By Jesse Cook (Sports Correspondent).
Save the date, folks! October 29, 2016 will be the 5th annual Sharon High School Spirit Of The Game Tournament.
The Spirit Of The Game Tournament, or SOTG, is an ultimate frisbee tournament hosted at Sharon High. Many teams from all around Massachusetts participate and a few professionals join in. Last year, a couple members of elite-level teams, including the Boston Whitecaps, Boston Ironsides, and Brüte Squad, participated.
Ultimate coach David Christiansen says that his favorite memory of the tournament’s history is the tournament shortly before Superstorm Sandy. “We played the games the day before the storm hit in light rain and heavy wind,” Christiansen said cheerfully. “All 12 teams that played that inaugural year showed up despite the forecast and we all had a great time!”
One of the highlights of the day is the all-star game: each team elects a representative to participate in a big game and at least one player from each of the professional teams plays, as well.
Although not as popular as major sports like football or basketball, ultimate is rapidly growing, trending similarly to the recent rise of lacrosse. USA Ultimate became an official brand as recently as 2010 and Major League Ultimate, or MLU, was only founded three years ago. The Olympic Committee has recognized ultimate as a major sport, though it is not in the Olympics, yet. Ultimate is on the rise which means that its key element, “spirit of the game,” is as well.
Spirit of the game, a foundation of the sport of ultimate, teaches pivotal values such as sportsmanship and professionalism. In most levels of ultimate, there aren’t referees, so players govern the field. If a player fouls another player, the fouled player can call a foul. If a foul is called, the disc and players go back to where they were when the foul was called. If the player who fouled them disagrees with the call they can contest and the play will continue. Foul calling and contesting rely solely on a player’s honesty, otherwise known as spirit of the game.
Spirit of the game, however, isn’t simply limited to honesty about foul calls, its main purpose is to keep players sportsmanlike, yet there has been talk among players to rid the sport of spirit of the game.
Freshman Ben Kane says, “I like spirit of the game as a rule because it really pushes people to have more integrity with the sport, with themselves, and with their opponents.”
“I like when I’m going to a tournament, where, well in other sports tournaments you can see that people are being mean to each other, they’re fighting over some pretty obscure rules; if you have spirit of the game, there’s no really need for that,” Kane added.
Ultimate, like baseball, is a gentlemanlike game in the sense of the lack of trash-talking. Ultimate takes it one step further, with teams often paying homage to opponents by chanting to them after games. That’s what most players who dislike spirit of the game are up in arms about.
Whether or not the rule of spirit of the game will remain instated doesn’t matter much because the aspects of the concept will remain.
The Sharon Spirit Of The Game Tournament starts at 8:00 am and spirit of the game will surely be maintained throughout Spirit Of The Game.