Friday, March 01, 2013
I'll be attending the Ultimate Players and Coaches Conference tomorrow as a panelist for "the future of ultimate". Back in 2005, I blogged about trends in ultimate over the previous 10 years, over the upcoming 10 years, and that didn't happen. I have a feeling that the focus on tomorrow's discussion will be around the further professionalization of ultimate. This doesn't mean only whether the pro leagues will take off and how widespread they'll be, but what elite-level ultimate will look like. Will top players in 10 years still be attending Potlatch and Paganello and Poultry Days or will it just be unacceptable for them to risk getting hurt while wearing overalls? How much will decisions be about the players on the field versus the rest of the ultimate world or the spectating world? There has already been a movement toward less freedom, but how far will it go? Will Men's split off from Women's (and both say goodbye to Mixed) if a sponsor comes calling? Those were the kinds of questions that immediately popped into my head, and I brought up the topic at skydmagazine But then after I got into a conversation with one of the other commenters, I realized that once again I neglected 95% of the ultimate out there by thinking only about the competitive season in the US (or in those places where they could reasonably expect to challenge the top US teams). So maybe I need to think some more about how summer leagues, youth camps, fun coed tournaments, and semi-competitive (i.e., playing tournaments without devoting all your spare time to the game) ultimate.