No Kids, Please
Last weekend I played another tournament with Mother Tongue, the English native speakers' team in the (Step?)Fatherland, and it was fun. Though, as usual, I found something to be annoyed by. One of the guys on the team had a son who can throw and catch. He's very young & small -- about 4 ft and maybe 8 or 10. So his dad lets him play a point or two in a game where we're getting whomped. Not such a problem for our team -- when you're down 9-0, replacing half the team with drunken spider monkeys won't bring down the level of play too much, but it was clearly awkward for the other team. They're cool, though, even when the 6ft+ guy guarding the kid catches a throw a foot over junior's head (and is good-naturedly booed for it). But then his dad lets him play in a tight game inside the last 5 minutes. What the hell? What happened to "he can play a few points if it's a blowout"? No asking teammates if it's ok, all of a sudden we have 6 adults and a minor on the line. Next day, another close game late, same thing. We're up by one and the dad lets him play. Grrrr. Should we try to throw to him knowing that it's a 60-70% chance of a turnover? Or should we be "nice" and try to get him the disc?
The worst part is for the other team. It's not fair for the person covering the kid to just stand around & do nothing, but they're going to feel bad if they D or score this little kid. It's bad enough that this happens in a game that's already been decided, but this makes it hard to cling to even a façade of competitive athleticism.
My question is, why is this OK in ultimate? You'd NEVER see a parent have their rugrat join in a game of football, basketball, soccer, tennis, etc. Instead, they take the socially accepted route of pushing the child into the sport of choice for the parent and browbeating/berating/guilt-tripping them until they grow too disgusted to play anymore. Or until they have to take performance enhancing drugs to match expectations. Either way, it's worked for decades. So, if you've got a kid that you think can play in ultimate tournaments, ask yourself if you're ok with all of these scenarios:
1. The opposing team will offer them alcohol.
2. JT, or someone of his ilk, will say something along the lines of "That throw is f***ing bulls***! Why the f*** are we throwing that g******** s*** still? Are we h**** w***ing morons? *&&%^^$$#&%, son of *&**$"* directly in front of your child (note: if your kids aren't playing but are only on the sidelines then such language is f***ing uncool -- otherwise it's free f***ing speech, biatch).
3. The same kinetic energy in "incidental contact" between two 6ft, 200 lb+ men go for a disc is transferred to your child.
4. The person guarding your child D's/intercepts all throws to them, then tries to score on them due to the blatant speed/height mismatch.