Friday, February 19, 2010

hall of fame discussion is still going strong on previous thread


If you have a new topic to discuss related to the HoF selection process, enter it on this entry. Or please go to the last one to comment there.


Phil said...

Jim, thanks for the reminder that this discussion was still going on, I hadn't checked in quite a while.

As I said earlier, my impression had been that Dobyns was sometimes a dick but was not a cheater...but, I pointed out, I had very little to go on.

Henry points to a blog post in which Dobyns relates an incident in which he cheated (and is thoroughly unrepentant), and Henry says the Hall of Fame committee had reports of many other incidents of cheating. If those reports are true, then it means that I'm wrong: Dobyns wasn't just a dick, he was a cheater. (And I don't just mean that he cheated once or twice.)

If Dobyns cheated with any regularity whatsoever, he shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame. I might be even more of a hard-liner than Henry on this; I don't think integrity (which is separate from SOTG as I will discuss below) is just another skill in Ultimate, which would imply that you can make up for cheating if you are really really good in the other categories.

I think "integrity" versus "spirit" is an important distinction. Let's compare two hypothetical players, Adam and Bob:
Adam is a dick: he taunts his opponents, spikes the disc, calls his opponents crybabies when they call fouls. But he's scrupulously honest: he never intentionally fouls, never deliberately fast-counds, doesn't contest fouls that he commits and he never makes a call he knows is wrong. Adam has no "spirit" but great integrity.

Bob is Adam's opposite: a classic "nice guy off the field," chatting with people on the sidelines, praising their play and their effort. When a foul is called against him, he cheerfully contests and never complains. But he cheats like hell. He bumps and pushes the guy he's defending, he pushes off to get space, he deliberately travels to get around the mark, he'll lay out into a receiver to stop him from making a continuation throw, he'll deliberately strip the disc.

If Adam's skills and accomplishments are good enough, he should be in the Hall of Fame, and his bad behavior should barely matter in the decision. Bob shouldn't be considered no matter how great his skills and accomplishments.

Most sports carry penalties for fouling: the other team gains yardage, or gets to shoot free throws, or gets to take a free kick or a penalty shot, or gets to play with a personnel advantage for a while, or is awarded an extra base, or whatever. Ultimate doesn't have that. Essentially, you can foul (or make bad calls) with impunity. Fouling isn't "part of the game", like holding in football or giving a "good foul" in basketball. Cheating undermines Ultimate much more than other sports. Do it very rarely, well, nobody's perfect. Do it as part of your game, and you shouldn't even be playing, much less be in the Hall of Fame.

Someday, if Ultimate has referees who call all of the fouls and can enforce penalties, deliberate fouling in Ultimate might be no different from deliberate fouling in other sports, and fouling won't be cheating, it will be part of the game, and Ultimate will have the concept of the "good foul". But that's not the case now.

If Henry is right and there are lots of (true) stories out there about Ken Dobyns cheating, then Dobyns shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame. But if that was the case, wouldn't Dobyns have been known as a cheater at the time, like Gewirtz was? It's a bit hard for me to believe Dobyns was like that. I guess I need more information.

ulticritic said...

"never deliberatly fast counts" thats pure gold. Is there ANY OTHER WAY to count fast than to do it deliberatly????

this is a prime example where you spirity types are simply fooling yourselves.

ulticritic said... your last paragraph you hit the nail right on the head with "wouldnt dobyns have been a known cheater at the time". BINGO!!!!! and if he was "a known cheater then" why would the upa have glorified his image (in larger than life style) like they newsletter after news letter after newsletter?

I was one of those that read those newsletters cover to cover AND NEVER ONCE did i read word ONE from any of these "complainers"(henry etal) about his behavior......which is kinda odd from a sport that, as phil thouroughly explained, places the amount of emphisis on not cheating (and not being a dick) as ultimate does. I mean, surley if ken was "that bad then" guys like henry would have had a problem with ken being the upa poster boy for 7 years in a row AND VOICED THAT OPINION THEN, no? I mean, if they werent complete and total pussies and GENUINELY cared about the sport and its spirit that is. seems to me they were willing to keep their lip buttoned THEN at the expense of the sport and NOW they are just using kens hof induction as a way to make up for NOT defending "spirit" in the way they maybe feel they SHOULD HAVE THEN.

I personally think this whole thing is MUCH MORE about henry and his pals confronting old demonds than it is about Ken. He is just the scrificial lamb that is BEING USED to make up for the spinlessness of the SZ'z of old.

Anonymous said...

I will preface this by saying that I only saw KD play maybe once or twice (past his prime) in person and met him only a couple of times as well.

My general thoughts are that I find it very difficult (if not impossible) to justify not voting KD in on the first ballot, let alone any subsequent year.

When you take his accomplishments on the face of it, captain and arguably the best player on a team which won 5 in a simply shouts HOF. If this was any other "sport" shenanigans would be called.

From a somewhat outside persepective, this reeks of personal vendettas because KD appears to not be part of the "establishment". I understand reaching out to the UPA members for feedback, but at some point the masses feedback must be ignored. Referncing Jacobs previous post in regards to the overall makeup of ultimate players, the result was pre-ordained and the opinion formed was just a formality. To further the point, people who have ill will towards someone are more likely to speak up than his supporters...because I'm sure his supporters thought it was a no brainer.

Which brings me to...

This does not necessarily indicate that I think Henry's ranking method is invalid. I would argue that someone of KD's stature transcends _any_ ranking. However, the ranking of players could be justified where you have a number of players who are deserving but nothing distinguishes them from the rest of the class.

Finally, I dare anyone to say they have never cheated in ultimate.

In a lighter note, the famous Ricky Bobby once stated "If you ain't cheating, you ain't tryin'.

That is all...and hope you're doing well


Phil said...

I realize all of the action is still in the comments on the previous post on this subject...but I don't want to jump into that quagmire, so I'm posting again here.

Toad (whoever you I the only one here who has no idea who this idiot is?) I disagree that all fast-counting is intentional. It's pretty hard to count seconds perfectly.

Anonymous, you say "I dare anyone to say they have never cheated in Ultimate." You've gotta be wrong about this...but unfortunately I am not the one to prove you wrong. To the best of my recollection, I cheated --- in the sense of intentionally violating the rules in a non-trivial way --- exactly once, at a tournament in Ohio in about 1987. A throw to me was too high, I tried to go back for it, felt contact, and called foul. I realized immediately that the person behind me hadn't pushed me, as I initially thought, but that I had backed into him. But instead of withdrawing my call, I stuck with it. I've felt bad about it ever since, and I appreciate this chance to get it off my chest. I am sincerely sorry, and I apologize to the entire Ultimate community, and to Erin Woods.

I'm probably more of a goody-goody than top players --- and the highest level I ever played was mid-Regionals-level men's, and co-ed National and World championships --- and I can believe that most top players have cheated on occasion. But I do believe those occasions are rare. If there's someone for whom those occasions aren't rare, that person shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame. Shouldn't be playing, in fact.

As for whether KD cheated enough that he should be disqualified from the Hall, I still just don't know the facts. Henry says that lots of people who played against him said KD wasn't just a jerk, he was a cheater. But several people who played against him have said Nope, not true, he wasn't a cheater. Me, I have no way of knowing. To me, this is pretty much the whole issue. If he was a cheater, he shouldn't be in the Hall, no matter how great a player he was. If he wasn't a cheater, he should be in the Hall, because he was clearly one of the premier players (and coaches, and captains) of the 80s and 90s.

I agree, there is a gray area --- what if he cheated just a bit? Or just a bit more than just a bit? But the fact that there is a gray area in principle is a lot less important than the missing facts: how often and in what circumstances (if any) did he cheat?

This stuff is not in the very distant past. Virtually everyone who competed against Dobyns at a high level is still alive and can still remember enough to answer the basic questions at issue. What does Mooney say; or, Jim, what do you say; what does Billy Layden say; what would Brian Boitano do? Let's find twenty former players who faced him in big games, and ask if he cheated. It ain't rocket science.

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