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I’ve been playing Ultimate for a very long time.  So long, in fact, that I’ve even been saying that I’ve been playing for a very long time, for a very long time.

Ultimate, as you know, is the team-based frisbee sport that’s growing rapidly in popularity for a variety of reasons: It’s non-contact, it’s mixed gender, it’s easy for beginners, it doesn’t need expensive equipment….

But what I think is one of the central reasons that the sport is growing so much is because of something called Spirit of the Game.  Spirit of the Game is, literally, the first rule of Ultimate, and I’ve blogged about it before.

I love Spirit of the Game. I think it’s a concept that can be applied beyond Ultimate, to other sports, to other competitions, in fact almost universally. I think it overlaps with other ideals such as sportsmanship and integrity and cooperation, but it identifies a different and important ideal that, if widely practiced, can shape overall human behavior in a unique and positive way.

I’ve loved Spirit of the Game since I first started playing as a teenager, and I have been lucky to have found many teams through the years that have exemplified Spirit, and which have given me so much education and assistance in understanding all about it. So, I thought I knew Spirit of the Game pretty well.

Several years ago, in 2014, I attended a conference called Fireworks Factory (sidenote: its URL, http://www.boomboomboom.ca/, is now an LED flashlight store), and at that conference I did a short impromptu talk about Spirit of the Game to a room full of lovely people who didn’t know much about it. This, I thought, was a chance to talk easily about something I felt passionately about and to share Spirit beyond the edge of the field. I was pretty excited.

Ironically for the conference’s name, I also bombed pretty bad. I stammered and jumped around and had to answer a lot of questions, and I realized that, though my understanding of the concept of Spirit of the Game had grown strong through exposure and experience, it is actually really hard to describe.

So I set out to learn more about it.  I started to get more involved with the organizations that make Ultimate happen. I had been a volunteer with the Vancouver Ultimate League, but I decided to run for the board, and I got elected, eventually becoming the president. (Sadly, I had to step down when I moved to Calgary.)

I stepped into a role with Ultimate Canada, and joined their committee about Spirit.  I stepped up to the position of National Spirit Director, and this summer I was the first-ever tournament Spirit Director for Ultimate Canada’s national championships, where I was able to co-ordinate discussion and co-operation of the Spirit Captains from each of the teams that attended.

And I was appointed to the World Flying Disc Federation’s sub-committee on Spirit of the Game.  WFDF is the international organization that puts on international frisbee competitions for youth and adults, regionally and for world championships.  They set the rules of all the flying disc sports, like ultimate, disc golf, guts, double disc court, freestyle and discathalon (they don’t cover discus and hockey… so far smile

Then last fall, the chair of the WFDF Spirit of the Game committee announced he was stepping down, and I put my hat in the ring or my name in the hat or whathave you, and yesterday—I think they call this burying the lede—I was elected to be the new chair of the WFDF Spirit of the Game committee.

I’m thrilled, absolutely thrilled about this. There are some of the best, smartest, most passionate ultimate organizers in the world on this committee. They’re from all over the world, sharing their time and effort to help both adapt the sport and keep it unified. They’ve got so much experience and knowledge, and so many good ideas about how to grow the sport keeping Spirit of the Game an integral part of it. 

They’ve already taught me so much, and working together I just know they can teach me so much more.

So, next time someone asks me to do a presentation on Spirit of the Game, I will have a fantastic list of people to call for help.



 
 

 

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Overheard

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?

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