Spirit Changes Coming To Next Season of Play

September 23, 2020 at 10:19am


Spirit of the Game is taking focus with MODS teams and programs as we head into our next season!

Our Board of Directors met last year and discussed the work being done to address the decline in Spirit of the Game. As a result of their initial work, a working group was formed, and they spent months reviewing how MODS handles Spirit of the Game (SOTG) and also promotes it throughout their programs. The result of their hard work was a manual with suggestions for improvements in MODS programs and we had hoped to start implementing those changes this past summer with our outdoor programs. 

Then COVID-19 happened and with so many changes to our programs, timelines and operations the changes to SOTG were put aside for a few more months to allow everyone to focus on the changes being made to health and safety around the pandemic.

With many of our summer players now moving indoors for programming this fall and winter, we feel it is time for us to begin the push towards improving Spirit of the Game. Please check below to see two of the new initiatives that will play out over the next few months, through October, November and December.

Spirit Captains now required for all teams in all programs...

While promotion of our best and most spirited players is a good step, the ultimate changes in Spirit of the Game will have to take place on the field. The new spirit captain role will be an independent role from the captain and will handle internal spirit issues within their own team and will also work with the spirit captain from the other team to address concerns during the game and afterwards. Below, we list some of the roles of a spirit captain to help teams with their planning heading into the new indoor season.

  • Spirit captains will meet with the opposing teams spirit captain 5 minutes before the game to introduce themselves and set a positive tone for the match. Should the spirit captains not be able to meet ahead of the match, they must get together no later than the disc flip (with the captains) to start the game. We encourage spirit captains to join their captains for this tradition to start games even if they met ahead of time.
  • Spirit captains first responsibility is to promote spirit within their team and also hold their team accountable to good spirit on and off the field. If there is a spirit concern, we are hoping the captain will catch it and address it before the other team does (handling the issue internally between team-mates).
  • Should there be spirit concerns with another team, the spirit captains would be the ones to talk on the side of the field and address this. Allowing the game to continue and adjustments to be made without disruption, while helping to solve the concern and bring about a positive environment.
  • Should the captains not be able to resolve the concern, they could talk after the game or work on addressing their concerns to the MODS office or MODS Conduct Committee (for formal complaints and review).
  • A "Spirit Time Out" can also be called by the spirit captains. This is a new time out being offered to help pause a game if a reset is required. The spirit captain should initiate this for their team should a problem not reach resolution between captains, should there be any type of egregious incident requiring immediate discussion or should players notice a consistent degradation in the game (as it relates to spirit).
  • More about this role will be discussed at captains meetings and in emails leading into the season. However, should you have any questions, please reach out to our Operations Director at any time.

The use of spirit time-outs...

If a team’s Spirit Captain believes that either or both teams are failing to follow the Spirit of the Game, they may call a “Spirit of the Game Stoppage”.

This can only be called:

  • After a call which stops the play or any other stoppage, prior to the disc being checked in.
  • After the end of a point and prior to the ensuing pull.
  • Other considerations to follow: 
    • During this stoppage, neither team may engage in tactical discussions.
    • All team members of both teams will form one “Spirit Circle” in the middle of the field with both teams (using social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic).
    • Separately from the In-Game Spirit Circle, the two opposing Spirit Captains shall discuss all current issues with adherence to SOTG, determine actions to rectify those issues, and then convey the agreement to the Spirit Circle.
    • SOTG stoppages do not affect time-outs available.
    • After the timeout is over, teams can set up and game restarts as after a normal time-out

Promoting our leaders from within...

The best examples of Spirit of the Game come directly from our membership and there is no one we would want to celebrate more than the best within our own community! With the help of the Canada Summer Grants program, we were able to hire a summer, fall and winter staff member in Marissa Naylor (wesbite). Marissa will be part of the MODS staff at our indoor venues who come by to check on teams and protocols, collect roster sheets for games and more importantly - she will be in charge of building our inventory of member and league photographs!

Many of our members have been asking us to increase the use of member photos and so Marissa will help us to do not only that, but each week she will be highlighting the best our indoor members and teams have to offer when it comes to SOTG. These posts will be shared with everyone, promoting, celebrating and creating celebration around Spirit. The best of the best will also be recognized in weekly prizing through our Humans of Ultimate promotion!

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