By: Jimmy Leppert
Hello and welcome to ‘The Spectator’. Hit the jump, and get accustomed.
So, ‘The Spectator’. I tried out the ‘Talking to Myself’ thing when thinking of articles to write to kind of bring together a whole bunch of random thoughts into one, but I lost some steam trying to think of a list of insightful or worthwhile topics every week. But I continuously found myself wanting to write something each week, and to share some of the share-worthy parts of the internet in my own way. Ya know, with some ultimate.
So this is it. I’m trying out mix between what The Verge does with ‘The Weekender’, and kind of what Vice Sports has with ‘Week in Review’, and other similar end of week aggregators and opinion-havers. Some opinion, some outside links, some related to ultimate, and some not. At the bottom of each, there will be this little form link. It’s what I’m using to make sure I save articles/videos/whatever, and anyone who stumbles upon something can share it to be included in the future. Here we go!
The sport of ultimate could be in 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan. WFDF helped to announce the news earlier today, and it’s certainly really exciting that ultimate being on such a stage couldn’t be that far off from reality. Among 26 other sports, ultimate will now wait for a June 22nd shortlist of games that could potentially join based on the local committee’s recommendation. This Ultiworld article helps to break down the news in a much more digestible fashion.
In another post on Ultiworld, editor Charlie Eisenhood sounds down-right excited that ultimate could really be this close to inclusion. I am too. You should be too. This is fantastic news, even if you’re of the thought that the Olympics isn’t the right stage for ultimate to showcase its stuff. Some think that being on such a level will only further to ‘industrialize’ the sport, and help to take away unique qualities that ultimate possesses. But others see it as a stage for ultimate to only continue to grow, to showcase spirit of the game, and to really become a more legitimate sport.
But I have some tough news people. Ultimate doesn’t stand a chance. Sure, some people think baseball will be included because of the sport’s popularity over there. ESPN thinks that karate, squash, and roller sports have a good shot too. But this Deadspin post brought the wonderful group of underwater sports to my attention. Wow. How great would it be to watch underwater football? Or underwater hockey? Underwater rugby? I’m sorry ultimate, but this opportunity is too good to pass up. JJ Watt trying to take down whoever Canada has at QB all while using scuba equipment is just perfect. Maybe in 2024.
- Play some ultimate. The club season has started, but the events this weekend aren’t exactly ‘major’. But it’s summer! The weather is beautiful and sunny and just great. Go play some ultimate.
- There’s a Kickstarter for another Ultimate-product! This time, the UK-based ‘Flik’. It’s a coaching tool, with a website and mobile application in development. The Kickstarter page has some examples of their product, and it looks great! So if you’re so inclined, back Flik so this newest product can become reality.
- While I haven’t seen any direct ‘purchase’ buttons yet, be sure to start setting aside money for Ultiworld’s USAU Club video packages. Not only are they planning on filming USAU’s Triple Crown Tour series of events and Club Nationals, but they’re also exploring getting out to big regionals tournaments during the series, and other possible events (the Bro-Flight Finale is thought to be one). If it’s just you, it’s $50 a person if you buy early ($75 if not). The club team pack is $10 a player. Right now their estimate is at least 36-42 games, if not more. Buy your package, and watch the livestreams for great ultimate.
Listen to This
- Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment – SURF. The group that features Chance the Rapper and their album came out a few weeks back, but it’s worth a listen. There’s features from B.o.B., Busta Rhymes, and others. The tracks range from Beach Boys-esque, to almost disco-like.
- Stephen Colbert introduced his band leader for his take on Late Show – Jon Batiste and his band Stay Human. I’m excited. The albums on Spotify sounds great – with some jazz, blues, funk and everything else in there. It sounds like the perfect music to match Colbert’s comedy, or at least what’s been shown on YouTube so far for the Late Show. It sounds just as alive, just as wild as Colbert can be.
- First, some Women’s World Cup, in an article that was shared across social media by Riot’s Gwen Ambler and others. Women’s Soccer is a Feminist Issue by Maggie Mertens of The Atlantic. With one of the most important events in the sport taking place, Mertens argues that feminists need to start focusing on sports because of the role sports in general play in society today, and the vast inequalities that exist. The tale of one young semi-pro women’s soccer player, and how she had to leave the game due to the lack of equal pay, juxtaposed with the role media plays in how women are seen in sports. One quote in particular sticks out when thinking about ultimate, “The thinking goes that if women’s sports were worthy of more coverage, they would receive it.”
- Serena Williams is America’s Greatest Athlete by Ian Crouch of The New Yorker argues that Williams is not only a great tennis player, but the best athlete of this generation. She’s been playing for 15 years. 15. And she’s still dominating the women’s tennis game. He talks of how the -isms of America may have a role in how she is viewed, but also just because of how her career played out.
- Why We Write: On Game Critique, Influence, and Reach by Austin Walker of Giant Bomb does a great job discussing, and laying out the authors opinion of, how those who critique games can have an impact on games in general, and the culture surrounding them. He’s really addressing the “Hey, why are you forcing me/them/someone to do X because of Y!” argument that came up when he and others started talking about the race problems with the new game ‘The Witcher 3‘.
- And in ultimate related articles, Charlie Eisenhood of Ultiworld has started an interesting discussion with Here is the Best Ruleset for Ultimate: Fouling Out, Stall Clock, and No More Picks. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great start at the discussion.
The field width is spot on, sometimes the pro-league games simply aren’t fun to watch, travel calls out of the players hands could help speed up the game a little bit (but just a little is enough of a difference), and doing away with the hard cap for semis/finals – as was done at the 2015 College Championships – should be instituted by USAU instead of straight timed games. As he says at the beginning, this is a ruleset for the highest level of competition only, and I wonder how some of his suggestions would turn out with the less-competitive games/tournaments/etc. Especially in the college game, I think the differences in tournaments leading up to the series, the series, and then nationals could be significant. Go join the discussion on Ultiworld!
- At 8pm EST tonight (6/12) on FOX, the U.S. Women’s Soccer team takes on Sweden in the Women’s World Cup (game info here). Our site stats say that there is an international audience, so be sure to tune in and see your country’s best women battle the rest of the world! This is game #2 for the USA team, after their 3-1 win over Australia on Monday night. Many have them advancing far into bracket play, but Sweden is certainly a huge test.
- In other major sporting events, the Stanley Cup Finals are taking place right now – the Tampa Bay Lightning against the Chicago Blackhawks – Game 5 in this series is Saturday (6/13) at 8pm EST on NBC, with the series tied 2-2. Also at 2-all, the NBA Finals have been exciting as well – the Cleveland Cavaliers battle the Golden State Warriors again this Sunday (6/14) at 8pm EST on ABC.
- Ultimate time! I would tell you to watch the AUDL’s Game of the Week on ESPN3 featuring the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds at the Chicago Wildfire, but it’s at 8pm EST tonight (6/12) during the Women’s World Cup game. Sorry AUDL. Major League Ultimate and their streamed game on Sunday (6/14) has the Vancouver Nighthawks at the San Francisco Dogfish smartly before the NBA game, with a 4pm EST start.
Have something to share? Send us something on this Google form.