The final part of the academic program of TEP was a forum focussed on spirit and development of the sport. Eight presentations were given on ultimate and growth in Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, USA, Canada, the Dominican Republic and Australia. I gave a talk on Australian ultimate. My focus was basically the "other ultimate" that is a big part of our community, calendar and culture, as it is to varying degrees in many countries.
During the tournament itself, every game that I saw was a positive experience.
For the spirit prizes, the winners for TEP 2009 were Revolution in the women´s division and Sockeye in the men´s. The TD, Mauro, was very happy that two finalists took home the spirit awards, illustrating his point that spirit is compatible with high level play.
My personal experiences included calling, discussing, then withdrawing two fouls in the game against Kiê, and bottling up some serious frustration against Warao. That involved getting fouled on a throw (and feeling the smack firmly on the back of my hand), and then four Warao sideline players instinctively yelling "no" loudly when I called foul. The lack of perspective or trust from them had me silently jumping up and down for seconds, wanting to yell back.
My team Oso-Matanga had none of the really negative experiences of Nationals. The wish to play with spirit was repeatedly mentioned by several of our leaders. This really reaped rewards against a team like Warao who were motivated and who we knew to be a big challenge, but we seem to deflate them by discussing calls calmly and briefly, and even accepting some tight line-calls that weren´t in our favour. They lacked "fire" as a result, which helped us play our game, and win. I felt that we had decided to make the game spirited, and we controlled this.
I received the even more cheery news that Oso played a very spirited rematch against Euforia two weeks later, in the final of Disco Volador 2600. Without foreigners like Sockeye or Furious (or myself) around, and with some established hotheads back on both teams, these two rivals met in an important final and played a spirited game. I hope it is a pattern from here on in.