When Ultimate moves into the mainstream there is a fear that traditions like the cheer and the Spirit of the Game will be lost. Already, cheers are disappearing at club tournaments, where the play is getting more competitive — at the highest levels there are now “observers” who basically act as referees — and some of the laid-back attitude that has attracted so many to the sport in Portland and around the country is at risk of being lost to the mainstream competitive dogma. I remember berating the Brown University Ultimate team for “ruining the game” during a regional tournament back in my days playing for Connecticut College because they wouldn’t let me wear that same exquisitely patterned purple shirt I wore during the hailstorm. They were brown, we were blue, I was purple. I didn’t see a problem.
Moe Lucey has even seen a change in Portland’s summer league. “When I first started it was ... a very comfortable welcoming place to be, everybody was just excited about everybody learning the game and having it be all about making sure somebody loved the game as much as you did,” she says. “And now there’s a lot more athleticism to it, so there’s more competition. It’s good and it’s bad. Some people get intimidated now when they come because it’s too aggressive for them being a beginner.”
Pozzy sees the risk, but says it’s up to the players to keep the game intact and perpetuate its traditions. He still wants to the see the game on a large scale.
“I think now that it’s finally working into the schools it’s going to go nuts. I think in the next ten years we’ll see a huge explosion,” Pozzy says. “I’m mostly concerned that when I’m old I can sit back in my recliner and watch it on TV instead of having to watch baseball.”
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