Sunday, August 21, 2005

Ultimate Injuries Actually Help the Sport?

Tell me im crazy, i can handle it. Conventional wisdom - injuries remove players from viable rosters, deplete the ranks of current players, hurt the performance of amazing athletes, and perhaps dissuade people from playing. So how would injuries help the spread of Ultimate? Its simple really...

What legitimizes a sport more than a solid broken bone? You go to the doctor to get your x-rays and MRIs and he asks you, what did you do? You now have the chance to explain to him not only how you laid out for a disc and consequently broke your wrist, but also the entire rules of the game of ultimate. You increase the name recognition of the sport itself by merely answering his question the first time as "i was playing ultimate".

What is his question? If hes not already in the know, "what is ultimate?" He's taken the bait. He's yours now, run with him. Explain to him there are more than 400 college teams, and more than 500 high school teams around the country. As well as tons of club teams etc.

Even if hes not that interested, after he sees his first few sprained ankles and broken arms from Ultimate players, he has to take some sort of notice to the sport as a whole. He then may discuss it with another doctor to compare treatment options etc. Now two people have learned about the sport from one injury. Also the nurses who seat you in the room, etc usually ask what happened as well. They may go back and talk to the other nurses about the injury, and of course what always comes up with injury? How did it happen.

Ok, so now you have a decent number of medical professionals who at least recognize the name Ultimate now. Thats not really doing that much for the spread of ultimate. But it doesnt exactly hurt it now doesnt it.

So now you have your xrays and lets say for the sake of argument a cast on your arm. Now anyone you are remotely friendly with asks you what? "What happened?"

Depending on how many people you know, or how many people feel bold enough to come up and ask you this also can up the name recognition of the sport. If its a particularly bad break, or something out of the ordinary or just something worth talking about in general then you may get a few more degrees of publicity for it. The guy who randomly just walked up to you and asked what happened, could possibly go back to a friend of his and tell him about this crazy injury a guy got from playing ultimate.

Relatively simple to see how it spreads right? Sure.

This is not to say i encourage people getting hurt. By all means, stay healthy and play ultimate. This line of reasoning though was just something i was thinking about recently, as someone who had to go through all the damn pain in the ass of xrays and MRIs and mds and orthopedic docs for them to tell me i bruised a bone in my wrist and tore my TFCC tendon/ligament cluster. Sounds cool doesnt it? Meh, i can still play just gotta wear a brace.

But having the brace on i cant tell you how many times people have come up to me at parties or just standing in line somewhere and asked, "What happened?"

and then a fun and enlightening conversation ensues.

well im enjoying it at least.

play ultimate.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

More Ultimate Media?

So of course im browsing the web looking for more ultimate media, right? right. we've got discussion and general flaming at rsd, there are kick ass vids at UltiVillage, the back issues of Chasing Plastic to browse, and the scattered content of a couple hundred individual team websites. These along with a [sparse] peppering of ultimate centered blogs make up the entirety of what can be learned remotely about the ultimate culture in general or specific. What am i getting at? what are the sites im missing, the ones that are updated relatively often, that provide quality content, whether it be tournament rundowns, game footage, highlight reels etc.

So this is a bit of an outreach post, do you know of any sites that im missing? Any blogs, etc. Or perhaps not a site that provides its own original content but rather one that collects others of the net, either or any would be fine. Im just looking for some new sources for material.

a post will follow this dealing with the ECC tourney. definitely looking for some reader input there, because i dont know nearly enough about the teams and people involved. and perhaps another post on how injuries actually help the spread of ultimate? revolutionary thought? perhaps, but hear me out.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Daily Rundown

I figure i need an ever so often recurring feature for the blog. And what better than to survey the action at RSD, and other major forums and centers of ultimate debate - wade through all the crap that is slung around, and get to the issues actually being discussed.

So the first of a hopefully relatively daily segment, [drumroll] the Daily Rundown [gonnng]

Continued below the fold....

The top 5 issues in the ultimate world this fine wednesday afternoon?

#1./ ESPN Ombudsmen has released an update on his audit of the ESPN programming and quality of production yada yada etc. And lo and behold Ultimate is mentioned...

E-mail gripes

. Some cynics wonder if ESPN has given short shrift to the National Hockey
League since it currently has no working relationship with the league. "That
doesn't factor into how we cover the news," Williamson said. "We've been
very aggressive in our coverage since the new agreement -- and in covering
the news leading up to its signing." Still, the perception exists among some
viewers that if ESPN does not have broadcast rights to a league, that league
won't get its due. At least, ESPN knows this perception exists and
understands its responsibility.

. Poker fans don't like to see results of taped competition on crawls prior
to the showing of the event.

. Soccer fans are still cranky over lack of Gold Cup coverage.

. The Ultimate Frisbee lobby is cranky over everything.

. The lacrosse lobby is cranky over the Ultimate Frisbee lobby.

. And Ohio State football fans know how to e-mail.
and thus the debate looms large on RSD, is this good or bad for the ultimate community. ultimate as a sport etc. im of the persuasion that any publicity is good publicity and i believe his use of "cranky" is merely in jest, and perhaps alludes to the fact that he may have mentioned something on the subject to the people who control ESPN. the point is, we have a foot in the door. and it is a testament to the swaying power of RSD and other groups to mass contact for results.

#2./ people are still slowly speaking up as to which masters teams will be competing this fall, thus far the list includes, HOSS, OLD SAG, Boneyard, Old and in the Way, among others.

#3./ a bit of a debate is warming up about the future of high school ultimate stars, where they will be playing etc. follow it at RSD

#4./ there is discussion on the nature of the double team, if two offenders are within three meters, and thus two defenders also, and both defenders face the same offender at the same time, is that a double team? weigh in here.

#5./ decide for yourself, opine - go out and light the world on fire.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Clip of the day from UltiVillage

UltiVillage - TFPoo vs Joyride

gotta love what ultivillage is doing for ultimate media. every day more stuff, an ever expanding reference and asset for the ultimate community.

this clip - thats a pretty sweet pass. reminiscent of pistol pete for basketball, any fans?

New Features/Changes on the Site

You may have noticed a bunch of new things on the site, or you may not have, either way, i figured id give you the run down of what has been improved etc.

Details below the fold...

List of whats been goin down...

  • new box on the right hand side lets you know how many people are currently on the site, and how long the average person stays to read
  • new links on the right allow you to subscribe to the site using whatever RSS aggregator you seem to fancy, we are currently supporting Yahoo, NewsGator, and BlogLines, if you use something different, just leave a comment about it and we'll add your program as well
  • new feature at the bottom of every post allows you to rate the post you just read, was it helpful? did it make you think? personally i might not care, but i think its a pretty snazzy feature. drawback - you have to have a newsgator account to rate them, but ah well, give and take right?
  • added a link to go back to the top of the page, because scrolling was getting annoying
  • if you are reading these features you have figured out that i added a "keep reading" link to the page as to not clutter up the main page with long winded sentences and descriptions - as i am very prone to do.

  • idk what else ive done recently, but ive added a bunch of stuff, so enjoy and hopefully ill have something ultimate related to talk about soon. feel free to comment on my last post, i deemed it an 7 out of 10 on the insightful scale

    Thursday, August 04, 2005

    The Future of College Ultimate Recruitment

    The near future of college ultimate recruiting is in private schools.

    Think about it. Most schools as of right now just dont have the money to put towards athletic scholarships for ultimate athletes. Not only that, but the vast majority of the schools barely recognize it as a sport. However, for many many players at the college level, their university teams are life.

    Recruitment is becoming more and more common as the high school leagues around the nation increase in size. There are more than 390 high school teams that reported scores to the UPA last year alone. Figure an average of 20 kids per team, (that is a low ball number, as my experience shows that many teams have more than 25 on their roster), thats 7,800 prospective athletes for the College Ultimate forum.

    Up until recently almost all college teams had to introduce and recruit new athletes who were disgruntled with their sports, and teach them from the ground up the basics of the sport, the competition the rules, the throws etc. There is now approaching, a time when that will no longer be the case - with major high school ultimate camps popping up all around the country (Philadelphia, Massachussettes, etc) and for that matter becoming much more popular as of late, intertwined with the ever exponentially increasing numbers of high school teams and size of high school programs.

    As of right now there are 430 college teams that report scores to the UPA (I'm using that as my standard of an active team, i.e. one who plays games), within the next five years, certainly within the next 10, high school ultimate programs will out number college programs.

    What does this mean though?

    If you love ultimate, or even remotely enjoy watching the sport expand, this means amazing things for the future of the sport. College teams, now have a larger base to draw from, they arent going to have to explain what ultimate is on the first day of practice, but instead perhaps start explaining their specific offensive and defensive strategy.

    Simply put, there will be a large enough base that colleges will be able to actively recruit.

    But where will they recruit? Good question.

    As stated before the schools dont have the money for scholarships set aside, and i dont see that happening until they realize that a strong ultimate program is a deciding factor for some students, and yet one more way to put their school's name on the map. So until that time, recruitment is based almost purely on will to play.

    That is, you cant offer dollar incentives, but rather an appealing environment for them to play in. A team that is on the rise, or rebuilding or on their way to a national championship.

    But again, money is the issue. No matter how much a high school star wants to play at a major institution like Brown, if they dont have the grades or the money, its just not possible.

    So where should colleges look to recruit students? It was my first sentence. The private schools. The up and coming high school teams, that are starting to make an impact on the high school scene. The players who play for these schools additionally, (albeit a probably unfair standard) will have the ins with the college administrations. Sad though it is, ___ Private School, or the like are taken more seriously, or rather have more sway with college admissions. And in addition, if in fact the private school is worthy of the academic name it has, the student atheletes from said school are more likely to have the grades to get into whatever school you are attempting to recruit for.

    Who am i talking about?

    Northfield Mount Hermon, one of the few teams that can come close to sticking with Amherst.

    The Northwest School, you may remember them from such acts as - winning the UPA Juniors Westerns championships. a no brainer contact for college recruitment.

    The University School of Nashville - did fairly well at easterns, taking fifth. Which mind you is nothing to sneeze at. Anyone who qualifies for easterns definitely has something worth looking at.

    St. Joe's Prep - in Philadelphia a more recent addition to the high school ultimate forum, however one hell of an up and coming team. College recruiters, remember these names - Joe Kruse, Greg Owens, Matt Paparone, Jim Ionata, Tom McCabe - all rising juniors. Look for SJP to be PA State champions for the next two years at least.

    By no means am i insinuating that all high school talent comes from private schools. (on the contrary, look at the undeniable top 3 teams in the country - Amherst, Columbia, Paideia - all public) Im merely pointing out that for the time being, those looking to recruit at the college level might be best served to survey the private schools for ease of admission to their top prospects.

    Only time will tell though, i personally am very excited though for the prospective future college players, and the recruitment possibilities they embody.

    reason #356 why elite ultimate players are awesome

    from UltiVillage's clip of the day - (click here to watch)

    thats right folks, what you thought only Hansel could do on the runway one of the best ultimate players in the world does right in front of the camera. Excuse me while i think its awesome that the highest tier players in the world have the good humor and lack of ego to do little stunts like this for the fans/camera.

    when's the last time you saw Tom Brady or Allen Iverson or any other big name athlete who gets payed obscene amounts of money, whens the last time you ever saw them take off their compression shorts in front of a camera without removing their outer layers?? i lay solid money on never.

    i rest my case.

    Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    Elite Club Ulty

    The club championship series is quickly approaching, and with it i am plagued with a few questions. Namely where are the teams in these major cities with incredibly thriving ultimate communities, summer leagues, etc, where are the elite teams from these communities?

    You have Sockeye from Seattle, Condors from Santa Barbara, DoG from Boston, Furious from Vancouver, Ring of Fire from the North Carolina community, San Francisco's Jam, Sub Zero from the Twin Cities, Rhino from Portland, OR. And quite a few others that im neglecting to mention. But my point is not to demonstrate what is already formed and playing but what is lacking - most notably in the Mid-Atlantic region.

    Philadelphia Ultimate - summer league with thousands of players, thriving ultimate community. Hasnt had a real bid at national open championships since Rage lost all its players to OLD SAG. Is this group of 20 or so guys really all the talent philly has to offer? i would hope not.

    Pittsburgh Ultimate - another thriving community that as of late has not had a viable chance at a UPA title. From the rumors i hear because of infighting and team drama Pittsburgh's talent has been somewhat allienated and seperated into various club teams.

    What good has come out of all this?

    Apparently and simply, Pike.

    A team which draws from a relatively wide geographic area around the Philadelphia and Jersey area, and from what i can gather even further west has been making a name for itself these past few years at nationals.

    call me old fashioned though, but personally i enjoy a city vs. city rivalry. In the vein of Steelers vs. Eagles, Anyone vs. Cowboys, Lakers v. Celtics kinda deal.

    picture for title table

    for the time being this will be the image for the header bar. taken by cedar mckay at potlatch 2005, it features a flick from what looks to be Jeff Eastham of Team USA, but i could be wrong. please someone correct me if i am wrong.

    Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    Purpose Stated

    Its the beginning of August, the UPA magazine has been delivered and read thoroughly more than 20 times. RSD has been checked at least 10 times in the last hour, and still nothing of (excuse the pun) ultimate consequence. I want more information about the teams, the big names, the big plays the amazing catches the sweet throws, i want a Sport Illustrated devoted to ultimate and ultimate alone - with a special focus on the high school ultimate scene: the development and grassroots aspects of ultimate.

    The closest thing i can find to satiate my hunger is Chasing Plastic, but it appears as if they havent published in the last year or more, and the editor wont return my emails. So rather than bitching about the lack of ultimate coverage, im making my own little dent in the forum.

    A dream of mine, in the future is to run a magazine whos primary audience is the Ultimate community, hopefully with a circulation over 500,000, so this is my way of keeping that dream alive until then. (Side dream - take the money earned by said magazine revenues, expand magazine, cross brand with the likes of UltiVillage and either VC ultimate or GAIA to have a large network of intertwined goods and apparell, money earned from which will go to the ultimate in dreams - building a full size NFL caliber stadium devoted to ultimate and ultimate only, to host the national championships, ultimate training camps, whatever)

    Im getting off topic. Which i may tend to do in the future. Ill wrap this up because i want to get to the actual content part of my obsession. What do you need to know about me? Just call me Matt (or McCabe), i am majoring in English writing at the University of Pittsburgh possibly with other majors or minors (political science and latin are looking good at the moment).

    So enjoy the site, suggestions, tips and comments are always welcome, just click the links on the side of the page.

    Play Ultimate