This year at College and Club Nationals there were ~330 games played across six divisions. Of those games 4 or 5 were marred by bad spirit. Four in college open and one in masters. None in women's. None in mixed. None in club open. That's a mere 1.5% of all games played at the National level.
There is an undercurrent in discussion about referees and spirit of the game that somehow spirit of the game doesn't actually work. That somehow we are all sputtering along in a broken system. Look around! Game after game after game is played under SotG successfully.
As watchers and followers of the game, we are naturally drawn to the big and the exciting and the interesting. A consequence of this is that we overemphasize big events and undervalue all the accumulated small events. When a game breaks down and spirit breaks down, that game and those teams become the talk of the tournament. When that game happens at Nationals or in the finals of Nationals, it becomes all that anyone can see.
I don't think we should ignore the importance of these games. They have a huge impact on the quality of people's experience playing ultimate and sometimes a huge impact on the competitive outcome of a tournament. There are some wise adjustments that can be made to the process of spirit of the game and observing that will make a big difference in reducing the occurrence of these games.
Looking at the numbers more deeply, the story gets quite interesting. Five of the divisions (women's, college women's, mixed, club open and masters) had a 100% or 98% (1 of 39) success rate. College open is where teams are struggling. If four of those games were failures, that makes for an almost 7% failure rate. Why? How do you fix it? We know SotG works (if it works in club open, it'll work anywhere) so how do we get this one division back on track?