Right now, ultimate is in the front of the line. A line of one, but we're in the front. As soon as we add referees at any division of the sport, we move to the back of the line. Behind soccer, rugby, lacrosse, rowing, tennis, wrestling...you name it. In case you haven't noticed, resources are incredibly scarce out there right now. Even sports on the big time are struggling. As we consider these issues, we should consider where we are, where we are going and how we can best get there.
Right now, under SotG, our sport is growing at a breakneck pace. We are outgrowing soccer, lacrosse, rugby...you name it. This is absolutely fantastic. There is nothing that will help our sport more right now than growth. A big part of that growth it SotG and self-officiation. Most of our growth is coming in the youth division and parents love SotG and the culture it brings to our sport. The moral lessons inherent in ultimate and SotG are ones that every parent wants to teach their kid: respect, restraint and honesty. Not only that, the culture of ultimate is a welcome respite from the nastiness of high-stakes soccer or basketball. At the core of that culture is SotG. Every game you play, SotG helps build that respect and culture. To be able to say to a parent, "Ultimate is self-officiated at all levels," is incredibly powerful.
Club and college ultimate should serve as banner divisions to promote the growth of our sport. As such they should do so within the framework of SotG. It kind of goes back to If it Ain't Broke... We are growing at a torrid pace with SotG at all levels. Why would we change it? As a brief aside, both the college division and the club division need some changes to function better. The Open College division needs to make some changes in the way games are observed to prevent the kind of debacle we saw in the finals last year. Less time for discussion, TMFs for every bad call and censuring of coaches. The Club division needs to get out of Sarasota and out of October. Please! Who watches those games? Put the finals in Boston or Seattle where you will have 10,000 fans and youth players watching.
Now that I've distracted you from my main point, let me conclude in a high quality, middle school conclusion kinda way. The most important element for the development of our sport right now is growth. We are currently growing at the fastest rate of any sport in the country and we are doing it with SotG functioning at all levels. Not only should we keep SotG at all levels, we should strengthen the presentation of it at the Club and College levels so they can serve as flagships for the sport.