August 10, 2012 by Charlie Eisenhood in News with 2 comments
Today, Team Canada wrote a long post about Spirit of the Game and their rough game against Japan at Worlds. We quote here at length, but you should read the whole thing on their site:
[quote]Sometimes, you can’t even explain what you just did, because there is no good explanation. When the moment passes, you can only apologize to the person you’ve wronged. It is worth saying again: we are sorry, Team Japan.
After reflecting on our game against Japan at length, we determined there was something we needed to change about ourselves as a team and as individuals. This is what we decided.[/quote]
[quote]The Spirit of the Game in ultimate is often quickly and casually distilled as being alike to simple “sportsmanship.” We would like to imagine that would mean that good Spirit is as simple as avoidance of cheating and a respectful decorum. In practice, in a game that is entirely self-officiated, it encompasses far more, because we are put in the chronic position of having to judge each other…[/quote]
[quote]One of the most demanding requirements of Spirit of the Game is the governance of your own perceptions of the game. In three words, it is the “benefit of doubt.” This idiom most succinctly captures the most important
skill we must exercise when judging play and conflicts on the field. Conflicts are inevitable. Disagreements and misunderstanding are inevitable; even bad calls are inevitable. We must accept that inevitability and
embrace it. We must put aside appearances and our righteous anger, and accept that accidents, disagreements, conflicts of perspective, and even egregious infractions will exist. And even when we are certain we have been wronged — even then — we have to try to tell ourselves that good people sometimes make terrible mistakes, and move on. It is the only way to diffuse an escalating confrontation. We owe each other that seed of doubt, that mutual respect and trust.
Our mistake in our game against Japan is that at some point, we allowed ourselves to believe that our opponents were trying to do us wrong. When the temptation presented itself, we indulged it. We revoked the benefit of the doubt. In the face of conflict, we escalated. Our players became visibly agitated, emotional and reactionary. Both teams escalated in their own way, but in the end, we made some terrible decisions. It was not the game we wanted to play. Sometimes this happens, but it is an extra shame that it had to happen on this stage.
For offences we committed, we apologized to Team Japan in our spirit huddle. We recognize our fault. And since that game, the leaders of TC-Open and TJ-Open have stayed in communication to make amends, to discuss our frustrations, to help decide what we expect and accept from each other; in short, to find ways to avoid such situations between us again. It is a process. We have to do this because maintaining Spirit of the Game requires the taking of responsibility for your actions; it also means burying the hatchet, putting the past behind us, and trying to be better in every possible way.
Footage of the game in question is accessible free of charge, which is suitable, because it is not much fun to watch. It is not a good game. We see ineffective communication, knee-jerk reactions, players becoming visibly agitated, and in a few particularly distasteful moments, Team Canada commits a string of irrational fouls. Please watch it and try to learn from our mistakes. If you do, you will be able to judge various calls and infractions for yourself. In doing so, all I ask is that you remember what Team Canada forgot — the benefit of the doubt.[/quote]