This is the fifth and final post in our series, Team Orange: A Comprehensive Guide To The USA Ultimate Observer Program. Includes contributions from Will Deaver and Vic Kahmi.
From the Official Rules of Ultimate:
Can a high-level game of ultimate still be self-refereed? The word competition comes from a Latin word that means “to strive together.” Sport, even at its highest levels, is about pushing each other within the context of the agreed upon rules. It’s not about bending the rules and getting away with rule breaking in order to win…or it shouldn’t be. This sport has the opportunity to showcase competition in a way that is not only entertaining to watch and fun to play, but that is rewarding to its participants and inspirational to its fans at the human and societal level. Read more →
This is the fourth article in our series, Team Orange: A Comprehensive Guide to the USA Ultimate Observer Program. Includes contributions from Will Deaver and Vic Kahmi.
As a Head Observer, there have been times when I’ve had to shuffle Observers around so that certain Observers are not observing certain games, due to the fact that they’ve played on one of the teams involved. And I’ve heard complaints from players that they think that an Observer who used to play for the team that they were playing was biased for that team.
But I honestly feel that any Observer can fairly observe any game, even if it’s a game involving their own team. Why? When I am asked to make a ruling, I see hands, arms, legs, dark jerseys and light jerseys. I am concentrating on what is happening with the players and the disc at that moment. Sometimes I don’t even remember which team is which, just which player is where and what just happened. I see two players and I make a ruling for one of them. Who the players are is inconsequential to what is going on. Read more →
This is the third article in our series, Team Orange: A Comprehensive Guide to the USA Ultimate Observer Program. Includes contributions from Will Deaver and Vic Kahmi.
At the Boulder Fourth of July Classic one year in the 90s, I got cheated. There was a relatively new but very athletic player on the other team and I, as a fast defender, was assigned to cover him. During one point, he got the disc in the middle of the field, and I set up to mark him. He made a backhand throw and i blocked it to the ground.
It was clearly, clearly a foot out of his hand when I hit it, but because he could, he called “foul.” What could I do? Had there been Observers, I could have asked for a ruling, but all I could do was contest the call and what should have been our disc remained with our opponents.
To many people, the most important role of Observers is to prevent cheating. Observers are brought into games that get chippy and are often there to calm a game down. But in reality, the main role of Observers is to keep the game moving. An observed game has time limits on time-outs, halftime, and between points. If there is a call during play that’s not resolved quickly, an Observer can step in and encourage either a resolution or a referral for a ruling. Read more →
This is the second article in our series, Team Orange: A Comprehensive Guide to the USA Ultimate Observer Program. Includes contributions from Will Deaver and Vic Kahmi.
So who are these Observers, these men and women who show up at your field in their bright orange jerseys and inform you that your game is being observed? They’re ultimate players. You might have played a game against one or even had one on your team. They range in age from college students to grand masters players and their reasons for becoming Observers are just as varied. Many like the advantages of being on the field for some of the highest levels of ultimate. “I wanted the best seat in the house to watch great ultimate.” says Mitch Dengler, a USAU Certified Observer since 2009.
“I’m just an average player,” says Chris Burling, a newly-certified Observer, “[I] didn’t go to a powerhouse college, and haven’t ever gotten the opportunity to play on a consistent club team. So how [does] an average player get on the fields at the highest levels? Observe.” Read more →
This is part one in our series, Team Orange: A Comprehensive Guide to the USA Ultimate Observer Program. Includes contributions from Will Deaver and Vic Kahmi.
Sunday, July 26, 1992. A beautiful sunny day in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Local(ish) boys the Boulder Stains were taking on St. Louis in the final of the Jose Cuervo Qualifier ultimate tournament. I and three other Albuquerque and Las Cruces players had been tapped to be Observers for the final game. This basically meant little more than indicating that a valid goal had been scored and perhaps making a ruling on a contested call. For most of the game (which St. Louis won 19-17) there was very little to do, but late in the game, a play happened right next to me as I manned my corner of the field.
An offensive player caught a pass coming down the line. He made the catch in bounds, took two or three steps to stop, and threw a 15-yard pass to a receiver in the endzone. The defender on this thrower looked at me and yelled, “He threw from out of bounds! He threw from out of bounds!” pointing to the spot where the throw was made. He was right.
While the catch was in bounds, his momentum had carried him off of the playing field and he had made the throw from where he stopped. I looked at the defensive player for a couple seconds impassively, waiting for… what? At the time, I wasn’t sure, but after the pause, I turned and indicated that it was a goal. I’m sure that there were unfriendly words thrown in my direction after that, but the players begrudgingly accepted the call and the game continued. Read more →