Asian Ultimate: A Changing Game

Posted by: on Jul 4, 2014 | 12 Comments

This is a guest article by Aaron Herman and Martin Page from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Here they examine what they see as changes in the attitudes some have had regarding the management of tournaments and those changes’ effects on the overall tournament experience for participants, using Gendermah in Singapore as a case study. They also offer suggestions for future tournament directors about information that ought to be provided to participants before they register for tournaments in Asia.

As mentioned, this is a guest article. The opinions therein do not necessarily reflect those of Asian Ultimate Life, myself (Jared), Jared’s Cambodia (and the pandas photographed there), or Agoda (through whom you should book hotels via links on this site[!]). I do support open discussion of issues that affect Asian Ultimate as a whole.

Your comments are very much appreciated. Whether you agree or disagree or just want to add your thoughts, all voices are welcome. I will be moderating the comments though. Every one of them. Emotional argument is fine, but personal attacks will not be tolerated, and will make me think less of you. I reserve the right to edit (noting my edits of course) or delete any comments I deem unfit for this site. If you have questions about this, please drop me a line at

As today is United States of America Independence Day, I will be unavailable to moderate comments from 2pm today until about noon tomorrow Cambodia Standard Time. So if your comment doesn’t go up immediately, that may be why.

Also, if you want to write a guest piece, that would be awesome. I can make it happen. Email me (


Asian Ultimate: A Changing Game

Part 1 – Gendermah 2014: Accountability, Responsibility & Money

The purpose of Part 1 of this report is to inform the ultimate community of issues that arose at the Gendermah tournament this past April in Singapore as well as related matters. It is our goal to ensure that organizational problems like this do not happen again and that future tournaments will be more enjoyable for everyone involved.

In the past few years, tournaments in Asia have had a disturbing trend. This trend had been for tournaments to accept too many teams on too few fields. This creates tournaments with short games and too many byes. It has gotten so bad, that we in Asia now consider it to be normal to have tournaments which will have games that are less than an hour long and have as many (or more) byes as there are games! The reason for this began with the best of intentions. Big tournaments had too many people wanting to play so they shortened the games and added byes so as to include more people. Unfortunately other tournaments copied this kind of format for another reason…money. Tournament organizers saw that by implementing the questionable practice of increasing the number of teams (without increasing the number of fields), and cutting out amenities, they could also increase profit.

We co-captain a men’s team based out of Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia. As Gendermah is one of the few single gender tournaments in SE Asia it seemed a natural choice for us to attend. We registered, paid our tournament fee and booked flights for the tournament. To prepare for the tournament we paid for field space around KL and trained each Saturday and Sunday the month leading up to Gendermah.

As the tournament date neared there seemed to be an unusual lack of communication and information. The tournament Facebook page provided nothing but the dates and a rough field location. We did receive one brief email five weeks before the tournament. All this told us was tournament deadlines (for submitting bids and paying fees) and let us know that there would be fruit, water and medals provided at the tournament.

Most tournaments provide a myriad of information months in advance on essentials such as hotels, transport, registration, activities, what\how many teams will be attending, how many fields there will be, how many games to expect, a basic tournament format etc. As of 18 days before the tournament, still none of this had been provided. As we had already invested quite a bit of time, money and effort into this tournament, this was quite disconcerting. Communication is essential to running a good tournament!

Two and half weeks before the tournament an email was sent out to the captains by the tournament director (who we will call by the pseudonym Fred). However this email created more questions than it answered. It informed us that there would be 23 teams at the tournament (despite the fact that organizers thought that they could only fit 5 fields at the tournament site). It let us know that the team fee had been reduced from $500 to $450 and that a partial reimbursement would be given at the tournament if any team had overpaid. We were informed that the only things that this tournament would provide would be…

– BPJ (Bread Peanut Butter and Jam)- ICE- WATER- FRUITS- LOADS OF ULTIMATE !!!!!!!
– LOADS OF FUN !!!!!!!!

Of course there are some obvious questions that come of this. Gendermah would be collecting over $10,000. Why were they only providing water, bananas and peanut butter? Where was the rest of the money going? In addition, why are the organizers promising “loads of ultimate” when they know that they cannot even provide field space for half of the teams? One source who plays on a top Singaporean team, and has direct access to UPA Singapore, has now informed us that of the $10,000 collected at Gendermah, only $2,500-$3,000 was actually spent on the tournament. UPA Singapore has been asked on six different occasions to respond to this issue yet has declined the opportunity. They have said that our numbers may be incorrect but refuse to provide any information on costs until their members meeting in December.

Despite our worries we decided to let it be and trusted that the tournament (now in its 5th year of existence) would be properly run and hoped that our concerns would be alleviated once we arrived. However, after the email mentioned above, another period of silence followed. The webpage was never updated, no additional information was sent. Finally on Thursday, two days before the tournament, 24 hours before our flights to Singapore, Fred finally sent out the schedule (attached below).

Gendermah 2014 Original Schedule

As you can see in the original schedule, that after all the preparation, money and effort our team had put forth, we were going to fly to another country and play a total of two 45-minute games on Saturday. One game from 8am-8:45am, another from noon-12:45pm, and that was the end of the day. One thing that one expects from “for profit” tournaments is that they will at least attempt to do a decent job on the parts of organizing the tournament that do not cost them money. The most important of these things is the schedule and the format. This original Gendermah schedule is by far the worst that we had ever seen.

Every important aspect of running a tournament (with the exception of registering teams and collecting money) had either not been done or had been done inadequately. Now we found ourselves scrambling to help fix things. A captain of one of the Singapore teams took over scheduling and we offered to help. Within a few hours we had put together and sent him the best possible schedule for a tournament that would have 22 teams (one had dropped out) and 6 fields (by making the size smaller they were able to fit a sixth field).

On Friday a new schedule was released yet the problems continued. The new schedule was an improvement, but it still had major issues which we pointed out. We were told that it was too late to correct the problems in Saturday’s schedule but that they would look into our suggestions for Sunday. At this point we had done the best we could and got ready for what we had come for, a weekend of ultimate!

By Saturday morning we trusted that the tournament was now in the hands of more capable people. You can imagine our shock at the captains meeting on Saturday morning when Fred, the same organizer who had been responsible for all the debacles leading up to Gendermah, took the lead and introduced himself as the tournament director. We had assumed that the more experienced members of UPA Singapore who had taken over the tournament as of Thursday would be in charge from here on out. At this point, although we knew it might cause Fred some embarrassment, we had to ask the captains if they were ok with Fred proceeding as tournament director. This might not have been the popular thing to do, but it was necessary and had the desired effect. For the remainder of the weekend Fred was to have no apparent role in running the tournament. When asked about this issue UPA Singapore responded by saying “UPA(S) unequivocally stands by the TD for GenderMah 2014 and any error or lapses (perceived or real) by said TD, we consider our own.

One of the things that was to be provided was water. Even this most basic necessity was not taken care of. We were told to walk to a nearby McDonalds and take water from the tap. This problem persisted on Sunday as well. There was water available for a brief period of time in middle of the day but that also ran out. Having sufficient water provided field side is the most important amenity that all tournaments should provide. On this issue UPA Singapore has responded and taken partial blame. Their reply, in part, states “we do agree that water is an essential amenity and we apologise that we did not ration sufficient water for Day 1 in the first place.

There were roughly 70-100 people coming from other countries for this tournament. Absolutely zero initiative was taken to help out these people that were putting in the most effort to come to Gendermah. There was no hotel information, no transport information, not even directions to the fields were provided without prodding. After the games on Saturday it took us an hour to find a taxi back to our hostel as the fields were in an area of town not frequented by taxis. Even some of the smallest one day hat tournaments have the foresight to help people from out of town with basics like this.

Upon leaving the field on Saturday the organizers still had not decided which format to use for Sunday. The Sunday schedule and game times were not sent out until 10pm Saturday evening! Thankfully, they had decided to use the format we had originally suggested.

On Sunday we were hoping to get some answers to our many questions. Why was Fred given the position of tournament director in the first place by UPA Singapore? When it became apparent that he was not proceeding properly with the organization of the tournament why did UPA Singapore not intervene? Why the lack of information and communication? Why the lack of basic amenities? Why had so little of the money which was collected for the tournament, been spent on the tournament?

It was the response we received when asking just one or two of these questions that peaked our interest. The organizers representing UPA Singapore (who had replaced Fred) were evasive and reluctant to provide answers. We were assured that they would get back to us with answers to our questions. They never did.

We waited more than 2 weeks and still received no answers. Finally we posted a minor question on the Singapore Ultimate Facebook Page. “Does anyone know the cost for renting the West Coast Park Fields for an Ultimate Tournament?” The response to this question was astounding. One of the leaders of Singapore ultimate responded to the post by calling the question’s poster an “asshole”, which was later deleted. Then UPA Singapore posted a lengthy formal response, without actually answering the question! Why did this mundane question provoke such hostility? All of these problems could have been solved with openness and honesty.

Additional notes =

1. It has been made known to us by multiple, separate sources, that certain Singapore teams are required to pay less money to participate in tournaments than teams traveling from other places in Asia. This despite the fact foreign teams are spending money on flights/hotels and that Singapore has by far the highest per capita income in SE Asia. We cannot confirm at this time if this occurred at Gendermah but it has certainly occurred at previous Singapore based tournaments.

2. We have taken the time to discuss this issue with tournament organizers, team captains, and the higher ups in the ultimate community around Asia. There were two main issues mentioned. The first is the fashion in which tournaments are being run. The second issue is overall lack of spirit of the game (SOTG).

An additional problem is that this attitude is spreading. We are already seeing similar issues with tournaments and SOTG in Malaysia. More and more young players are being taught that this how ultimate should be, and they do not expect anything more. People in the ultimate community are aware of this problem, but until now, little has been done about it. We in the Asian ultimate community need to work together, post issues publicly and insist upon a certain standard in tournament organization (and SOTG) throughout our continent.

3. This report has already been sent, in its entirety, to UPA Singapore so as to give them a chance to assist and to make sure all facts are accurate. They have responded, and significant alterations have been made to this report due to their clarifications. We thank them for their assistance. To their credit they took partial responsibility by stating

”we do acknowledge that we were slow to provide useful information such as public transport options to the field and the location of budget accommodation, which would have benefited players flying in from overseas. Similarly, we fully appreciate our failings in sending out the fixtures earlier than we actually did. We agree that there were lapses on the part of UPA(S) in these two aspects and we will ensure that such errors are not repeated for future tournaments. We sincerely apologise.”


Part 2 – For Profit Ultimate Tournaments: When the Goal is the Bottom Line

The purpose of this section is to:

1. Explain how the emerging issue of Ultimate tournaments being run for profit has created a situation in which all tournaments must now supply certain essential information before registering players and collecting fees.

2. Educate the consumers (ultimate players) so as to be able to better decide which tournaments to spend their money on.

If Gendermah was an isolated incident then it would be one thing. The problem is that it is not. It might be an extreme case but there are many other tournaments that have profit as a main goal. “For profit” ultimate tournaments are here to stay.

In the past, if an established tournament was being run by an experienced organizer, then there was no problem registering and paying in advance as one could trust that the money would be put to good use in order to provide us with a solid tournament. When attending such tournaments it was as easy as handing over whatever money that was asked for because one knew that the organizer’s primary goal was putting together a good event.

Unfortunately, things have changed. New tournaments are popping up every day due to the allure of over trusting ultimate players handing over money without asking to know what they will be getting in return. If a tournament is trying to make money then it becomes a product which is being sold. We must assume that organizers will make decisions as a business would, in order to increase profits. The overall goal of many of these tournaments is no longer primarily to provide a good tournament, but to sell a service. As a result, one can no longer pay in advance without knowing what they are purchasing. It is now necessary that tournaments provide potential registrants with basic details so that they can make an educated decision as to whether the tournament is worth their time and money.

It is difficult to clearly define what exactly makes a tournament “for profit” versus “not for profit.” Due to this, the only practical solution is that all tournaments must be required to provide certain information before opening registration and accepting money (see Part 3).

As members of the ultimate community, as well as educated and responsible consumers, we must insist this information be provided, and not blindly give our money away with no assurances as to what we will get back. The fact is that when having a “for profit” tournament it is sometimes in the interest of the organizers to sacrifice the amount of ultimate played and things which the tournament provides, in favor of maximizing earnings. If organizers of tournaments provide all relevant information before collecting money and players insist on this information before registering and paying, then we will see a huge improvement in tournament quality. There are now so many tournaments to choose from, let’s make sure the ultimate community has the right information in order to choose the best ones!


Part 3: Information That All Tournaments Must Provide Before Collecting Registration Fees.

1. How many full size fields will there be? If space is a problem and fields will be smaller that official size then this should also be mentioned.

2. What will be the maximum number of teams that will be accepted?

3. What is the maximum number of players which will be allowed per team (for hat tournaments only)?

4. How long will games be?

5. How many games will there be and how many byes will there be per day?

6. What additional amenities will the tournament provide? Shirts, discs, parties, meals, drinks, ice, massage, food and any other significant costs should be listed.

7. Will there be drinking water available field side for the entirety of the tournament?

8. Health and Safety Information – Will there be Medical Personnel? First Aid etc…?

9. Information for Non-Locals – Will there be logistical details and aid provided for players who are not local? These might include transport options, accommodation options, transport to\from the fields, hotel discounts etc…

10. What will the profits be used for? This is optional but sometimes this could actually encourage registration if profits will be used for a good cause. Even if the profits are simply going to support the organizers Ultimate team or association it is better to be open.

11. Any other relevant information on the tournament. Make sure that your consumers know what they are buying!


1. For certain items such as “Health and Safety” and “Information for Non-Locals” it is not necessary to have all the details listed at the time which registration is opened. Simply stating what will be available, and then providing details at the earliest time possible is sufficient.

2. For additional amenities, it is not necessary to list everything the tournament will provide however it is in the best interest of the organizers to tell the major things that the tournament will have. This will increase registration as people will see that they will be getting better value for their money.

This report has been written in hopes of educating, informing and aiding the ultimate community of Asia at large in order to provide a better experience for everyone while enjoying this wonderful game which we all love.


-Aaron Herman and Martin Page



Stay tuned to the Asian Ultimate Life facebook page and follow @asianultyblog on the twitter to see what’s new on AUL.


  1. Pieter Funnekotter
    July 4, 2014

    Thank you for raising these issues. I think that there are some serious concerns about how some tournaments are being run though I’m not sure that this issue is a new one. Perhaps it is getting worse?

    I think there are two key points raised by your commentary:

    – Are for-profit tournaments a good or a bad thing?

    Personally, I have run for-profit tournaments in the UK where profits were reinvested into the local team. Most large tournaments in the UK are run for-profit and run well. My own feeling is that profit is not the chief concern but that transparency and quality are the key concerns. When I participate in tournaments, I want a high quality experience. If the organiser or the organising team make some cash of it? Good for them.

    – Is there something we can all do as tournament coordinators to be more transparent and better set expectations of players coming to our events?

    I feel that this is the major issue. Not providing water at a tournament is outrageous. As is not warning teams that they’ll have only an hour or so of playing time all day. To them make a large profit off such a tournament and charge local players a lower fee presents major concerns about that tournament.

    I think taking your “Part 3” and turning it into an optional, positive document that helps organisers set expectations would be best. None of us can demand that organisers abide by certain regulations, though sending through this document and asking for answers might be something that teams should do prior to signing up for a tournament. Even better, organisers could be proactive in responding to its guidelines.

    Doing so would help improve transparency, set expectations and act as a checklist for new tournaments or new tournament directors/organisers.

    Personally, I vote with my feet. I attended a horribly run and expensive Singapore Open a few years ago (one that included a 40cm+ metal spike mid-field). The laissez-faire attitude of the organisers in responding to our concerns was shocking. I have never attended another tournament in Singapore since.

    I’m looking forward to the MUO in two weeks. The team have done a great job at getting information out well in advance and setting expectations (especially around transport). I’m sure it will be a great tournament – as long as enough taxis show up!



  2. Lincoln
    July 4, 2014

    As a previous organizer of tournaments, I do have empathy with the TD – as sometimes things are out of your control or it’s tough to balance your real life responsibilities and the huge task of organizing a tournament. Without having the right support team in place, it really is a lot of work to organize a big tournament.

    As a captain though, I would be pissed off if there was only two, 45 minute games, and that there was no water.

    Important thing for the community / TD is to learn from the experience and don’t let the same mistakes happen again. Having a capable tourney organization team is key !

  3. friend
    July 4, 2014

    Very unfortunate but I agree those were valid points raised by the contributor. I understand that the organisers should be compensated for their time and effort but overcharging fees and not being transparent about how they are spent is not the way to business.

  4. Howie
    July 4, 2014

    Read through the entire article, which was very well put together and just thought I’d leave my thoughts from a Singapore player’s perspective (I speak for myself and not in any way on behalf or for UPA(S):
    Gendermah started out and remains as Singapore’s only Open and Womens tournament. Unlike Singapore Opens, where it is now subject to a qualification phase, the simple goal was to provide all Singapore teams, regardless of level, to play against each other to raise the level of ultimate in Singapore. It started off with a small number of teams, but with the success of the tournament locally, together with the rapid growth of the sport in Singapore, it meant that there were 20 local clubs who took part this year.

    I think where Aaron may have been let down was his expectation that this was an international tournament for international teams i.e. like Singapore Opens, Manila Spirits. Unfortunately, Gendermah came from a much more humble beginning where it was a tournament by Singaporeans for Singaporeans (the name of the tournament in itself is a local pun mixed in English, Chinese and Singlish). It is therefore much more akin to Sunday League, where we go down to have a good time with our friends without much worry about what food is gonna be on offer, and whether there is cheap beer. We just turn up and figure things out on the way.
    I do suspect that Aaron’s expectation of getting a 3 Michelin star meal when he was really just going to dinner at a local hawker (albeit one which the locals love) is unfortunately the reason for his whole disappointment. Unfortunately, there isn’t a Miele Guide for ultimate for players to do their homework to help them make the decision to make the trip or, if they do make the trip, to manage their expectations.

    And all this talk about profit –I’m not quite sure where its coming from. The entry fee for a team was $450, which means if you had a team of 20 players, that’s S$22.50 per person which is significantly less than the tournament fees for other tournaments. Given the cost of living in Singapore, that about the cost of 2 pints of beer (on happy hour) or a plate of pasta and a decent Italian restaurant. Its not bad for a 2 day tournament with BPJ, ICE, WATER, FRUITS AND LOADS OF FUN.
    I’m not within the committee for UPA, so I can’t confirm this was the case for Gendermah, but I do recall UPA providing me with an insurance claim during one of the UPA sanctioned tournaments which I was injured in. This was probably another one of the many ‘hidden cost’ for the benefit of all players, but I guess if you can’t put it in your mouth, or chug it in a boat race, its not worth very much.

    Still on the topic of profits, I don’t think UPA is under any obligation to disclose financial figures on request. They do do so at their Annual General Meeting, which anyone is more than welcome to come down for (there is free beer then). But having played ultimate in Singapore for 8 years and watch Singapore ultimate grow, I can safely say any profits that UPA has taken from tournaments, it has ploughed it right back into developing the local scene (an example is subsidiaries for students to take part in tournaments such as Gendermah, which could have been mistaken by people outside of Singapore for a cheaper entry fee for such student teams). How else is ultimate now recognized with the Sports Singapore, how else are we sending 3 teams (one mixed, one open and one womens team) to compete at WUCC in July, how else did we manage to very successfully host the Asia Oceanic Ultimate Club Championships last year.

    Lastly on the facebook post to which the poster was called an “asshole”… just to get the context right (which seems to be sorely missing in the entire article), I’ve posted the last three post, the first being the official reply from Angelina (representing UPA), the second being Aaron’s reply and the last from Mike Narodovich who really provides a good third party perspective:

    Good morning Aaron. I’m Angelina, we met at GDM and I’ll be replying on behalf of UPA(S).

    Regarding the cost of fields, as pointed out above, the numbers are public and available online. Just to build on this, UPA(S) reveals figures and accounts to members at our Annual General Meetings.

    We regret any unpleasant experience that you might have had during the GDM. We want to address your concerns and work on your feedback. As communicated to you before, please email us at and we will reply you accordingly. This will help us make everyone’s experience better for subsequent events.

    Angelina Dass
    Media, Publicity, Communications

    Aaron Herman Hi Angie,
    I am quite surprised that I am receiving a formal response from UPA Singapore to this seemingly mundane question. For now I am simply trying to find the rates for renting west coast park for a weekend. I see that peak rates are $680. However, whether that is hourly, half day or full day is a bit vague. Since you guys recently rented these fields for Gendermah would you mind helping me by letting me know the amount which was paid for that weekend?
    Beyond that, if there happen to have been mistakes or shortcomings in recent Gendermahs or Singapore opens which UPA(S) would like to address, then I feel it would be best to do so in a public forum such as this one. If such mistakes have occurred, then usually the best thing to do is take responsibility, show accountability and display a desire to learn and improve .

    Mike Narodovich
    “(disclosure: Aaron and I played at the 1st Gendermah on Vudoo and we shopped for tampons together the day after). Aaron, you’re implying something amiss with the recent tourney so step up and post it here, don’t beat around the bush all passive like.. But before that go find 5 people who really agree with you and they should post/like/comment immediately afterwards. It would be great if one of them was a UPA(S) member since this is their forum after all. Post responsibly, this page is their face to their members and community. No organization likes to focus their energies on a single crank (and us American’s are good at being cranks) and this Forum belongs to UPA(S) to manage as they see fit. UPA(S), your old timers know me, I haven’t been down in while. I can be a d*ck. I’ve also organized in China for 8 years. It’s your call to take the discussion private or not, but it’ll just end up on other pages/posts anyway. Its an interesting idea, if someone attends a for-profit tourney run by UPA(S), then they are helping to fund the organization for everyone else, should they have a voice rather than bundled off to a private email? I don’t care to see your P&L, I agree tourneys should not lose money. Anyway, here is my interest in the discussion. Costs in Shanghai are going up too and we’re worried how to run tournaments/organizations that are sustainable but where people don’t feel jipped. I remember all the chatter when Sing tourney hit 100USD for the first time, China will be there soon. I think price:value ratio didn’t matter when there were 5 international tourneys a year. There are so many now. China is going where Singapore is, tons of players, lots more teams, lots more tourneys. Anyway, see you in a week, see where this discussion goes, if it does…”

    To conclude, the fact that this whole episode is blown out of proportion is upsetting personally because Gendermah is one of the few tournaments where we Singaporeans can just let our hair down and enjoy the getting together of our Ultimate community. The tournaments doesn’t need to be perfect and the laid back nature of it (amidst the usual intense competition between clubs at nationals or Singapore Open) is exactly why we love it the way it is. I’m sorry our Malaysian neighbours didn’t enjoy their time here, but I for one, for the price I paid, am pretty happy with this ‘kampong’ tournament.

  5. Jared
    July 4, 2014

    Hey all, thanks for the comments so far. Haven’t had to block anything. The rain in Phnom Penh has stopped. My 4th of July will begin. I won’t be able to approve more comments until tomorrow. I’ll get back to work as soon as I’m functional.

    To clarify one issue that came up in private conversation. I did not write this article. I posted it by request of the authors. I posted it because public discussion of these types of issues are better than people talking behind each other’s backs. I take no stance on it.

    I didn’t play at Gendermah. I don’t know if there were fields, nachos, or unicorns that crapped rainbows (“unicorns crapping rainbows” added to Phnom Penh Hat potential theme list). Can’t comment on it.

    I’m just here to help us have discussions about issues that ultimate players in the region care about. If you want to hate me for it, to be honest, there are much better reasons to hate me.

    Happy America!

  6. Mike
    July 4, 2014

    Good article, now time to repost and let the comments roll. Re;for-profit, organization run a year-long financial plan. Some events make money, some spend money. Fair value at a tournament definitely matters, no matter what the fee (high or low.)

  7. Name*
    July 4, 2014

    I do agree fully with the whole spirit of the game. I started playing ultimate in Australia and I am so grateful I started there or else with the level of SOTG in Malaysia and Singapore, I would have totally threw my interest out the window in an instant. I’m not saying every ultimate player is horrible but a huge majority do not practice it at all. Its such an appaling difference when I play in Brisbane as compared to playing in Malaysia against players from Malaysia itself and Singapore. I personally had two bad experiences that I would like to share because I feel these two are particularly disheartening and should never be seen in the sport of ultimate at all if the ultimate in South East Asia wants to progress.

    1. At a hat tournament, team members almost got into a fist fight over disagreements on how each other played. A hat tournament albeit being competitive should always focus on togetherness and introducing new players to the game. So do away with a D line and an O line because its just pathetic. Do away with intimidating less experienced players who just want to enjoy an introduction to the game.

    2. At a recent club tournament, I was in the end zone a second away from scoring a point for my team courtesy of a huck. Just as I jumped yo catch the disc, I was bundled over by an opponent who crash into me mid-air and landed on me afterwards. The collision of course stopped me from scoring and also tore open a big chunk of skin which was bleeding for awhile even after I had it treated. I of course called a foul on the contact for which the player contested, giving the reasons “You stopped running” and “I had a play on the disc”. Let me be clear, I stopped because I was already at arm’s length from the disc, what purpose do I have running further on? And secondly, having a play on the disc is never an excuse for bundling a player over let alone when I was at least 5 steps away from him when I leaped.

    My point is, I have never been so disgusted by the level of spirit we have here and I certainly would like to see a greater emphasis on spirit of the game so that more beginners would come in and make ultimateand enjoyable sport that we all love.

  8. Name*
    July 7, 2014

    I have to wholeheartedly agree with the SOTG issue in SE Asia. If I had started out playing in that region, I wouldn’t have lasted more than maybe the first 1-2 games. As it is, I’m surprised I stuck with it as long as I did, given the negative experiences I routinely had playing there.

    The first pickup game I showed up to in SE Asia, I was promptly informed it had become a “closed” game. I’ve played ultimate on 4 continents and I’ve never found a closed game anywhere but there. From that point on, I found a few things constant: the general unfriendliness (particularly to newcomers), the subliminal presence of cliques and in-groups, and the sense that below the surface there was a lot more going on than a newcomer could really pick up on.

    I found one person in my entire experience there who was willing to spend some time helping me improve. The level of physicality in play was orders of magnitude higher than my previous experiences. It was not uncommon as a non-expert player, and a relative new-comer, to spend many consecutive points and even entire games never touching the disc. It also wasn’t uncommon to have people – even on your own team – to talk down to you, deride your play, or think they were getting away with talking out of your earshot. At tournaments this could turn into full blown yelling and screaming – again, between team members in some cases.

    One thing I don’t think anyone can deny is that ultimate is an international sport, and in the Asia region in particular I found the above behaviors and attitudes to make no distinction in the races of those they emanated from. This included myself: I found that this kind of culture just rubs off on you – it makes you mad that ultimate can be bastardized that way, and the only way to fit in is to “play the game,” and I don’t mean ultimate itself.

    It’s not a surprise to me at all that this would be the soil out of which slimy, secretly for-profit tourneys would spring out of. I would want nothing to do with this and not just because something as basic as field time or water (of all things) wasn’t properly sorted. I think there’s a lot of justifiable finger pointing going on here, but when that’s happening from all sides, it speaks to deeper issues.

    I feel like the ultimate scene in Asia needs a serious re-set, but I’m not sure there’s any magic pill for that. Granted, my experience there was limited, but my experience in the ultimate scene as a whole isn’t, and what I can say from playing in dozens of countries world wide is this: I would recommend ultimate to friends of mine traveling to the places I’ve been blessed to travel and play ultimate around the world, except in SE Asia. To friends headed that way, I do them a favor and don’t mention it at all.

  9. Brendan
    July 7, 2014

    I’d just like to second what Howie wrote (I also don’t speak on behalf of UPA(S) in any way).

    To me, it seems clear that the key failing was setting of overseas teams’ expectations. As Howie mentions, this really is a local tournament that has been extended to allow overseas guests to join if they wish, and they are very welcome. It’s a rare chance to play Open or Women’s ultimate in the region, at a very reasonable cost.
    However, for $20 or so each, you should realise you aren’t going to be getting anything on par with the bigger international tourneys.

    It’s pretty tough to take an opportunity like this to completely bash the efforts of a whole bunch of volunteers.
    We’ve all played in good and bad tournaments. If you want to help, provide the organisers with some constructive feedback. This reads more like an extended airline service rant, masquerading as a constructive effort to help by providing a useful checklist at the end.

    • Martin
      July 7, 2014


      $20 per player, I agree, is more than reasonable. However, the problem is not the money paid per player; the problem is that tournament organizers accepted way too many teams which resulted in shorter games and smaller fields. With the number of teams involved and the large amount of money raised, we should expect a minimum in return. Gendermah is just an example of this rising problem.

      Organizers should plan ahead and be open about the intended format so teams can have a better idea of what they are signing up for, that’s all.

      You are right that in some ways, the overseas’ team expectation were probably too high for what was apparently supposed to be more of a smaller local tournament but when the only information given was that the maximum number of players per team is 28 one can expect more than just two 45-minute games on the Saturday.

      This is becoming more and more of a problem and that is why part II and III are there as a guideline for future tournaments.

      Feedbacks and comments were provided to UPAS and they did recognize some of the flaws. We just want to make sure that in the future teams know what to expect and players know what they are signing up for. If organizers are well prepared and communication is efficient, frustrations, such as the one raised in the article, will be kept to a minimum, which can easily be done.

      I do hope that people see this more as constructive criticism with suggestions to avoid unnecessary frustrations rather than seeing this as an ‘airline service rant’ against Gendermah.

  10. Matt
    July 7, 2014

    Only comment I’m going to make at the moment is to those commenters who are playing the volunteer card. It doesn’t matter if it’s organized by volunteers. It doesn’t matter if it’s ‘hard to organize a big tournament along with all your everyday obligations.’

    Volunteer [voluntarily]: done or given because you want to and not because you are forced to : done or given by choice

    It is entirely unreasonable to volunteer to do something (making a commitment that will ultimately reflect upon your club and effect the experiences of all the players who attend a tournament), do a poor job and then turn around and say, “well I was just a volunteer.” If you don’t have the time or the talent to get something done, don’t volunteer to do it.

  11. Name*
    July 20, 2014

    Hi all,

    I can’t comment on Gendermah, but find it interesting that this issue was brought up for a Singapore tournament. Singapore used to run the best tourney in Asia, and I LOVE the way the game has grown there. There has been so much growth in the local scene and a tremendous emphasis has been placed on getting the game in the schools. Go Singapore!

    I am commenting because I hope my last experience and the article here don’t point to a trend in the quality of Singapore tournaments. I have played in 4 different Sing Opens, yet the last time I played, in 2012, the experience was surprisingly bad. The tourney format and games were well designed, but the fields were terrible and execution didn’t match my previous experiences in Singapore.

    I remember the tourney fee being more expensive than any years before, and we still ran out of water on the sidelines on day 2, ran out of lunch one day, and played on really uneven, hard fields. There was also no party, which there had always been in years past. I understand the shift to a more competitive local scene which leads to a lack of partying, but this information was communicated last minute and explained as a need to save money. Fair enough, as Singapore is really expensive. Better to save the funds for the ultimate, right?

    But even with this savings, the fields were really bad. Some fields visibly sloped downward from one endzone to the other, almost all fields had several potholes, and they were extremely hard. At least two of my teammates got injured from ground contact, one seriously enough that he could not play day two, and there were several ankle issues as well. All this could have also been forgiven if this was really all our entry fee of $100 per player bought us. But in conversations with some of the Singapore players, they told me the fields were free.

    I have no problem with a tourney making money to support their local community (I think SH does this, not sure about Spirits), but not at the expense of the ultimate and potentially the health of the athletes. At $100 a head, I am sure better fields could have been found. Take away all of our amenities (except water) and I would be 100% happy if the fields and the ultimate were awesome. For $100 each, we got two days of ultimate on free fields, water for 70% of the time, and 2 lunches. I think we may have also gotten a disc or a shirt. Seems a little odd from a place that used to put on the BEST tournament in Asia, and I hope it was just an anomaly. We will all pay more for a better experience, but please don’t put my teammates at risk for injuries so you can finance your club for the rest of the year. Just something to think about….

    Maybe someone can comment on how the 2013 tournament went for comparison?


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