration for how your foul-calling mistakes might impact the other team's experience - particularly when you are playing a "laissez-faire" team - seems warranted.

This is of course something that isn't in any rule- or reg- book, so I welcome any comments. My desire in bringing this up was to get input on the opinion I've presented in this post; I did not want to single out any team for poor behaviour. Your criticisms are well-taken and give me some clear steps I can take to improve my game/experience.

Simon, you keep digging yourself deeper. The picture you're painting shows a team that's
playing a different game than the one we all signed up for. That is always bound to cause
problems.

First and foremost. Calling on spirit scores as any indication of SOTG is flawed on so many
levels (one is not an accurate indicator of the other). And using the previous spirit score as
part of your argument is just detracting from your case. Please go look up 'ad hominem'.

Now let's look at your understanding of the rules of the game and spirit.

"Calling picks when you're well out of the play is not within the rules."

Wrong. You call picks immediately after they happen. Don't take the time to check to see if
your player is going to get involved in the play, you just call it immediately. That's a safety
issue. If the pick didn't affect play (the call itself can't affect play, it has to be the
obstruction), then the play stands.

"Ignoring a fast-count call and then arguing over whether or not your defender had started to
say "ten" before the disc is thrown is not within the rules."

Previous infractions have no bearing over how to handle a current infraction. If they didn't
drop their count by two after hearing "fast count" then you call "Violation" and play Stops
(you do know that play doesn't Stop when you say Fast Count right?). And *any time* you
disagree with another call, you contest it. That is not unspirited.

"Making best-perspective calls from midfield - then arguing with someone much closer to the
play - is not in the spirit of the rules"

Wrong. If you see a play OB, even from the middle of the field, you call it. If somebody
closer disagrees, both of your calls are valid. That's in both the letter and the spirit of the
rules.

" is not in the spirit of the rules, nor is making calls (or prompting teammates to make calls)
from the sidelines."

The sideline can't make a call. You can't use what another person saw as the basis of your
call. If they did that they were wrong. However, the sideline can and should tell their own
team to "call double team" or "watch that guy's travel", etc. And you can certainly ask the
sideline for what they saw in the hopes that one party will *voluntarily* change their call.

"Do-overs are great, but on a hot day, a team with few subs that is compelled to repeat
plays that were called on unreasonable grounds is put at a disadvantage."

What are "unreasonable grounds"? You repeatedly say that they weren't cheating, so they
weren't making inaccurate calls. You do realize that all valid calls are reasonable, right?

If you think a valid call is "unreasonable", then my friend you are playing with a very distinct
lack of SOTG.

"when a team is going to call the rules closely, there is in my opinion a burden of
responsibility to make sure either that you're 100% bang-on with calls, or that your "foul
threshold" takes this into consideration."

Wrong. You have to be sure of all calls, period. There is no scalable foul threshold that your
opponent has a "burden of responsibility" to stick to. If you're letting things slide, and you
expect the other team to do the same, that is your mistake. That is unspirited.

"At the very least, some consideration for how your foul-calling mistakes might impact the
other team's experience"

What!? What is a "foul-calling mistake"? If the call is valid, it's not a mistake.

Simon, you're playing a different game that the rest of us. That seems to be the chief problem
here.

You cannot force your idea of how the game should be played on us. The rules exist to give us
all the same version of how the game should be played. If your version differs from the rules,
you are unspirited.

Temple,

Thanks for your comments. I'm not sure that I agree that "the rest of you" are playing a different game, but your points are helpful for any who feel as I do.

Cheers.

one argument i have with Temples reply is:

"Wrong. If you see a play OB, even from the middle of the field, you call it. If somebody
closer disagrees, both of your calls are valid. That's in both the letter and the spirit of the
rules."

This is the biggest problem i see with the 'best perspective' rule. There are a few player i have played against who feel no matter where they are standing, they have the best perspective, and make the call, every single time. I find this to be very un-spirited.

If you call the play OB from the middle of the field, but then i say, "no, i am closer to the play and have a clear view and a better perspective than you, it was in-bounds". If you can see that i obvioulsy have a better perspective, i think you should concede and let my call stand. Problem is that a few people dont do that.

and of course, because of the rules, they are perfectly within their rights to do this....but i would say this is nothing more than cheating.

"If you call the play OB from the middle of the field, but then i say, "no, i am closer to the
play and have a clear view and a better perspective than you, it was in-bounds". If you can
see that i obvioulsy have a better perspective, i think you should concede and let my call
stand. Problem is that a few people dont do that."

No. Better perspective does not mean you are right and the other person is wrong. I wouldn't
even say that's true the majority of the time when there are offsetting calls. I've Observed a
lot of games (or watched from the sidelines), and I've seen a lot of people make what I
thought were incorrect calls, even when they supposedly had Best Perspective. I'm not
suggesting I was right and they were wrong, but looking at the line from next to the line was
all that I was doing. I had equal or better perspective and saw it differently. In these cases,
one of us was wrong, both of us had great perspective.

"it's his call" is bogus. If you see something, you call it. That's the rules, and that's spirited.

"and of course, because of the rules, they are perfectly within their rights to do this....but i
would say this is nothing more than cheating."

If both people are sure, then perspective doesn't matter. It's only cheating if the player calls
OB when he doesn't see it clearly OB (that's both highly unspirited and completely against the
rules). If he sees it clearly OB, then it's his right to call it, and that call is as valid as
anybody else's. You have to give the benefit of the doubt though, assuming somebody who
disagrees with you is cheating (even when you're sure they're wrong) is very poor spirit, and
is the path to unhappy ultimate.

Jeebus, if you think following the rules is cheating, then you're guilty of playing a different
game than the rest of us. You can't craft the rules that you think are the right way to play.
You do that and you wind up thinking another person is cheating, when they're not. That's
very bad spirit.

Jeebus - welcome to planet "not the rest of us", population 2.

I've lined up a full-weekend Ultipsychological counselling session. I might be able to score some kind of a 2-for-1 deal. Call me if you're interested.

;)

What I find annoying are the teams who start making calls as soon as they are down a few
points. I think if you are going to be officious rule sticklers you should do so from the get-go.

Likewise with in the playoffs vs. not in the playoffs.

Complaining about a team making calls that are within the rules and admittedly not cheating
is an indefensible position. If you disagree with that you *are* in the wilds with relatively few
others (say "hi" to the pro-'check feet' people for me).

Keam: "I think if you are going to be officious rule sticklers you should do so from the get-
go."

Simon: "Likewise with in the playoffs vs. not in the playoffs."

Wait, what are you saying? If the other team didn't make a call when you broke the rules
previously, they should let you keep breaking the rules? Come on, that's garbage. If you
honestly believe that, then you my friend need to have your idea of fairness and spirit
examined.

Perhaps the other teams didn't want to make calls against you guys when it didn't 'count'
because your attitude towards valid calls showed such poor sportsmanship. Faced with that on
a nameless weeknight, many would rather let you travel/pick/whatever and get the game
over with than make every call they see and have you get unreasonably bent out of shape
and steer the game into a spirit spiral of doom.

haha...don't worry Simon, ive been part of 'not the rest of us' for a while. Alot of others on this planet as well.....just not ones who join in on the forums.

Back to the issue...

"If both people are sure, then perspective doesn't matter. It's only cheating if the player calls
OB when he doesn't see it clearly OB (that's both highly unspirited and completely against the
rules). "

My complaint isnt when this happens a few times where people have differing calls....my problem is when the SAME player claims to have the best perspective every single time their is a questionable inbound/out of bounds call....and this SAME player always seems to see it to his/her teams advantage. And for some, i know for a fact they did not have a great angle, but they run up from across the field, say something like "i saw their foot land here' and point to a spot on the field.

But according to the rules....as long as that SAME player is on the field, he/she has a right to make every call and his or her call has to stand as valid. I know I am taking about the exception, not the norm....but this has happened enough times thats i thought it is worth mentioning. It is a case of someone using the rules to their advantage....which i would call cheating.

The other case is where the person doesnt know they are doing it, and actually feel that they have super vision and are able to make a call on every play, no matter where they are on the field.

i dont know what the answer to this is...maybe have one player from each team stand on either sideline and make the calls, i dunno....but it really sucks that this happens and there is nothing you can do about it....

Wait, what are you saying? If the other team didn't make a call when you broke the rules
previously, they should let you keep breaking the rules? Come on, that's garbage. If you
honestly believe that, then you my friend need to have your idea of fairness and spirit
examined.

Well, that's not what I'm saying at all. I just think it starts to turn into the kind of
gamesmanship that drags down other sports. If you're going to play with strict rule
interpretations then that should be consistent from the get-go. If you are going to start the
game with a relaxed approach to small infractions like a travel, then it should come as no
surprise when the other team is saying WTF when you call every single infraction as soon as you
get down a few points, and leads to tit for tat stickler-ism that just makes things worse.

"Perhaps the other teams didn't want to make calls against you guys when it didn't 'count' because your attitude towards valid calls showed such poor sportsmanship. Faced with that on a nameless weeknight, many would rather let you travel/pick/whatever and get the game over with than make every call they see and have you get unreasonably bent out of shape and steer the game into a spirit spiral of doom."

Perhaps...and perhaps "every team in this division loves your team [because of] your fun outgoing attitude about the sport and care free nature..."

But that's besides the point. Since I'm sure that you feel your idle conjecture deeply in your heart-of-hearts, and as far as you know you aren't lying, you must be correct. But I'm correct too. So, I'll take back the disc, and we can repeat our posts, reserving the right to feel opposite opinions in our hearts-of-hearts, until the server crashes in a flaming ball of spirit of the game.

:P

jeebus: "But according to the rules....as long as that SAME player is on the field, he/she has
a right to make every call and his or her call has to stand as valid. I know I am taking about
the exception, not the norm....but this has happened enough times thats i thought it is worth
mentioning. It is a case of someone using the rules to their advantage....which i would call
cheating."

I hear you and it happens. However this is not unique to OB/IB, it happens with fouling and
contesting, etc. There's no rule, nor interpretation to a rule which can eliminate a player from
making a call they know to be false. The only options are to go to an Observer, walk off the
field, or grin and bear it.

That's the self-refereed sport you're playing, it's the sport you love. You must *always*
presume the other person is not cheating and that their Call is perfectly valid (even if you
think it completely wrong).

--

Keam: "If you are going to start the game with a relaxed approach to small infractions like a
travel, then it should come as no surprise when the other team is saying WTF when you call
every single infraction as soon as you get down a few points, and leads to tit for tat stickler-
ism that just makes things worse."

The kernel of your argument is that there's a point when the other team *shouldn't* be
calling you on the infractions you are committing. That's not spirited in any way.

That's the danger of 'letting things slide to be nice', it gives the team *breaking the rules* a
feeling of entitlement to continue breaking the rules. Keam, you're never, ever entitled to
break the rules without a call against, no matter the circumstances. That argument is like
saying "I park my car in my alley every day, why are you ticketing me today!". Wrong is
wrong, even if you're only caught some of the time. You can't assume that you're allowed to
do something, because you've gotten away with it in the past. The other team is in no way
unspirited when they break your faulty assumption.

"Tit for tat sticklerism" is your term for when another team stops letting you play by your
own modified ruleset. That's not unspirited. You know how to stop a team from being
"sticklers"? You play by the rules. Easy as that.

--

Simon, you can feel secure in your opinion, but you'll learn nothing. You may call what I'm
saying "idle conjecture", but most would agree it's how the game is to be played. Please,
don't take my word for it, email the Coord questions about our specific issues of
disagreement, and see how his response would match up to what I (and several others) have
been trying to tell you.

"The kernel of your argument is that there's a point when the other team *shouldn't* be
calling you on the infractions you are committing. That's not spirited in any way."

No, that's not the kernel of my argument. I don't mind if everything gets called. But I've played
long enough to know when a team suddenly starts using the rules as an eighth man on the field.
And that's just as wrong as expecting a lax approach to the rules.

"But I've played long enough to know when a team suddenly starts using the rules as an
eighth man on the field. And that's just as wrong as expecting a lax approach to the rules."

Wait, but we're only ever talking about cases where the team is making valid calls! The '8th
man on the field' is on your team! Your team has put that 8th man on the field by breaking
the rules, the other team is pointing it out.

It is by no means unspirited to call you on your violations of the rules. If you don't like that
the other team is 'calling everything', then stop playing against the rules!

You keep denying my summation, but you've just said it is wrong to make calls (at least
sometime). That is *absolutely incorrect*, and that's an unspirited approach to the game.

If you *expect* the other team not to call you on your violations (even just sometimes), you
are going to cause problems. Don't do that. If you think it's unspirited to call a team's
violations (even just sometimes), you are mistaken what SOTG is.

Temple,

Please don't take my fun-poking in the wrong way; your comments regarding specific rules, and SOTG in general, are well-received and I appreciate your taking the time to make them.

The idle conjecture I was referring to was your comment about my team possibly being too pissy to call fouls against in the regular season. This discussion is, in some ways, a perfect analogy for my complaint in general.

Your understanding of the game is far better than mine. You also appear to have opinions about the conduct of my team that you could not have any factual basis for, since (I don't think) you have played my team, or seen us play. I can assure you that your suggestion is contradicted by our spirit scores, feedback from teams we've played, and even direct quotation (in this string) from a team member who experienced our worst sportsmanship display of the season. Nonetheless, I expect that your greater understanding of the game leads you to believe your own conjecture about my team, even without the benefit of direct experience. Fair enough, this is human nature.

Similarly, I believe that a team that has a 95%-concrete grasp of the rules will be inclined to feel that they are correct about the other 5% as well. In this forum, we have unlimited time to hash out the details and come to a resolution. On the field, it can be very difficult to impress upon a person who shows a broad understanding of the rules that in some select instances, they can still be wrong. Typically, you dispute for 30 seconds, agree to disagree, and do-over.

Your suggestion is that the simple solution is for me to "learn the rules". In practice, I see benefit in terms of reducing cumulative frustration from calls that I misunderstand, due to my incomplete understanding of the rules. However, there is still the "5%" that I will take on the chin, regardless of my own understanding of the rules. When this "5%" is seen to change the outcome of the game, this can be difficult to accept.

Ultimate is a young game with a unique refereeing structure. This has great advantages and also accompanying challenges: one of these is that it is difficult to use a _perfect_ understanding of the rules as a basis for good sportsmanship in a league where I would conservatively guess that at least half of the participants (most likely >90%) do not have a _perfect_ understanding of the rules, at least not to be able to quote them with perfect accuracy in the heat of the moment. I think you would find that Planet "Not the Rest Of Us" is a pretty populous place, if you took the time to quiz each member on their understanding of the rules.

cont'd...

...cont'd

It is my belief that the VUL and other leagues have met this challenge by implementing an understanding of each others' perfectly natural human limitations, codified in the "Spirit of the Game". Some of these are formalized, such as directly cautioning people against arguing a call indefinitely, and some are informal, such as each player's own decisions to allow plays to proceed in spite of a perceived foul. You may see this as unspirited, but many others would not agree, and when the base measurement of spirit (in my mind) is the cumulative enjoyment of the experience by all participants, I don't think you are being realistic in expecting us all to enjoy the experience in the same way, for the same reasons. The league is a sum of its members: to be blunt, if a large number of us (or small number, it really doesn't matter in my mind) are operating with different ideas of what "spirit" (a very subjective thing) entails, who are you to tell us that we're all doing it wrong?

What I have taken from this discussion is that, aside from an obvious need to bone up on the rules, I also need to learn to accept that some plays or even games may be lost due to errors that I might not have any control over.

I also think that it is perfectly acceptable to challenge others to continuously review their treatment/consideration of each other in this game, given that we have no zebras to tell us who is in the right. This burden of responsibility is, in my opinion, the essence of the SOTG, and it cannot be avoided by merely knowing (or thinking you know) all the rules of the game.

Thanks again for your input. Now, I need to return to the work I'm being paid to do. :)

Cheers.

Temple:

It becomes tiresome when you continually try to tell people what they are thinking or saying...
as though you have some ability to mind-read. I'm arguing for consistency, nothing more or
nothing less. Call 'em all, or let a few slide. Whatever.

"I'm arguing for consistency, nothing more or nothing less. Call 'em all, or let a few slide.
Whatever."

Mind reading? I'm directly using what you've said. I know what you're arguing, I disagree. Spirit
of the Game disagrees. The only consistency you have right to expect is to play within the rules.

It is certainly not spirited to expect the other team to "let a few slide", because they didn't "call
'em all".

"The idle conjecture I was referring to was your comment about my team possibly being too
pissy to call fouls against in the regular season."

Ah, I now understand the scope of what you were calling conjecture, and I see why you may
have seen it as such. However, you've taken the following quote as conjecture (a conclusion
formed on incomplete information). There was no conclusion formed in my mind of what
happened, it was but a possible reason why you might have noticed a difference in calls.

"Perhaps the other teams didn't want to make calls against you guys when it didn't 'count'
because your attitude towards valid calls showed such poor sportsmanship."

I am not saying that was the reason, but merely offering it as a reasonable explanation of
why the other teams 'all of a sudden started making calls'. I stand by the *possibility* that
your team showed poor sportsmanship in relation to calls based on what you have repeatedly
typed in this thread.

Rest assured I have not concluded anything about the game you played, I have only seen
what you have typed and am responding to that. Anyway, let's put that aside as it's irrelevant
to the important issue at hand.

Sorry Temple, but you are missing my point. And then you're arguing I'm saying something I'm
not, because you have a strong argument against what I didn't say.

Simon, you still are missing the main point of what I'm saying. I hope you follow along
because I think it's one of the most important aspects about the rules that you appear to
have missed.

"Similarly, I believe that a team that has a 95%-concrete grasp of the rules will be inclined
to feel that they are correct about the other 5% as well."

Undoubtedly. But I suggest a team with 45% grasp of the rules feels they are correct 100%
of the time as well. That doesn't matter, you can always feel you are correct, in fact you
should *always* feel you are correct when making or contesting a call!

"On the field, it can be very difficult to impress upon a person who shows a broad
understanding of the rules that in some select instances, they can still be wrong. Typically,
you dispute for 30 seconds, agree to disagree, and do-over."

This is *key*. When on the field, disputing for 30 seconds (disputing for 10 seconds) is poor
spirit and just plain wrong! You *never* try to 'impress upon a person that they are wrong'.
You can *very* briefly discuss the call "are you sure you saw my first touch OB? I think it was
IB", but you cannot ever try to tell somebody that they are wrong.

That's a fundamental principle of the rules. It's really important (I've said it several times in
this thread. ALL CALLS ARE VALID, EVEN THE BAD ONES! You do not have the right to argue
a 'bad call' on the field.

"However, there is still the "5%" that I will take on the chin, regardless of my own
understanding of the rules. When this "5%" is seen to change the outcome of the game, this
can be difficult to accept."

That is your chief misunderstanding of the rules and Spirit of the Game. That one ability to
'take it on the chin' when you know they are wrong is *essential* to the Spirit of Ultimate. If
that's the only rule you learn, you'll have better games, and have more fun!

Do you think the people that 'know the rules cold' ever get upset about the outcome of the
play? I guarantee you we don't (not suggesting I or anybody know the rules 100%). What we
do know is that differing opinions are perfectly valid *always* (even when we're sure they're
wrong). That's ultimate. Back To Thrower is the lifeblood of ultimate, absolute accuracy in
calls is not. Striving for absolute accuracy of calls will give you an ulcer and only cause
unnecessary friction.

I don't know if we've ever played, but I guarantee that you'll never really notice the people
who 'know the rules cold'. They are not the ones who ever argue the rules on the field. This
forum is a different story. This forum is where it's extremely important to reach an
agreement and disseminate correct info about the rules. On the field I'll maybe say "I saw his
first touch OB", if the other guys says, "I saw him IB", then that's the end of it, BTT, no hard
feelings. Try to play otherwise and you'll have trouble 'swallowing it'.

When you do understand the most important aspect of the rules, you appreciate that *all calls
are valid, even the bad ones* and you'll achieve a zen-like overview of the game, where BTT
is the *best and fairest* outcome, even when the guy was 'obviously wrong (or maybe calling
the game through tinted lenses)'.

"it is difficult to use a _perfect_ understanding of the rules as a basis for good sportsmanship
in a league where I would conservatively guess that at least half of the participants (most
likely >90%) do not have a _perfect_ understanding of the rules, at least not to be able to
quote them with perfect accuracy in the heat of the moment."

I'd say that *exactly 100%* of the population that doesn't have a _perfect_ understanding of
the rules. That's not necessary. If the only two rules you understand are 'differing calls are
valid' and 'never argue a call on the field', then you'll be fine. You'll be wrong from time to
time, but so what? IF the other team thinks you're wrong it'll BTT. Try to feel the zen-like
*gong* of enlightenment going off in your head every time the disc goes BTT. That is the
essence of ultimate.

"I think you would find that Planet "Not the Rest Of Us" is a pretty populous place, if you
took the time to quiz each member on their understanding of the rules."

If you'll note when I have said you're not playing the game the rest of us are, it's not
because of your lack of specific rules knowledge, it's whenever I've detected an expectation
that the other team 'maybe, sorta, kind of is unspirited in making a valid call'. I've seen that
come through repeatedly in your posts (please correct me if I'm wrong). That's counter to the
SOTG as the rules lay it out (the whole first couple sections of the rules are all about SOTG,
respect, etc. I suggest it's valuable to check it out). If you have a different view of what
SOTG is, then you're not playing the game the rest of us are.

"Some of these are formalized, such as directly cautioning people against arguing a call
indefinitely, and some are informal, such as each player's own decisions to allow plays to
proceed in spite of a perceived foul. You may see this as unspirited, but many others would
not agree, and when the base measurement of spirit (in my mind) is the cumulative
enjoyment of the experience by all participants, I don't think you are being realistic in
expecting us all to enjoy the experience in the same way, for the same reasons."

Here's the rub. It *is* realistic to expect people to have the same basic understanding of
what SOTG is. It's built into the founding document of our game (the rules). Anywhere you
find a definition of SOTG (CUPA, UPA, WFDF, etc) it will basically be the same. It is certainly
not merely "the cumulative enjoyment of the experience". That sort of thinking leads to
docking spirit because it wasn't fun to play the other team. That's not SOTG. SOTG is healthy
fair competition with respect for the other team a paramount. 'Making sure the other team
has fun' is not part of spirit, but that's a frequently held misconception. Enjoyment of the
experience is ensured not by being 'nice and not calling things, making sure a good time is
had', it's by *fair*, *respectful* play. That's why you'll see teams that win handily get poor
spirit marks, because it wasn't fun to play them. That's baloney.

"The league is a sum of its members: to be blunt, if a large number of us (or small number,
it really doesn't matter in my mind) are operating with different ideas of what "spirit" (a very
subjective thing) entails, who are you to tell us that we're all doing it wrong?"

I am not the one to tell you, the founding principle of our game is, the agreement that we all
make on how to play the game (the rules), the pledge you took when you registered for VUL
Summer league, the definition of SOTG by the founding and governing bodies of ultimate, are
all the ones to tell you. Take a look at what they say. It is different from what you think
Spirit is.

Now ask yourself, if it's ok for your team to hold another to a standard of conduct which is
different from the standard that we all agreed to abide by.

"Anywhere you find a definition of SOTG (CUPA, UPA, WFDF, etc) it will basically be the same. It is certainly not merely "the cumulative enjoyment of the experience". That sort of thinking leads to docking spirit because it wasn't fun to play the other team. That's not SOTG. SOTG is healthy fair competition with respect for the other team a paramount. 'Making sure the other team has fun' is not part of spirit, but that's a frequently held misconception."

The VUL has added regs and spirit policy to supplement the rules you quote so often. We all "agreed to them when we signed up". In the "spirit score" marking system on this website, there is specifically a positive mark for "the game was one of the most fun so far", and a negative mark for "Something about the game made it less than fully enjoyable, even though there were no major problems."

It appears to me that the VUL considers your opponents' fun as part of the spirit of the game. It seems clear that you see the spirit scoring system as skewed, and I assume you hold it as secondary to the "official rules"...please explain to me how this is any different from that which you accuse me of?

"Now ask yourself, if it's ok for your team to hold another to a standard of conduct which is different from the standard that we all agreed to abide by."

A worthy exercise for each of us.

I happen to agree with most when I think our *spirit scoring system* does not accurately
reflect Spirit of the Game. Though that's neither here, nor there.

Simon, I think it's a stretch to infer that the league's official stance includes your
interpretation of spirit from those quoted questions. Firstly I'd suggest that implied in those
"most fun" or "enjoyable" is the understanding that "fun" is in the context of what the league
call Spirit, not what you call spirit. You should not dock a point because your team lost, thus
making it not one of the most fun game's you've played. Well, maybe you could, but you
can't seriously argue that that reflects on the other team's SOTG.

You know what, forget what I'm saying, let's look at how the VUL *explicitly* defines SOTG:

--
VUL: http://www.vul.bc.ca/v3/home/spirit/

"Spirit is a combination of respect, integrity and dignity (see the regulations page for the
official definition from the rules). There's no dignity in choosing to break the rules when the
opportunity arises, or respect for others or yourself in arguing to gain advantage. Respect also
means understanding that, no matter how sure you are that the disc was caught out-of-
bounds, someone else's reality may be different, and to accept that disagreement without
anger or argument. At the cornerstone of all of this is an understanding that your oppponent
is not your enemy, that without that person or team you couldn't play the game. Playing with
spirit does not imply you don't play to win, only that you play to win fairly and honestly. The
great thing about spirit is that it can be contagious: the more people that embrace it, the
easier it is for others to catch. At the highest level of spirit, two teams can give their every
effort on the field of play and walk away smiling, regardless of the end result."
--

Wow, that sounds almost exactly like what I've been posting, doesn't it?

--
VUL: http://www.vul.bc.ca/v3/home/league/regs.cfm

"The Spirit of the Game

As stated in the Rules of Ultimate:

Ultimate relies upon a spirit of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the
player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect
among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules, or the basic joy of play. Protection
of these vital elements serves to eliminate unsportsmanlike conduct from the Ultimate field.
Such actions as taunting opposing players, dangerous aggression, belligerent intimidation,
intentional infractions or other 'win-at-all-costs' behavior are contrary to the spirit of the
game and must be avoided by all players.

This 'Spirit of the Game' is what Ultimate is all about: having fun, getting exercise, making
new friends, and helping other players learn the game. It is not about winning at all cost.
Dangerous and overly aggressive play is not only frowned upon but is in direct contradiction
with the spirit of ultimate."
--

That is the SOTG you pledged to uphold. It includes "adherence to the agreed upon rules" as
essential component of play equally important as "basic joy of the game". Adherence to the
rules *never* reflects poorly on SOTG. The reverse can be true.

Nowhere does it say you should 'let things slide to be nice', nowhere does it say you have to
'make sure the other team has fun'. What it does say is that playing fairly, by the rules, and
with respect is required, and that is what makes the game fun.

Different interpretations of fun are impossible to satisfy. We all agreed to play one sport by
one set of spirit and rule guidelines.

It seems yours is different.

Temple,

So allow me to sum up your argument:

In it's spirit scoring system, the VUL has chosen a policy of implementation of SOTG that you personally disagree with. I believe in parts of that implementation that you don't agree with, but since you and most of the "rest of us" don't agree with them, I should change my concept of the game so that we're all playing the same game, that we all agreed to play by the same set of guidelines as laid out by the VUL. Well, sort of.

Does that capture it?

Edit: I've edited this before any replies appeared, because it sounded too snarky. That
snarkiness actually was my exasperation showing through in text, and is not what I want to
convey.

--

Simon, you've seen the League's official stance on SOTG. There are some potential
inconsistencies with the spirit scoring system (which itself refers to the League's official
stance on SOTG).

It's perfectly understandable why you've developed a different version of SOTG. You've likely
gleaned that from oral history, the spirit scoring system, etc.

However, if you want to see what the League's (the UPA, CUPA, WFDF) official stance is, just
look at the links I presented. That is the SOTG you pledged to uphold. That is 'what the rest
of us are using' (or at least should be using).

I don't think that we're still in disagreement in what version of SOTG should be used in the
VUL any longer, are we? So let's all start using that.

In these giant posts, Temple, I think one of your best points needs to be re-emphasized for Simon:

"'Making sure the other team has fun' is not part of spirit, but that's a frequently held misconception. Enjoyment of the experience is ensured not by being 'nice and not calling things, making sure a good time is had', it's by *fair*, *respectful* play. "

Suggestion for 12th edition: Place this directly in the RULE BOOK in BOLD, in the SOTG section, in a textbox or something that makes it standout, such that people will actually read it. It sums up SOTG quite nicely for the newbs.

Temple & Simon could be cited as co-authors ;)

Regarding spirit scores and SOTG, it should be pointed out that they're not the same thing. The latter influences the former and they share part of their names, but otherwise the two are different beasts. The former does not define the latter.

Spirit scores are a tool the league has developed to identify teams that might not fit in with the community and might warrant some assistance or intervention to make things copacetic, as well as to identify teams that make the league a more enjoyable place to be. I personally find the name unfortunate, especially given the various definitions that exist for what "spirit" means, but it's a simple shortcut.

SOTG (again, I'm beginning to dislike the term thanks to the lack of agreement of what it means) is a principle, an on-field (and off-field) mentality that guides the sport. It, too, can be defined variously (aside from the official take in the UPA and WFDF rulesets), but I'm pretty sure that all of the definitions would come up to playing with integrity, respect and honesty. (and of course that includes playing according to the rules)

A key phrase for me from the SOTG definition is this one:

"Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules, or the basic joy of play. Protection of these vital elements serves to eliminate unsportsmanlike conduct from the Ultimate field."

That phrase highlights THREE 'vital elements': respect, rules and joy. For me, it's possible to focus a bit too much on the rules. Following the rules alone does not guarantee the other elements will be protected. It's possible to 'educate' another team about the rules in disrespectful manner. It's possible to use the rules in a way that reduces the joy of play for people on one or both teams. Doing what you can to help the other team 'have fun' IS part of the SOTG.

I agree more teams need to know the rules. Temple, I appreciate you reinforcing that 'back to the thrower without arguing' can lead to a zen-like quality to a game. Simon has some valid points, though. I think it's possible to play a respectful and joyful game without strict adherence to the written rules. Especially if the two teams involved agree to a number of 'unwritten rules', some of which may even contradict the official rules. The Captains Clause is a key part of ultimate, afterall.

The challenge does come when one team plays by a different set of unwritten rules than another, which appears to have been the case here. Is Simon's team partly responsible for what happened by not knowing the official rules as well as they could have? He seems to think so. Might the other team have contributed to the trouble by focusing on the rules at the expense of respect and joy of play? It's hard to say without having been there, but that may have been the case.

Aieesh. Just when I think Temple was making some progress. Craig, I think this partially justifies Simon's POV, which I have to argue is not a good POV to have in this league, and exactly what leads to these situations in the first place: where one team doesn't know the rules and gets P.O.'d that another team uses their knowledge of the rules to their advantage.

Respect, Joy, and Rules should NEVER be emphasized one over the other, and I disagree that anyone is focussing "too much on the rules". These three vital elements are basically one and the same SO LONG AS everyone is playing by the rules.

"Respect also means understanding that, no matter how sure you are that the disc was caught out-of-bounds, someone else's reality may be different, and to accept that disagreement without anger or argument. "

The last four words of this sentence, taken from the VUL guidelines, isn't always done in our league. I have observed an unfortunate number of incidents of this on an increasing basis recently, and it's often shrugged off with "some people get worked up, and that's just how they are - you can't expect them to just drop it" -- I think that's a cop-out.

I think the VUL and coordinator would be wise to focus on this point in particular in everything the league does to help keep the VUL as the incredibly awesome place that it is. Many of the players in the VUL are not ulti-first types, and the culture of other sports implicitly accepts such behaviour. If the VUL doesn't (and it shouldn't), this needs to be a point of focus.

Two pesos from me. Cheers on the great discussion, guys.

Mom:
"where one team doesn't know the rules and gets P.O.'d that another team uses their knowledge of the rules to their advantage."

How do you know the other team applied the rules fairly or respectfully? That's all I was trying to highlight. Simon referenced a number of 'arguments' over calls, for example.

"Respect, Joy, and Rules should NEVER be emphasized one over the other ... These three vital elements are basically one and the same SO LONG AS everyone is playing by the rules."

My point is that different teams (and different divisions) play by different sets of 'agreed upon' rules. There are the official rules, and each team also has their own approach to the game. To think otherwise is to deny reality. I think the most challenging games occur when two teams with different approaches encounter each other.

So maybe the question we're debating here, is to what degree should the league attempt to constrain the variety of different approaches to the game? How 'monotheistic' should our leagues or culture be? Is it OK for teams in div-x to have their own way of playing against each other, even if one team may have to adjust when they change divisions and encounter teams with a different approach?

Maybe I'm more of a realist than an idealist. I wonder if respect shouldn't be the overriding principle that guides our actions, as we will *always* encounter other individuals and teams that approach the game differently from us. Without that, I think everything falls apart. Respect is the principle behind the 'back to the thrower' rule, after all - you treat your opponent's call and viewpoint with respect. Why is it we can agree to play by that rule, but we can't extend that principle to the idea that another team's approach to the game of ultimate is just as valid as well? Sure, it may cause some conflict, but so will line-calls made from the middle of the field.

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