I've been meaning to post this photo for a week now. Last weekend, after joining a drop in Ultimate Frisbee training evening near Tilburg, I was invited to play on their league team that needed a player! They picked me up near Oosterhout and we headed off for a full day of plastic chasing fun in Amsterdam. Yes! The mythical city of Amsterdam.
What a cool experience.
The team picked me up in Oosterhout and we made the 3 hour drive to Amsterdam for a full day of games. Everyone was speaking Dutch, it was a full out cultural sporting experience. I hadn't really played in 8 months, plus I had a bit of bruised heart, so my game wasn't exactly 100%. Its amazing how emotions can effect you. Yet, it was not only therapeutic, but fun.
However, the reason I so adamantly wanted to post this is because of what the Dutch did at the end of each game. Ultimate, unlike football, handball or other traditional sports, doesn't have a referee and thrives on a truly exceptional and progressive spirit. It gets intense and competive, but never in a negative, divisive way. At the end of each game all the players gather around in a circle and put their arms around each other. A player from each team then comments on the game and wishes the other team well.
One of our players, observed at how different Ultimate is to his experience playing football in the Netherlands-- where everyone is tackling, jostling, arguing and generally being agressively more competitive. However, in the circle, any hard feelings that might have arisen over the course of the game quickly evaporated. It might look cheesy in the picture, but it was actually quite a profound and really effective conclusion to each match.
Beautiful. If sports are a reflection of our social patterns and philosophies, then, there's hope in Ultimate!