There is nothing more important than spirit of the game in our community, it is simply the first and most important rule to Ultimate, Disc Golf and any disc sport.
Unfortunately in 2019, many of our teams competing at elite events represented lower than average spirit scores, we at MODS fielded more complaints than any other year in regards to spirit and it became a large concern for us moving forward. To help bring the importance of Spirit of the Game back to our sport and community from all levels be they junior or adult, recreational or touring - we have worked to come up with solutions, ideas and improvements to implement in 2020. Needless to say, you as our members will see large changes in the coming months and year as we work towards implementing ideas and policies which will help everyone have more fun at our fields, during games and with each other.
So what is happening you may ask?
We'll be kicking off in the month of January with a new monthly project run by the MODS office called "Humans of Ultimate". While at the latest Ultimate Canada Conference this past November in Quebec City, QC, we learned from Ultimate Grand Montreal about their initiative to recognize their most spirited members and teams each month through website stories, photos and giveaways. By sharing the stories of these spirited people, they were able to highlight great leadership but also build a strong thread of spirit and start important conversations around Spirit of the Game. We at MODS love learning from our brothers and sisters across the country and this month will be starting our own initiative with "Humans of Ultimate" where we hope to follow in the same footsteps!
1. Dangerous Play
2. Disputes on the Field
3. Double Teams
Our MODS Board of Directors was also concerned and driven to improve spirit of the game based off feedback and observations in the ultimate community. The board commisioned a working group to look at recomendations which would help improve the aspect of spirit as it relates to our programs and leagues. The full report can be found here, but the coles notes are this:
1. Let's improve the rule knowledge of MODS members over the next year. By knowing rules in a cleaner and more efficient way, we can reduce disputes and negative conversations at venues, fields and during games. Specifically, we as a community need to focus on 5 key rules...
- Reckless disregard for safety (Dangerous Play) Rule XVI-H-4 and Winnipeg Ultimate League Amendment "Dangerous Play Foul"
- Dispute arrises on a field (Conflict Resolution) Rule XVI-D
- Double Team (10 Foot Rule) Rule XVI-B-2
- Travelling Rule XVI-J
- Pick Rule XVI-I
So MODS members will see a rule of the month, starting in this months newsletter and each month following. We will also be providing a very clean and clear list to captains and members before the start of league play in 2020.
2. Emphasize the role of spirit in Ultimate.
This will lead to having a spirit captain on all teams moving forward starting this spring. Spirit captains will attend a pre-season meeting and be responsible to holding their team accountable to spirit of the game and working with the other teams spirit captain to resolve disputes or highlight successes! You will also find a new "Spirit of the Game Page" on our website, helping to offer tools and resources to spirit captains and everyone in our community.
We will also be adding a mega spirit prize for the most spirited team each summer. While the spirit winners per each night of play will remain, we will be adding a custom set of jerseys from VC Ultimate (value of $1000) to the team with the highest spirit score at the end of the season! Don't worry indoor mixed league, we will be offering a team set of spirited and custom made socks and hats (also from VC Ultimate - Value $750).
Lastly, we will be sharing spirit scores once we can update the website to accomodate the request. Once this is put in place, spirit scores will only be published once both teams have scored each other so that they cannot influence each others thoughts or input.
3. Accountability... If teams are getting a consitent and low spirit score compared to the league average, both the team and spirit captain should expect to have a meeting with the office before continuing play in the league.
Changes can be difficult and we are working towards increasing spirit in every capacity, however we also value your feedback as our members. Please know, you can always reach out to talk to the office at any time about these new implementations, concerns you may have or further ideas to help increase spirit in our leagues and events.