Teams that use spirit scores to spite other teams

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I need to rant here!

Why are teams using the spirit ranking score to spite other teams if they lose? Recently we played against a team that gave us no positives even though we deserved a few such as playing a spirit game and cheering and a few others.

Calling a few fouls IS NOT to something that ruins the play of the game. It is to try and help contain the situation. Just because your own players make the situation worse than it is doesn't justify your team to give the other team a minus. Talk to your own team and let the other captain deal with his or her own team.

If your own players are causing the dangerous plays, again why would the opposing team deserve a minus? I recall 2 separate incidents where my teammates and I were physically hit while catching the disc.

This spirit score ranking needs to be retooled as there are teams that clearly do not understand how to use the spirit score other than to use it to spite the other team just because the game did not end in their own teams favor. It is unspirited in my opinion to give other teams low spirit scores just because your team lost a close game.

I am losing faith in this spirit ranking system we have in place and I use to try and be a strong advocate to my team about being spirited and show good spirit to the other team

Forums are not the proper place to rant!

All joking aside, I've seen this trend increasing in previous years, so much so that I had to stop captaining for the first time in 7 years. A lot of newer, younger teams don't seem to "get it", I don't know if the concept of spirit is/was lost on them, or if they just put winning so far ahead as a priority that they stop having fun. In addition to being young, inexperienced, and hyper-competitive, I've found a lot (not ALL) of younger teams to lack a lot of knowledge of the "actual" rules. This scenario often happens, Team Youth makes inappropriate call (misinterpretation/understanding) of the rules, Team Old Fogey tries to correct call, Team Youth turns into defensive mode and argues, discussion breaks down. Team Youth is now spiteful and angry. Why? Don't know.

It seems that the second you make any sort of call (foul, line call, travel, pick, etc.), you're "cheating". Just try and show me a full 1.5 hour game of ultimate without any infractions. They happen, you call them, it's not in bad spirit, it's part of any game, except we're the referees. Worst case scenario, it's a do-over! How is that the end of the world? Some teams think so. Over the past few years I've played over 3 nights spanning 6 divisions, this sort of "sportsmanship", or lack thereof, exists EVERYWHERE.

"Sunny", I'm almost 100% certain the team you played was a young team, argued a lot, was probably the more aggressive/dangerous team on the field, and mainly just hucked to their guys while continually looking off their females in order to win. Yes/no? I'm sure they weren't a lot of fun to play against, even though the game was highly competitive with no major issues, but as things became more and more contested, winning was put at a higher priority than fair, spirited play.

I'd go out on a small limb and say both teams were at fault, and the captains should have discussed what the problems were on the sidelines before things got out of hand. But seeing as how you're ranting on the forums, I'd guess you didn't see any issues yourself during the game, and would have no real reason to think they would give you such a low score. In that case, I would think the other captain would have emailed you to discuss the issues they had with the game before slapping you with an (unfairly) low spirit score. The second they fail to give you points (or take away points) for things that 100% did happen (spirit game/cheer, etc.), it just looks spiteful and bitter. That doesn't help anyone.

I'd also suggest discussing this with the League Coord, to me its something that doesn't really belong in the game, I think the spirit score portion of the spirit is to educate and inform, not to trash another team to make yourselves feel better.

Rob By Rob

Please don't try to make being a jerk a "youth" thing. Jerks come in all shapes, sizes and ages - and the most dangerous are the older ones, having taken years to master the art of being miserable and/or petty on the field (and on forums, for that matter ;).

A suggestion - a waiting period for entering spirit scores lower than, say, 8. You have to wait 24 hrs to cool down before you can submit low scores. Or maybe when you click to enter them, Clippy the Microsoft mascot could pop up and say "It looks like you're entering a low spirit score. Are you sure you want to do that?" and he could raise his eyebrows like he's shocked by your behaviour. No one wants to upset Clippy. Problem. Solved.

I certainly hope the teams that draws such ire don't include teams I'm a regular for...

Young, check
inexperienced, check
competitive, check
aggressive, check
dangerous, I certainly hope not
lots of hucking, check
girls looked off, plenty

And yes, I've accidentally run a few people (and been run) over in my short-ish playing career. But I figure that laughing at myself, my teammates, heckling everybody when inappropriate with a grin, and allowing for a dialogue regarding fouls and other calls is the optimal way to not bruise any relationships - even if the argument becomes inconclusive and we have to redo the play.

In the highschool leagues/tournaments I've noticed that because a team doesn't have to reason it out why they give "x" as a spirit score they arbitrarily pick numbers - yet they tend give lower scores if the other team is just plain playing hard... and even lower if they win after that. Perhaps have a comment section as to why certain scores are given, which is then forwarded to the other captain... is a solution? Then it provides (mandates?) the opportunity for a discussion. Though I guess leaving said comment section blank is akin to not firing off an email to chat about it in the first place...

I do like clippy though

Bump on the comments about discussing with the other captain and the
league coordinator... that's really the only way for all parties to
understand whether they answered the questions correctly (and then the
other captain can understand the situation and what to correct on their
end) or whether they answered the questions incorrectly (and then THAT
captain can understand the situation and question and what to correct on
their end).

... it's unfortunate that a sport that is, compared to MOST/ALL other
sports, almost entirely focused and dependent on players discussing with
each other and amicably working out the situation on the field, often
doesn't carry to discussing and working it out off the field.

After playing in the VUL for ten years, I've learned that you will sometimes get screwed over with the spirit system. No amount of tweaking will ever eliminate that reality. It almost doesn't matter why another teams screws you over (inexperience, immaturity, ignorance, misunderstanding etc)... eventually you will get an unjustifiably low spirit score which kills your chances of winning a pony keg from R&B.

It's part of life in the VUL. Take the high road and do what you feel is right. No matter what happens to your own spirit rank, you have to live with what you give to other teams. I swear I agonize more over what I give the other team than what they give me.

My advice is to do the right thing. Email the other captain in a respectful way and go from there. Don't worry about the spite... it can lead to no good even if you're in the right.

If 90% of the teams you play give you a good spirit rank, it's simply not worth worrying about what the other 10% give you.

m2c By m2c

Agree that Jerks come in all shapes, sizes and ages. However, it seems (to me at least) that in the VUL right now there is a divide among the "Old Vets" and the "Young Guns" that might be causing some issues.

As part of team "Old Vet", I have been having a great time playing the "Young Guns" week after week on Monday, and here are 2 things that have happened that to our team in the last 2 weeks that might help.

Game 1: Played a young team many of whom played July 1st at Elimination 8s (where I think they mentioned that we were a team of 50 year olds! But they said it in a good way). Because we knew them we were talking, heckling, chatting during and between points. Giving them props when they did something great that only young legs could manage, riding them a bit when they did something bad only young brains would do. As a result, we had a fun time, and even when the game got to 11-11, cap at 13, which is a tense situation, it was still fun. They won, but it was one of the better games I have had all year. What I'm saying here is if the only time you talk to the other team is when you call a foul, then the chances of an agument, leading to spite leading to a low Spirit Score (justified or not) is much higher.

Game 2: Another week, another young team. After a turnover I made a deep cut and as I turned to chase it down ran into an opposing player who was blocking my path. Called a foul, but she said she was there first and stationary (I had assumed she was running or moving into me) so I was going to let it go, but then asked her why she was where she was. She saw the play develop, saw where I wanted to go and then set a "Basketball type Pick" to stop me from getting to the disc, she was there first, but she was not playing the disc, she just wanted to block my path. So we chat about this a bit and she honestly thought she could do that. But rather than argue, yell or get mad we just talked about the situation and she then did not contest the foul. I expect she won't do that again in the future and there were no hard feelings. The point here is sometimes a foul isn't an intentional attempt to cheat, sometimes it just happens, or is a mis-understanding of the rules. The original intent of the Foul process is Foul - Discussion - Contest/Don't Contest. The Discussion part is often either ignored or just an excuse to yell at each other. Calm down and get the other persons point of view, maybe it will become obvious who was wrong and who was right and maybe everyone will then be happy about the outcome.

Lastly, as Javaman said, just do your best and let the Spirit Scores fall where they may. Mostly you will get the scores you deserve.


That's a great lesson in the union of young and old Brian! Our (old) team has also been having differences of opinions with the young teams in the last couple of weeks. And what I've come to realize is that the young teams, coming directly from high school sports (not 20 or 30 years after-the-fact), are playing a much more physical game of Ultimate than us old-timers (who are not elite touring players) are used to. I'm sure when the young teams play each other there are very few foul calls. But we are not used to (and don't appreciate) the physicality that the young ones just take for granted. Sports have changed - everything is more phyical, basketball, soccer are the same way.That said, Ultimate is supposed to be a non-contact sport, and most of the fouls are justified (although the manner in which they are called and contested needs some work - see Brian's post above!)

I think when young and old come together to play, that each needs to take into account the needs of the others and try to find a common ground. Maybe the young need to back off a bit and try to play more 'clean D'. And maybe the old need to ease up and not get so bent if contact is indeed incidental. And talking about it before the game is a good start!!

One note: 'I got the disc first' does NOT justify a foul.

Honestly I'm finding it better to just not call fouls altogether. Over the past couple weeks, I've played in some pretty intense and fun games. However, the fun ended the second any sort of call was made. I guess some teams just expect no calls to be made, ever, and if anything is called, it's only because you're trying to cheat.

Some of the arguments/responses I've heard have included:

"You can't just call things, man."
"Just contest it so we can get the disc back."
"It's his call, he caught the disc."


That's one thing that needs to get gently beat into all new players who play frisbee.

Calling a foul, travel, pick, whatever is not a personal attack. It is not a public annoucement that you're cheating. It just is. It's a thing that happened. That's it. So many players get so upset when you call something on them now as though you're questioning their integrity or shaming them.

The think that irks me like no other is the non-call but letting you know should have been called call. 'You know you were traveling there'...'you know that was a pick back there', etc... Then call it! You're not going to hurt my feelings.

Also, spirit scores are ridiculous, I stopped even looking at them years ago.

It seems to be a league wide epidemic, and it's a trend that the league should try to do something about. Educate new teams coming into the VUL (whether they be young or old players) about spirit of the game, fair play, respecting your opponent, etc.

Played what would (should) have been a fantastic game tonight. One of the best games of the year, it could have been. Unfortunately a few things happened.

A player on our team called one of their players out of bounds. Major no-no, a massive argument ensued. The sad part was, the out of bounds player simply wanted to contest the call, but felt it necessary, with help from his teammates, to argue why they felt he was in. After a couple minutes, he finally spouted out the word "contest". Amazing concept. There were several other calls that followed this same pattern, make a call, they'd argue it instead of simply contesting, rinse and repeat.

It very much felt like this was a team that was there to win, didn't know the rules, couldn't care less if they called anything themselves, but were extremely offended/argumentative/angry if you called anything on them. The only thing that mattered at the end of the game was the score. Brutal.

I'm glad you guys eventually managed to resolve the dispute, Truthbot. But, in/out calls aren't infractions, so they're not supposed to be "contestable" either. If that was their shorthand code word for, "I disagree, I don't think you had best perspective or even 'good' perspective," then it's progress, I guess.

A couple of "official" comments.

1) Please don't whack someone with a terrible spirit score out of the blue. If you have a problem with the way a game is going, talk to the other captain, at the field, as soon as possible. Submitting a terrible spirit score isn't helpful or satisfying.

2) There's nothing unspirited about being wrong and there's nothing particularly spirited about being right. It is very spirited to provide, request or accept any kind of clarification as long as it done with respect. Hammering someone over the head with your best perspective or your copy of the rules won't win you many friends, even if you're right.

3) Conflict is almost always solved with communication. If you have a problem with someone, go talk about it. If you're too upset, get your captain to talk about it. If the captains can't resolve it, talk to me. I'm used to conflict, I have pre-schoolers.

atanarjuat: "But, in/out calls aren't infractions, so they're not supposed to be "contestable" either."

I'm not so sure about that. XVI>D says: "If a dispute arises concerning an infraction or the outcome of a play (e.g., a catch where no one had a good perspective), and the teams cannot come to a satisfactory resolution, play stops, and the disc is returned to the thrower and put into play with a check (VIII.D), with the count reached plus one or at six if over five."

Disputed outcomes of any plays are handled pretty much identically to disputed infractions. How many times have you heard on the field that "you can't contest a _____"? You can! You can even use the word "contest" because that has a clear and well understood resolution system which is identical whether a disputed play or infraction.

If you disagree about an In/Out call, say "contest." It's very clear to everybody what you mean, and is right in line with the rules.

I disagree, albeit in a purely in a semantic sense.

The rules permit stall calls and infraction calls to be "contested" (the rules are explicit thereon).

While there's no question that a dispute can arise over best perspective, I don't like the idea of people getting in the habit of saying "contest, back-to-thrower!" on line calls. The mechanism for resolving line calls is (ideally) supposed to be different -- the call is supposed to belong to the player with best perspective. If that's in question, then fine, activate XVI.D.