Tuesday, February 21, 2006

rule of thumb for call nerds

If you have to review a video frame by frame to see if a call is correct, then it's not a bad call. It might be incorrect, but it's a justifiable call if it's that close. Exception: if it's a non-contact violation (such as a travel) and you need that degree of granularity to show that the violation actually happened, then it's a pussy call. There is just no way that a player (who is, of course, also attempting to play ultimate besides being a ref) in real time can discern this.

That is all.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Should TDs be paid?


In the old days, tournaments were supposed to be run at cost. There was a threatened boycott of Fools in about 1990 because the TDs included their own substantial time as a cost of the tournament (if memory serves). Only gradually did it become even ponderable for TDs to "make money". Even now, though, I would be surprised if any TD got a decent wage (say, more than minimum wage) for his work.

The UPA Series really should be different because the players do not have the option of voting with their cleats and skipping the tournament for something else. The TD really is just the director of the event, not the owner, and so doesn't deserve the entrepreneurial rewards.

So, I'd break down the "profit" into two components:
1. A fair wage for the work going into running the tournament.
2. A fair return on the investment (and risk) of running a tournament.

I think we've reached a point where #1 is permitted (really, 15-20 years ago it was not) and ought to be the standard, although I'm not sure what a fair wage would be, especially since the TDs generally also need volunteers to line fields and man tents, and if the TDs get paid then the volunteers will want to be paid. And maybe we're breaking ground on #2 with the professional services of Cultimate. The NUA couldn't make a go of it.

Then again, in the real world prices are determined by supply and demand, not by the actual costs of producing the product. The actual costs relative to the price then can affect the supply, as producers either rush in to garner profits or else rush out because they can't make a profit. For other participatory sports, it seems that the going rate is about $5-10/hour for short events (1-4 hours) (a four hour round of golf goes for $40, indoor soccer is about $10/hr, my modified fast pitch softball league is about $3/hr, gyms sell one-day passes for $10). By this token, players should be willing to pay about $50 per person for a tournament, but somehow this seems excessive. One of the attractions of ultimate is that it is such a cheap sport to play (just need a pair of cleats, a piece of plastic, and the occasional ACL surgery).

The bottom line is that we've become spoiled (or perhaps we should say, "Ultimate doesn't make people spoiled; it reveals that people are spoiled") and might have to be willing to accept capitalism and all the good things that selfishness does for the world.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Why college ultimate sucks

  • The hype
  • The blather
  • The innocence soon to be lost
  • Kids today are soft
  • etc.

Nah, I'm kidding, sorta. College ultimate has a lot going for it. In some ways it's a better sport than club ultimate, in that you have a fresh cast of characters each year, the players are less polished and so more prone to exciting greatness or disappointment, and they're not jaded by years and years of having to listen to the latest overpumped superstar who actually isn't that good.

I don't read the college sites (collegeulti and icultimate) too often, if at all, mostly because I'll never see any of these teams play, and I resolved this year to waste my time more productively. But the recent turmoil on rsd due to some critical comments at collegeulti reveals that we still have a way to go before we're really out there. (A similar turmoil ensued when Kenny D criticized the Ultimate History Book and some players.)

We're still an insular community that protects our own, even if they deserve it (rather, even if the criticism is correct) and even if they can protect themselves. Heckling from fans is ok, just as long as it's not too personal or too accurate. It's cruel but not unusual for fans of pro or college teams to make loud requests to remove certain players from the game for bad performance, but such action would (rightfully?) be considered out of line at an ultimate contest. Ultimate reporters rarely point the finger at players or even teams when they don't play well, and when they do name names, they too are regarded as uncool or harsh.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

kid picture

 This is one of my favorite pictures of my son, taken when he was about six months old (he's 2 1/2 now) starting to eat solid foods. He does much better now.
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