Spirit of the Game is one of the core elements in flying disc sports. It is similar to fair play and sportsmanship, but there is a much higher emphasis put on it in Ultimate. It is summarised in this preamble to the rules of play:
“All players are responsible for administering and adhering to the rules. Ultimate relies upon a Spirit of the Game that places the responsibility for fair play on every player. It is trusted that no player will intentionally break the rules; thus there are no harsh penalties for breaches, but rather a method for resuming play in a manner which simulates what would most likely have occurred had there been no breach.
Highly competitive play is encouraged, but should never sacrifice the mutual respect between players, adherence to the agreed-upon rules of the game, or the basic joy of play.”
Actions such as intentional fouling, cheating, dangerous plays, disrespectful conversations, and other ‘win at all costs’ behaviour are contrary to the Spirit of the Game. Often a player is in a position where it is to his/her advantage to foul or commit some violation, but that player is morally bound to abide by the rules. The integrity of the sport depends on each player’s responsibility to uphold Spirit of the Game, and this responsibility should not be taken lightly.
As Ultimate is a self-refereed sport, maintaining Spirit of the Game is essential. Players must know the rules, be fair-minded and truthful, explain their viewpoint clearly and briefly, allow opponents a reasonable chance to speak and resolve disputes as quickly as possible, using respectful language.
Examples of Good Spirit
- Informing a team-mate if you think they have made a wrong or unnecessary call or caused a foul or violation
- Retracting a call when you no longer believe the call was necessary
- Complimenting an opponent for good play or spirit
- Introducing yourself to your opponent
- Reacting calmly towards disagreement or provocation
Spirit at the Top of the Game
Full article and discussion: Spirit Matters at the Top of the Game
SOTG Example – Be Fair Minded
SOTG Example – Communicate Respectfully