Morning Pull: The Callahan Award


Courtesy of

Ultimate is unique in many ways. While the idea of ultimate being self-officiated is slowly falling by the wayside the fact that the sport has come this far without officials (for the most part) is impressive to say the least. To imagine a world in which football or baseball was self-officiated in any way results in some very interesting scenarios.

Batter: HOME RUN!

Outfielder: Nope, that was foul.

Batter: What? There’s no way!

Outfielder: How can you even try and argue with me? It’s clear that I had best perspective.


Receiver (directly after dropping a pass): Pass interference!

Defender: Pass interference? I contest!

Receiver: Fine, send it back to the thrower.

Quarterback: Alright! Everyone go back to where you were. Wait! Wait! Violation… that linebacker was nowhere near the hash marks and both of you defensive linemen were on the ground.

Suffice it to say that not only does the fact that ultimate is self-officiated make it different but the fact that it is played in a way that can make it self-officiated makes it very unique.

The Callahan Award is another unique aspect of frisbee. This is a “MVP” of types that takes into account the abilities and the sportsmanship of the players in question While plenty of other awards claim to take sportsmanship into account, Barry Bonds has won the MLB MVP three times. It appears that in most sports, sportsmanship is more of a lip service when it comes to the MVP award. Whereas the Callahan Comittee emphasizes it to the highest extent.

7. Voter’s Bonus

Each voter that selects the player that wins the Callahan Award as their number one choice (worth 5 points) and submits a ballot on or before May 20th might win one of 20 discs that are occasionally given away to voters. Should more than 20 voters select the winning candidate as their first choice, the 20 winners will be selected at random from all ballots that listed the winning candidate as their first choice. Voters winning discs will receive the disc via US Mail to their home (summer) address.

Note, sometime discs are sent out, sometimes not. It depends on how overworked the Callahan committee is during the months following the Callahan Award. The track record hasn’t been good.

8. Award Criteria

When casting their ballots, voters are to take the following criteria into account when evaluating the candidates’ play during the season:

A. overall offensive and defensive abilities
B. dedication to ultimate and leadership ability
C. sportsmanship

All candidates should be judged by their performance only during the 2009 spring college season. In particular, when judging sportsmanship, the slate should begin clean with the current spring season, i.e. when determining suitability for the award, head-butting an opponent during the fall season shouldn’t be held against a player. This is America — everyone gets a second chance.

9. Candidate’s Sportsmanship

When evaluating a candidate’s merit for the award, voters should treat any example of grossly poor sportsmanship (cheating, fighting, kicking, flagrant rule violation, etc.) as an infraction so severe that the player should be eliminated from consideration for the Callahan.

A debate rages about whether or not the emphasis that the comittee places on sportsmanship is well placed or even legitmate. Obviously, especially in a sport where so much is based on word of mouth voters may count players out just based on reputation and not based on anything they’ve actually seen. (We’re looking at you Brodie Smith).

We aren’t certain how we feel about the emphasis on sportsmanship. Obviously in another sport where access to athletes is easy to gain (TV, Internet, Newspapers) anyone can become truly familiar with a player’s character on and off the field. However, we seriously doubt that all of those who will vote this season will have seen every player on their ballot play.

In a perfect world, this emphasis on sportsmanship is awesome. However, with ultimate in its current state, it may be hard for voters to get a measurement true enough and accurate enough to really make informed decisions about what player is deserving of such an esteemed award.

A team preview of UNC Darkside will be up this afternoon. We’ve been in talks with other teams as well so stay in touch for an inside look at the upcoming AC Regionals.


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