Thursday, January 17, 2008

Testosterone man speaks (well, grunts)

So, as you guys have figured out, that was an old rant of mine. I wanted to shock people a little, at least those who didn't recognize it right away. In 1993, Boston developed an attitude and tried to be like NYNY. We had a strong team, and had beaten NY by 7 at Regionals to take the top seed at Nationals. But then we met them in the semis and lost. That game had a "bench-clearing brawl" and a headbutt, and lots of jawing and posturing and all that. I remember the feeling very well still, although the specifics of the game are almost completely gone now.

I wrote it after reading complaints from a bunch of people who weren't there and who had no idea what it was like to be in our shoes. It drew quite a response. I can still quote some of the replies. "Mr. Parinella's horrible posting pisses me off." "@%&$ you and the horse you rode in on." "There is no place in the game for people like Jim Parinella." But there were also replies from people who knew me that defended, somewhat, me or my point of view.

So, this was my response.

Wow. I guess this means I'm not invited to play with Rec.Sport.Disc at Fools
next year.

I'd like to explain a little about why I wrote. I fully expected to get flamed
terribly. Tross (law...@brandeis.something) posted an opposing viewpoint that
was very mild, and got nailed for it, so I knew it was coming. I can take it,
I'm pretty thick-skinned. I'm enjoying this whole discussion, even though
anyone that dares to say anything along my lines provokes outcries of "Savage"
and "Kill that aggressive guy". I would like to thank the people that wrote in
with support. They really made my day.

I'd like to clarify some things that people may have gotten out of my post:

1. I am not an asshole. The sig was a reference to a previous post equating
wanting to win with being a "testosterone filled asshole". How many of you
know me? I think that I have (at least until this week) a pretty good reputation
(as a person) among this crowd. I think most people consider me a quiet, mild-
mannered guy who plays hard but fair. I'm sure many of those people are now
saying, "I never knew he was suck a jerk", but I was also hoping other people
would read the post and think, "Hmm, Jim's always been pretty reasonable. Maybe
he's got a point." I put my name at incredible risk because I read statements
that I considered to be just plain wrong, and I could not sit and let it go by
any longer. I've been on teams that didn't make it out of Sectionals, I still
captain a summer league team, I still play in pickup tournaments. I like the
game. But it's a sport, and sports have winners and losers.

2. I do not think that fights in the game are a good thing. But nor do I think
they're the end of the world. If there were an ejection rule, that would help.

3. Man is an aggressive animal. Screaming for joy is an act of aggression.
Wanting to win is a form of aggression. "(W)hen the disc is crisp, when the flow
is kind, I get this pulsating ball of energy brewing at the base of my skull."
Do you get this same feeling when you're on defense and the flow is kind? Isn't
this the same as saying, "I enjoy it when I humilate my defender"? It's not the
same as hitting someone, but isn't that aggression all the same?

4. It really is a different game at the top. This was really the main point of
my post, and it's the point that people seemed most unwilling to accept. Do
any of your teammates puke regularly after track workouts? Do you study game
films of your opponents to know their tendencies better? Do you have half a
dozen different defenses to throw at an opponent? Does everyone on your team
break the mark? I was on Earth Atomizer when we made it to the semifinals at
Worlds in 1991, but I think that this team is really at another level. I've
learned so much more in the last two years with BB than I did in my first nine
of playing.

5. Along those lines, individuals play for different reasons. If you're
playing because you like sports but don't like all the yelling, that's fine.
I don't want you to stop playing. Just accept that not everyone feels the
same way.

I will admit that I focused too much on aggression in my first post, hence the
overwhelming response. For what it's worth, I was calm when I wrote it, and
even revised it to remove the personal attacks (unlike others--you know who
you are). It just irritated me that seemingly most posts had no basis in fact
and relied purely on emotions and feelings (but isn't that always the case).

Flame away.

Jim Parinella
Big Brother
"If you can't open your mind, are you sure you still have one?'

Monday, January 14, 2008

Testosterone Man

Ban whole teams for a year? Put a man in the penalty box for spiking? What a
bunch of thin-skinned self-righteous whiners!

I play for Big Brother, and it irritates me to know that I am now considered
evil. Where the hell do you people get off saying this? I thought Tross'
"Six levels of Ultimate" posting was an excellent behind-the-scenes look from
an "elite" team's perspective, and I had hoped people would realize and accept
that it's a different game at that level. Unfortunately, a lot of people
refuse to accept that socialism will never work.

I don't play the game because of SOTG. I don't bust my ass doing wind sprints
in the cold and rain because I want to be accepted in a friendly community.
I don't spend several thousand dollars a year and all my vacation time so that
some computer geek has a high opinion of me. Ultimate, beyond everything
else, is a sport, and sports are about competition. That's why I'm out there.
I want the game to become more competitive. I want Cuervo to sponsor us. I
want the game to be accepted in mainsteam America. I want it to evolve into
something more watchable.

You want to spike the disc? Spike it!! (Incidentally, George "Win one for
the Gipper" Gipp is often credited with the first "spike" in football). Most
spikes I've seen aren't personal--they're either celebratory ("Yes, we scored,
we're still in this game") or mildly retaliatory ("You fouled me all over the
field and I still scored! Ha ha!"). In fact, we even spike it during
practice. It's about intensity, emotion, competition, winning, and losing.
In the NFL, you know that if you get scored on, a spike is coming, and you
better accept it. I've never seen a football player return the spike, by the
way, like many good-spirited ultimate players do. Retaliation equates with
being a poor loser. It also takes your concentration away.

Retaliation led to the near-"fights" in the NY-Big Brother semifinal.
Unfortunate, but as Tross stated, it's surprising it hasn't happened sooner.
If you consider the typical ultimate player, though, it isn't surprising.
Most historically have never played another sport at a level higher than gym
class, and have no idea what it's like to do so. He thinks we should respect
each other because we are all equal, all of us just creatures of this world,
and he can't stand to see other people get ahead if they don't play by his
rules. Your typical non-ultimate athlete, on the other hand, believes that
the best man wins. The best way to stop someone from spiking at you is to
work harder and play better so he never has the opportunity. You say that we
have no respect for other players. I say we have a higher level of respect,
the respect of warriors, the respect that says you give everything you have on
the field of honor, and it's all decided on the field. Afterwards, it's over.
That's what sports is about.

I don't think most levels of the game have to be this intense. If you're just
playing for fun in a friendly, less-competitive atmosphere, then aggressive
behavior isn't good. Many NY/Big Brother players coach high school teams,
captain summer league teams, and play in pickup games and tournaments (many
"good-spirited" players mentioned in a recent posting about the Fairfield,
Ct., Turkey Bowl are NY/BB guys), and wouldn't dream of spiking it on some
rookie or screaming after a goal. But it's a different game at the top, as
different as your pickup touch football game is from the Super Bowl.

Learn to deal with it. If you can't, I suggest you take some mildly
hallucinogenic drugs and stick to summer league.

Jim Parinella
Big Brother
"Testoterone-filled asshole and proud of it"