I have been crazy swamped lately trying to get ready for Nationals. I have been watching video obsessively and trying to tie up the loose ends in the other parts of my life so I can go with a clear conscience. I'm going to avoid predictions and speculations about Nationals beyond saying that there is a ton of parity. A ton. When the dust settles on Monday, we'll anoint a champ and anoint the 'good' teams and the 'bad' ones, but if we've learned anything this year, it's that one tournament doesn't mean much.
However, I do have something totally unrelated that I want to talk about before I leave for Boulder on Thursday morning. USA Ultimate has decided to revive the Spirit of the Game Committee and I was asked (by Meredith Tosta) to serve on it and I agreed to do so. Here are the other members:
I am posting now because I'd like to solicit feedback on what people's thoughts are. Nationals is a great place to network and talk about stuff because it's one of the few places where we are all together. I am a little unclear on our mandate. Will and Meredith are swamped organizing D-III Nationals, D-I Nationals, Easterns and Westerns so there hasn't been much work or discussion yet, but I imagine it will pick up post-Nationals. I am beginning to work on ideas and thoughts about what can and/or should be done. I am trying to keep my ideas pretty general at this stage. There's no point getting detailed before there is any overarching vision.
Here are the two main ideas I am mulling over:
1. We need practice to back up theory. I teach middle school and we use the PBIS (here) model to instruct behavior. People need specific directions to learn behavior. Right now, the USAU's Ten Things You Should Know About Spirit are the most specific instructions in existence and they are still very general. What would more specific instructions look like in ultimate? How could it be delivered?
2. Focus on coaches. More and more college teams are driven by their coaches. As our sport matures and coaches begin to outlast players we will see more and more programs like the Stanford women where two and half generations of women have passed through with the same coach. Those coaches have a profound impact on their team's culture.
What are your ideas? You can comment them here, email me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) or find me in Boulder. I am not sure how much down time I will have, but I'll have some and I'd love to talk shop.
PS - I am quite aware of the irony involved in my membership on this committee. I'm not quite sure what else to say about it, but I thought I'd better mention it.