Sports have some unwritten policies, including making people accountable for being cheaters.

In the Washington D.C. area, we had enough players to add a corporate league one year. One team was from a law firm. Troubles ensumed. There was only one idiot, but he made up for it by being an extra-sized idiot, and rather dangerous to boot.

His defense was insane, and I do not mean insanely good or insanely intense. He covered me three times in the first half. The first time, I caught the disc on the run, then slowed to a stop, set my pivot foot and stepped out ready to throw a flick. This process takes a few seconds. *After* this, Blam! He wipes me out from the blind side; a full speed impact. We both go down in a heap. Mistakes happen, although not so long after the catch, so we played on: no harm, no foul. But next play, same damn thing! I’m set up & checking my downfield receivers, then Blam! Another blindside wipeout! Now I’m a little pissed. He was either incredibily incompetent or doing it dliberately. Either way, he needed to be stopped. 

My next catch started the same way: I caught on the run, slowed to a stop and set my pivot foot. But this time, instead of leaning left to set up for a throw, I leaned right, braced myself for an impact and started counting seconds. And sure enough, partway through “three one-thousand” the idiot came screaming in, dead sprint, from the blindside again. But this time, instead of a soft landing zone where he could use my body to absorb his impact, he rammed himself into my shoulder. While I, a former rugby player, was set; ready to take a hit. He dropped like a rock. 

Good, thinks I; he’s learned a valuable lesson about not overrunning players in a non-contact league. Blindside hits are always dangerous and are never allowed in Ultimate. But unbelievably, he bounces to his feet and starts yelling in my face. This crossed a line. I threw the disc to the ground, hard, and gave him A Look. I can be pretty intense and I was pissed; that apparently came across. He instantly shut up and walked away. And he did not wipe out another player that day. 😉 

There was an odd moment afterwards though. I mentioned the play to a friend of mine, who actually had introduced me to Ultimate years before. She thought I’d done something very unsporting; shameful even. But I thought it through, with that in mind, and I stand by the play. The only dangerous thing I did was brace myself for an impact that shouldn’t happen in the first place! And the guy was going to eventually hurt someone; not all Ultimate players have decades of background in contact sports.

2 thoughts on “Retribution

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