Ultimate Canada Magazine – December 1, 2017
Written by: Alison Fischer

In honour of International Spirit of the Game Day, Ultimate Canada is shining the spotlight on three competitive teams: Traffic, GOAT and Union.

In 2017, these teams were not only successful on the field but also in the spirit rankings at elite tournaments including the Canadian National Championships (CUC) and the USA Ultimate National Championships.

Want to find out how they did it? Read on!

RANKING: 2nd CUC 2017, 6th USAU Championships 2017
SOTG RANKING: 4th CUC 2017, 2nd USAU Championships 2017

Alison Fischer: Does your team have a SOTG philosophy? If so, can you please tell us a little about it?

Catherine Hui listens intently to the observers before the game. Photo/Ed Kung

Catherine Hui (Captain): Yes, this year we did have an emphasis on SOTG and wanting to improve in this area. In the last few seasons, it was apparent that this was an area of opportunity for Traffic. Our philosophy revolved around being more aware of our actions and reactions. We made it a team focus and had good discussions around spirit after every game – this was definitely facilitated by Ultimate Canada and USAU for implementing spirit scoring after most tournaments.

This year we also had designated Spirit Captains for our team that would be available to field concerns, observations, and questions during games, throughout tournaments and just over the course of the season as a resource for our players. Since we made this more of a focus for Traffic this season, we wanted to be more critical of our behaviour and SOTG. We recognized areas where we were definitely not as strong and looked for ways to improve in these areas and bringing up these points with the team. It also allowed us to be more candid throughout games and in our Spirit Circle conversations with our opponents if there were instances where our team could improve SOTG, or if we noticed areas for their team.

Traffic’s Erin Bussin shares a hug with her opponent. Photo/Ed Kung

AF: How does SOTG come into play in tight games?

CH: This comes into play in any game really; it shouldn’t change based on the score. However, I see how things could get more tense when the score is close. To me it means playing with respect for your opponents and your teammates. It is also the ability to remain calm and collected no matter what the score is and being able to listen and discuss calls in a respectful manner, regardless if you agree or disagree with what is being said. Personally, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to joke around and talk with the other opponents on the sideline – although that is awesome if you are into that! For me it means playing by the rules, respecting my opponents and giving it my best.

AF: Is there any player or team you admire for their approach to SOTG?

CH: I have a lot of respect for Jessie Grignon-Tomas (Iris) and Mark Lloyd (General Strike) for their approach to SOTG. They exude such a high level of play all the time, while remaining calm and having a fair-minded, respectful demeanour if and when calls are made.

AF: Do you have any tips for teams looking to improve their SOTG scores? 

Traffic came together for a spirit circle after their final against the 6ixers. Photo/Ed Kung

CH: The biggest tip for this would be to decide as a team to make SOTG a team focus, create goals, and have discussions throughout the season to benchmark and address your progress around spirit. By making this a team focus will allow you to have more of a targeted approach. It will help increase awareness on your behaviour and actions around SOTG throughout every tournament, game, and point in your season.