At the Labor Day Championships in Santa Cruz this weekend (maybe the best field site in Ultimate), the TDs set up the field so that there was at least 10 yards between fields and most times more. Where there were 4 fields last year, now there were 3 full sized ones totally clear of any fixed hazards (rocks, light poles, asphalt). While the TD’s forethought was praiseworthy, players and fans still put their bags, chairs, and tents within 2 yards of the sideline.
Even during the finals WHEN NO OTHER GAMES WERE GOING ON there were obstacles very close to the line. While I am sure those girls were excited to get so close to their heart-throb, the fact that Mac Taylor nearly clobbered them on a great full speed catch near the sideline is indicative of a big problem in the Ultimate community. We all need to respect sideline safety much more.
While change can and needs to happen from the top down (2010 USAU College Championships in Madison are a great example of progress) there needs to be a cultural shift – a shift away from the sidelines. Your view of that great play is just as good if you are 3 yards further back. Be that guy on your team that stubbornly insists that everyone puts their bags further back, we all will be better for it.