This is a rant. Fair warning.
I almost chose not to play this year, because the attitudes of many in this league make the game not fun to play. I have many friends who have quit playing for the same reason. But loving Ultimate, and wanting to stay in shape, I signed up to a low-div team and had our first games last night.
My team is awesome, a great group of people. Our skill level is, surprisingly, higher than expected and we dominated both games. When pulling together a team with a bunch of "never met before" players, this can happen.
After our second game the captain of the opposing team came to our captain and complained that I, personally, was cheering too much. She's giving us a low spirit score, because I had too much spirit. Every comment I made was 100% positive, I cheered on good plays for both teams, I gave away a point on a play that should have been stopped (opposite field's disk came into play, my check left as I yelled for a stoppage and stopped to pick it up). In short, I was a happy, positive, gracious, fun-having guy.
This is just one example of people misunderstanding what "spirit" is, and the rules of the game. A common one is getting told "you can't make calls from the sideline". Sure, you can't affect play or make any official calls, but you should be communicating with your team, letting them know what's going on. Telling a teammate from the sideline "Watch your check's feet, he's traveling" isn't against the rules, or etiquette. Perhaps the issue stems from many people in the VUL having never played competitive sports before. And while ultimate is unique in many ways, we are still playing in a "competitive" league. This means strategy, communication, effort, and trying to (strategically, through your play) exploit your opponents weaknesses. As long as you are doing this fairly, respectfully, and positively, it's okay. I've seen teams complain when a man checks a woman, for it being unfair. If a woman on your team is the best person to mark a male on the other end of the field, then it's the correct choice to make that decision. It doesn't make you a bad, poor-spirit, team to do this. The same goes for choosing to put your fastest male player on an opposing woman whom runs circles around everyone else on your team.
Finally, my final note is my dislike for the "carbon flip". I love the idea, and the spirit in which it was created. But in reality all it does is punish teams for having players living outside of central vancouver. There is no way for a player from burnaby to leave work and make it to a 6pm game on a bicycle. While I love teams being awarded for trying to be a positive force, this is only rewarding those who can afford to live in town.
That's the end of my rant. I love this game, I'm constantly trying to get more people to start playing, but it sucks when people are jerks.