Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Problem With Self Officiation In Ultimate...

... is differential understanding and application of the rules.

Lets face it, some players call pick if they even have to think about any other body on the field besides their mark - some only call it when there is contact between players and have no problem running through the stack to follow their guy so long as they don't have to clobber anyone. Some call a travel on the fast breaking give-goer, some don't. There is a wind range of violation criteria in our players' minds. Further, call selection tends to change as the game gets closer to the end.

Compare this with soccer officiating. I have been a referee for 11 years. Yes, different referees call things differently. There even is a change in call selection when the ball is in the penalty area and depending on requirements of game control. One referee will even call a foul in one game that he let go in a previous game. The difference, is that all the decisions are left to one mind who applies the rules equally to all players and both teams. Even if one team completely disagrees with the foul selection, at least both teams know the standard.

With 14 different referees on the field, it is very hard to have a consistent standard for what is deserving of a call and what is not.

1 comment:

Jesse said...

You make some very valid points, which I fully agree with. Especially on the part that one mind is preferable over 14, when it comes to application of the rules.

When I was watching the final in Vancouver last year, someone on the USA team called a travel on a huck by the Canadians. A buddy of mine was actually filming and it was so clear that his foot didn't move (even after the throw!) that we could only conclude that this was a tactical call. The entire audience was boo-ing the USA player.

But the sad part is that the disc went back and play continued, but that the feelings of the teams towards each other changed. At that point some Canadian players probably think about calling tactically as well. Which is a shame.

You can't rule out tactical fouls and tactical faking of being fouled completely, but having self-officiation makes it so much easier to pull off.

Anyway, that is my take on it. And while it frustrated me from time to time to being officiated in basketball, I think overall it is preferable as compared to self officiation. Especially in games that matter (obviously in pickup games, self officiation works very well).