Thursday, July 17, 2008


The Moral Relativist and the Ho

This is a confession about a man, a Ho, and right or wrong.
What is right? What is wrong? Is it wrong not to cut deep when
someone has the disc on the sideline with a free backhand,
and you are being fronted? In a morally absolute world, yes!
But just as the fist bump can be a friendly greeting or a terrorist
call to arms depending on which network you watch, the
culture you play in has a lot to say about what is right and wrong
on the field.

I just came back from a 4-on-4 practice with the Condors, who
graciously let an aging master take the field with them prior
to worlds (and even more graciously are lending the US team
two star-spangled players -- Hollywood and Dugan).
Anyway, for 90% of the practice I was completely ineffective
and completely unawares. People wouldn't cut for me when
I wanted them to, and I was generally not making an impact
on O. I attributed this to my glacial speed and to being
an unknown factor with the disc. To be sure, that's
part of it. But the other part was something I realized only
toward the end: they were playing a 4-person Ho stack.
For the most part, the man in the center was live, there was
some lateral handler motion, and some circulation among
roles. I was ineffective because I assumed vertical the whole
time and was generally hanging out -- hence clogging -- the
center lane. (They were probably too polite to yell at me.)

The other part of my inability to make an impact was that
during situations when I was looking to advance the disc --
e.g. deep, as in the situation described at the start -- they
were not seeing me as being in a power position. Maybe
the person I wanted to cut was in a resting pattern. Maybe
I was not looking for the naturally "live" player or in the
natural direction of flow for the Ho. So what was right
to me was wrong to them. Likewise, I was not seeing
cutting opportunities that were obvious to them.
I was resting when they were looking for me to cut.
(After my epiphany, I was able to play somewhat more
effectively and with much less energy, since I had an
idea of what was about to happen.)

It is important for a team to be on the same page. There
needs to be some unspoken understanding of what
is to come. But is this necessary state of affairs also
too limiting? Are potential opportunities squandered?
Why not have an offense which is able
to see the opportunities for both patterns of play
and exploit them -- an offensive flex? (Like a defense
which switches mid-pont.) Is this even possible?
It should be. If it is theoretically possible to score
based on the current playing position, then it should
be possible for an offense to recognize this.

I am too tired -- did I mention that I was slow and just
trying to keep up? -- to explore what this would look
like, but my inner moral absolutist wants to know.

Hey, that's an interesting insight. The stack is for people who aren't cutting, so in a 4 on 4 game, there is no stack, yet it still feels like it, and players play as if there is a stack. There are also some situations in 7 on 7 ultimate, like some fast breaks or after two yardage passes up the line, that there is no stack to speak of, yet it still matters.

Hmm, so perhaps there can be a new paradigm that shifts the concept of stack. When explaining the stick, I usually say it's where cuts originate from, but that's not really what has to be, merely what is. "The Man" started out as a one-person ho stack, essentially. And many good long cuts start from clearing position, not from the stack. And give and goes start from the thrower. So let's see this developed more, Zaz. Please finalize this by Worlds so we can run the new paradigm.
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