A Spectator’s Thoughts On The Club Championships

Dusty Rhodes, a long-time player, was in Frisco, Texas, for the Club Championships this past weekend. He shared some insight from a spectator’s perspective on RSD. Here’s a selection of his thoughts.

[quote]100% of finals were capped. 

4/15 women’s elimination games were capped. 7/15 coed elimination games were capped. 10/15 men’s elimination games were capped. The more men are on the field, the more likely the game is capped? The rounds are NOT long enough (and the multiple countdowns on the clock are confusing). Are club games playing to 15 or to time? 2/3 of the “showcase aka men’s division” (based on the timing of semis at least) ended before the assigned number of points. Half is predicated on the number of points it takes to win. If we’re playing to 13, we take half at 7, not 8.

Speaking of slow… 

I repeat my observation from last year’s Nationals: the current call-resolution system is too slow for spectators. If there are 2000 folks sitting in the stands who can more often than not tell what happened on the play, yet have to watch a drawn-out resolution process in which they can’t tell what is happening (could we get a card w/ an explanation of the observer hand signals? Even the announcer was getting them wrong!)

That is not so good. the pace of the game is killed by these breaks. Ultimate has an excellent natural rhythm. Extended call resolution makes it like baseball. I don’t give a damn what the system is — it just needs to be quick.

Give the observers whistles. 

Watching meaningless plays go on when the disc is essentially dead is not only a waste of time, but a pointless injury risk. When play stops, play should stop as quickly as possible. This is what whistles are good for.

Stop calling so many picks, players. 

This is a sport. I know that’s what the rules say. Many of you are totally abusing this rule. Many of you are calling picks when, if you just moved to recover and accepted that some contact will occur when that many folks are moving around on the field together, the outcomes of play would not be meaningfully affected. I know the rules. I know it is in there. You don’t have to call it.

Stop calling ticky-tack marking contact. 

You could use “contact” or “disc space” if you like. You could also just play. I know what the rules say. I also know what I want to watch when I’m a paying spectator.

This no-alcohol site thing is a mistake. 

It is only a matter of time before a whole team gets kicked out or arrested. Not to blow up anyone’s spot, but the stands were FULL of booze. It is going to happen no matter the regulations unless you search all bags and pockets and empty all beverages. Then it will happen in the parking lot. Unless you search all cars at the gate. Then it will happen at the hotels.

Pick a spot where we’re not leading players into temptation, please. Especially when there are two full days of play in which half of the teams are eliminated. It is fun to watch sports and drink outside on nice days. It is not fun to have your season end and face the choice of being allowed to finally let loose OR go watch the rest of the tournament. If USAU means to take a philosophical stand against drinking in the first place, fine. But I doubt that’s the intent here. And if that is the intent, gimme my money back you petty tyrants, and heed the gang of four’s advice: “Save me from the people who would save me from myself / they got muscle for brains.”

Players standing still after fouls/stoppages is totally unnecessary. 

We need to disabuse ourselves of the notion that putting a player in a stationary position determined by where they were when they were previously moving is even a rough equivalent of continuing play as if the infraction had not occurred. a player’s position is only one data point. if we could find a way to recreate the speed/acceleration/angle/vision of the players, then sure. But we can’t even do speed and location. Just let them move. What’s the downside? (Honest question for which I’ve failed to come up with an answer)

New format is not all bad. 

Mostly just different. However, the thing where games start at 9 AM and those same teams play at 6 PM (see mixed) is absurd. So too is having the men’s teams start at 1:30 on day 1, have their last round start at 6pm and then have half of the round of 16 play at 9:30 the next day. Offset by divisions or whatever, but the goals should be consistency of schedule and maximum rest, right? Rested players are healthy players. Healthy players play at the top of their game.[/quote]

A previous version of this article said that Rhodes was a “Major League Ultimate bigwig.” Although he was a General Manager in the league last year, he is not currently employed by the league and is only in negotiations to work with them in the future. His opinions are his own.

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email (charlie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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