Pretty much everyone everywhere needs some third party officiating.
August 22, 2014 by ultiwhirled in Other with 4 comments
The United Nations will begin deploying ultimate-style observers across the globe this week in an effort to mediate conflicts and restore some semblance of spirit to the game we call civilization. The move comes in response to a stunning proliferation of violence, catastrophe, and human rights violations, seemingly worldwide.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke this morning, to address what has become known as the Global Crisis of Spirit: “In light of recent events, I’ve decided to call a ‘Spirit Foul’ on the entire world. Everyone, everywhere is completely out of control.
“For decades we’ve insisted that our system of diplomacy can work—that nations and groups all over the world can resolve their conflicts through discourse in an increasingly peaceful effort toward a global community. But the world seems to be most united right now in its wholesale rejection of that notion. Something needs to change, because every little border dispute or bad pick call seems to blow up into an all-out disaster.”
The UN will send observers to “pretty much every fucking corner of the planet,” according to Secretary Ban, who, for justification, cited the daily violence between Israel and Palestine, and the increasing reach and brutal tactics of ISIS, as well as Ebola; Malaria; AIDS; the conflicts in Syria, South Sudan, and Ukraine; the drug war in Mexico; the militarization of US police; Chinese pollution; Indian waste management; climate change; poaching of endangered animals; Nicky Minaj; endocrine disruptors; net neutrality; PRISM; indefinite detention; and the nearly inevitable extinction of the human race by nuclear bombs or weaponized smallpox—not to mention the cosmic mundanity of an asteroid impact if we don’t hurry the hell up and get off this rock to diversify our habitat.
The Secretary looked like he was having a bad month.
As part of the plan, USA Ultimate will partner with Ultimate Peace in a joint effort to help train UN observers in player-initiated conflict resolution, and on how to mediate some of the trickiest calls in the global game. USAU expects a bit of a learning curve.
“Some calls, obviously, are much easier to negotiate than others,” said Dr. Tom Crawford, CEO of USA Ultimate, at a press conference on the partnership. “The other week, for instance, the World Health Organization called a travel on Ebola, and CNN just went totally overboard, even though they never saw the original violation. Pretty straightforward; if you don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t get involved.
“On the other hand, look at Ferguson, Missouri, where we’re learning pretty quickly that it’s difficult to call ‘foul’ when you’re choking on tear gas. When can an observer step in?”
“Or take our area of expertise,” added Jennifer Burney, President of Ultimate Peace, who also spoke at the conference. “Israel called ‘Disc Space’ back in the ‘40s, but the Palestinians have always maintained that they had already established legal marking position on Jerusalem. Almost every nation out there has tried to call ‘Best Perspective.’ But at this point it’s pretty much too late to just send it back. It’s time for an experienced observer to step in and mediate.”
While the full timetable for deployment of observers is unclear, the UN says that the first groups will be sent out Friday, probably to somewhere in the Middle East, Southern or Eastern Asia, the Americas, Northern Africa, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, or Australia. To quote Secretary Ban, “It’s basically intramural atrocity out there; chaos. No wonder so many people are dumping buckets of ice-water on themselves just to feel like they can make a difference. Actually, you know what, that sounds like a good idea. Somebody get me a bucket!”
“And make sure I’m still Facebook friends with Kim Jong-un!”
Later in the morning, President Barack Obama expressed US support for the UN’s efforts, commenting publicly from his apparently offensive vacation on Martha’s Vineyard:
“Let us hope that these observers can be a push back against those who would do harm to the innocents of the world, and a step forward toward the change our Earth so desperately needs. Because after each bombing, mass slaughter, and blatant oppression of human rights, the spirit circle is just starting to feel a little disingenuous.”
In the immediate wake of the announcement of the UN plan, concerns spread over whether the UN should call in observers or referees, the latter being preferred by the MLU and AUDL as game officials. But Michelle Kondracki, general manager of MLU’s New York Rumble, called the controversy a “non-issue.”
“When it comes down to it, what matters first is getting some sort of impartial official out there,” said Kondracki. “Bickering over what we call them or the exact extent of their powers seems somehow petty, when you think about the beheading of innocents. Hopefully the observers can teach the world about de-escalation and about giving each other the benefit of the doubt. Oh, and also about positioning after a pick, ’cause I’m still not convinced anyone really knows the rule.”
Critics of the UN’s plan complain that with the deployment of all observers to handle international crises, the decay of ultimate is assured. Arguing that the motive underlying bad calls is usually a desire for an unfair advantage, these critics offer many a ruined game or an undeserved loss as proof of the inevitable death of Spirit and sportsmanship.
Others, however, like Ironside Captain George Stubbs, contend that the naysayers need to “chill out and get some perspective.”
“When the worst part of your weekend can still be solved by contest or no contest and send it back,” said Stubbs, “when the worst thing the other guy can do to you is make a bad travel call…well, you’re doing a lot better than most of the planet.”