By: Jimmy Leppert
Hello and welcome to ‘The Spectator’. Talking MLU in the one thing, and making sure you know about this weekend’s happenings everywhere else.
The DC Current beat the Philadelphia Spinners 26-24 in an OT game. Some un-ultimate-like things happened between players. The MLU has been a mess ever since.
Shout-out to r/ultimate for bringing this up a few times over the past week. The game in question happened way back at the beginning of June, on June 6th to be exact, in Philadelphia. Watch the whole game on Youtube if you want. Suspensions from what happened in this game were only just handed out, on June 14th, and recently updated today (June 19th). The suspensions are weird and everything that’s happened since they were first announced makes it all even weirder.
Here’s the original r/ultimate thread about what happened. A cached version of the original can be found here. But then something strange happened. The original suspensions were then changed. The language used by the league to describe what happened, and how the suspensions would be dealt with changed. Before they could be changed, the MLU removed the post. The thread on r/ultimate has a lot of discussions about what actually happened on the field, all while questioning why the league was doing this (especially while leaving the footage out there).
Then on the 19th (Friday) the league updated the article, and talked again about the suspensions (view here). What was written though hasn’t helped to make the article any more clear. In fact, it gives us a lot less facts about what the hell happened out there in the eyes of the league. The only definitive takeaway I get from the second article is that the league acted after reviewing it with many, and not just one.
Why all the editing, and changing statements? Why did it take so long for something like this to come out? As people in the reddit comments have noticed, some of what happened doesn’t differ much from other on-field antics the league has seen over the years. It adds onto an already strange year for the league, and what is deemed as negative for the league. Something like the ‘Chris Mazur vs. Dusty Rhodes’ thread comes to mind. I’m not as concerned with what happened, more of how it’s been handled within the league. The language they’ve chosen, the way they’ve presented themselves.
One of the reasons for the editing was that the first had a large amount of (what could be seen as) personal attacks to one of the players involved. Not good for a semi-professional league to have. The editing also removed some of the clarity in what exactly happened on the field, at least in the eyes of the league. Spirit of the game undoubtedly comes into play here, and how a professional ultimate game is perceived compared to the standard game. Not a good look for the league to have this happen, and for it to be botched the way it has.
That the newly updated article talks of how the suspensions of each help to “balance with” the loss of each player, as the two teams meet this weekend (on the MLU livestream no less), seems extremely unbecoming of a league’s statement. These two players had infractions that have caused you to suspend them. How your suspensions for their negative actions affects your product shouldn’t be a focus point for your notice at all. It shouldn’t be part of the narrative really.
I question what the hell the “league-approved course of actions” that Nick Purifico could follow to have his suspension reduced. The reddit comments talk a lot about how this part of either of the professional leagues has been clearly defined yet. When did ultimate need it to be though? Is that what professional ultimate is?
I suppose this all speaks to the general popularity of the league that this is only becoming a big deal weeks after the event though.
- Get your dad out to see some ultimate on Father’s Day. Each of the AUDL and MLU have games all weekend long, with the AUDL boasting 5 games on Sunday alone, to the MLU’s one game. Along with tournaments really starting to gear up across the country, it’s a perfect weekend to get dad out to see some discs, and bodies, fly.
- Speaking of tournaments, follow along with some of the first tournaments of many teams seasons across all three club divisions. Eugene Summer Solstice #37 features a top-notch Women’s division showing. Boston Invite 2015 has great competition across Men’s, Mixed, and Women’s. ATL Classic 2015 gets southern ultimate going for the season. And finally, Ft. Collins Summer Solstice features teams from around the area going at it. Keep Twitter close by for updates from all of the teams competing.
- Ultiworld’s club video subscriptions are available to purchase now! Check it out (and buy it now) so you can grab that early bird special. Seriously, go support them! As said last week, it’s $50 for the individual subscription, $250 for the team, right now. That’s a great price for all they offer.
Listen to This
- How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – Florence + The Machine. Again, I’m a bit late listening to this album. You may recognize earlier Florence songs like ‘Dog Days Are Over’ or ‘You’ve Got the Love’ – this new Florence definitely draws on that past sound, and uses it for a completely new sound that just plain rocks. Her same soulful voice is there to guide you through the extremely emotional songs. Starting with ‘Ship to Wreck’, it’s hard not to notice the guitar in this album – and I’m a huge fan of it – but the continued use of so many different sounds, either on the drumset, from an orchestra, or keyboard, helps the overall sound of the album grow.
- This week was E3 – the Electronic Entertainment Expo – in Los Angeles, California. There, each major gaming platform, publishers, and developers took to stages to deliver long winded talks on their new products, and the continuation of past products. One of the most exciting parts of this year’s E3 was a multiplayer trailer for the new Star Wars: Battlefront game that is coming out this fall, right before the new movie. If this kind of thing interests you, the Polygon Live interview with the senior producer of the game, Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir, was just great.
- Both the NBA and NHL Finals ended this week, with the Golden State Warriors and Chicago Blackhawks taking home the respective championships. Turn on any of the sports networks, and images from their celebrations, parades, and general ruckus are all over. From Grantland, a piece highlighting what life is like when you’re on the losing end of a championship – We Went There: The Darkness of Defeat Inside the Tampa Bay Locker Room by Katie Baker. “Losing the Cup is far heavier a burden than hoisting it above your head.”
- Matter, a magazine which publishes on Medium, published a selection of student’s works from a San Francisco area school who were tasked with answering the question, “What’s it really like to be 18 in America right now?” What struck me most about this was how the teacher, Mr. Ellis, chose to ask questions surrounding the experience of 18, and how the students were able to respond. There is your typical poetry, and essays, from the students. But there are Snapchats, links to music, tumblr posts, and ‘data diaries’.
- Some AUDL reading! From Nathan Jesson at Semi-Pro Ultimate, AUDL Playoff Projections now that ten weeks are completed in the 2015 season. Using Hollinger’s Playoff Odds for the NBA, Jesson constructed what the AUDL’s playoff odds are at this point in the season for each team in each division. In it, there may be some unfortunate news for teams that are still hoping for an AUDL playoff berth – as Jesson points out, much of what the model predicts is similar to what those in the know for the league have been saying.
- ‘Did Abby Score?’ The USWNT and the Weight of Expectation at the Women’s World Cup by Brian Phillips of Grantland helped expose me to a storyline that I wasn’t really sure even existed for the USWNT during their formation and the tournament, while talking about (arguably) the team’s best (and most well-known) player in Abby Wambach. How so many questions tied to the success of the team can be tied to the simple question posed in the title, ‘Did Abby Score?’ It’s a very interesting read as the USWNT prepares to play Colombia (6pm EST 6/22 on Fox) in the quarterfinals of the tournament.
- 2014 Seattle Riot Top 10 Highlights. Riot is just the best, aren’t they? They always seem to be releasing some awesome piece of video content with the help from Fulcrum Media.
- On Saturday (6/19), the AUDL’s Seattle Cascades visit the San Jose Spiders on ESPN3. With a 7pm PST kickoff (10pm EST), it’s a perfect bookend to a summer’s day. The two teams are locked in a playoff battle after the Cascades beat the Spiders in Seattle last weekend.
- Earlier on Saturday (6/19), you can tune in and watch the MLU’s defending champion’s DC Current take on the Philadelphia Spinners at 4pm EST. They too are locked in a playoff battle, and a victory from the Current keeps them on a title-defense path. But they are without Jonathan Neeley for this weekend, as detailed above, from a past meeting between these two teams.
- Oh, and if you’re not playing at all, the Women’s World Cup starts the knockout stage this weekend. It begins on Saturday, and continues through Tuesday. Full schedule can be found here – in case you’re wondering, Canada plays on Sunday night, USA on Monday night. It’s been great competition thus far, and should only continue now that teams can be eliminated in a single game.
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