The other night during league play, an amazing player whom I have had the privilege of playing pickup games and tournaments with on past occasions made a phenomenal play against my team. This player also happens to be one of the nicest, coolest guys you will ever meet. After the play, I gave him what I thought was a good-natured shove in the chest, but apparently I didn’t look as friendly as I intended to. I tried to make a joke instead of simply congratulating him on his amazing efforts, and he was surprised at my actions. Rightly so, I shouldn't have done it, even in jest. I apologized and heaped praise on him, but I also now realize that if I truly want to achieve the goal of good sportsmanship and unity, I need to practice the part every moment, joking or not.
Especially as we strive to bring in new players to the community and grow our youth division, even jokingly spiking a disc, making a sarcastic comment, or worse, is inappropriate. I wouldn’t want our youth players, the future of the Ultimate community, to do those things, and I especially wouldn’t want my own young son, who I like to bring to my Ultimate games, to act that way.
From now on, I will curtail the silly cracks, digs, and spikes and congratulate all of my opponents and teammates for their efforts. LUDA wants to make sure that all players, regardless of skill or experience, feel welcome at our events and come to love the sport and the community as much as we do. I also invite everyone else to show great spirit and sportsmanship on and off the field as the community continues to grow. And play Ultimate!