Why Single-Gendered Ultimate? 为什么要搞男子赛、女子赛?

This is an opinion piece by Eva Gao and Evan Jenkins. 以下是Eva和Evan的观点,中文版请点此


Eva: In March 2017, Shanghai Ultimate Players Association (“SUPA”) will hold a single-gendered Ultimate tournament SHingles 2017 (formally the “SCSC Tournament”), and it is promoted as “Shanghai Open & Women’s Tournament”. How SHingles 2017 is going to differentiate itself from Shanghai Open that has been held over 16 years, or any other most popular Open tournaments in China such as Beijing Open, Wuhan Open etc, wherein “Open” usually refers to gender-mixed games?

Evan: Right— the term “Open” has two totally separate meanings here. Those tournaments are called “The ____ Open”, because that’s a term frequently used for tournaments in any sport, which just means that all are open to the public to join. The Chinese word is actually much more clear—Gong kai Sai. But SHingles 2017 is divided into two divisions—“open” and women’s. The term “open” here is used because that’s a common term used by Frisbee players in the west, which means your team is not necessarily split by gender. However, it is commonly understood that these teams are all men. The only open teams that have girls are ones where girls have no other choice. The top open teams will not have a single girl. It is just commonly understood as men’s ultimate. Personally, I think it’s a bit disrespectful to women to treat a women’s division as something that is “special”—it suggests that it is more difficult to start women’s teams. In China, it’s been quite the opposite. Women’s ultimate has been hugely successful, and men’s has been non-existent. In other sports, there’s no mystery—men’s division, women’s division.



Eva: I have talked to Liuwei, one of the top Chinese female Ultimate players who helped to organize SCSC Tournament in the year of 2014, 2015 and 2016. She informed me that the SCSC Tournament indeed have had only mixed teams. Why do we declare/change it to single-gendered this year? What is and should be the motivation for the organizer to do so?

Evan: First, Liuwei did an awesome job organizing the SCSC tournament and the first Asian’s Women Tournament (which was hold on August 2016)! She’s right, it was mixed, and now it is NOT mixed. The motivation is to really start taking Chinese competitive ultimate seriously, and thus help grow the sport here! I love recreational mixed ultimate—league, hat tournaments, party tournaments, all should be mixed and everyone should be happy. However, competitive ultimate in China has two major (but fixable) problems, which haven’t been fixed since I first moved to Wuhan 7 years ago. The first major (but fixable) problem is that every tournament (100%) has a party, where everyone gets wasted, dresses up. You rarely see me at tournaments here, and if I go, you certainly won’t see me at a party, because I take ultimate seriously as a competitive sport. Party tournaments are fine for recreational ultimate— but 100% of tournaments being party tournaments is not fine for competitive ultimate. The second major (but fixable) problem with competitive ultimate is that mixed ultimate is the highest form of competition. Somehow this concept has survived in other places like Singapore, Taiwan, Philippines, but those places are starting to realize this backwards reality and taking steps to correct it. And they certainly don’t represent the highest level of competition (US, Japan), where the highest level is men’s and women’s. Just basic logic should help anyone confused about this—name one sport where mixed gender is the highest level of competition.



Eva: Is single-gendered the highest form of competition? Could you elaborate on it a bit more? We have both men and women players in China who preferred mixed games…… think what you just said may change their whole concept of what is competitive Ultimate should be.

Evan: Yes it is. Besides the obvious fact that mixed gender is never the highest form of competition in any sport—here are some reasons why we need to start forming men’s and women’s teams exclusively. 1. I don’t like my friends on the sirens coming back from mixed tournaments, disappointed with how little they were involved. 2. I hate watching the 5’2 sirens superstars poach the force side lane while a 6’4 dude comes barreling upline, or lays out into their knees (… Amy Smith … sigh …) 3. players on U.S. mixed national team you’ve seen, all of those players are products of single gender Ultimate.



Eva: Could you describe your own playing career?

EvanI’m from Pittsburgh, US. I competed at high school nationals (when that was a thing). Any top college tournament you can name (Stanford, Easterns, Centex, Nationals), I played there with the University of Pittsburgh team as a starting d-line handler for 3 years, starting O-line cutter for 2 years (interesting note, two years after I left we won a national championship. Coincidence?). I was a starting O-line cutter for the Pittsburgh city club team before I decided to start my crazy adventure to Wuhan 7 years ago. These were all men’s teams, by the way. I only started playing competitive mixed here in Asia because it was the only option. I played with Airwoo in Wuhan, and captained Huwa for a year, but I’ve been searching for competitive outlets here in China for a long time and haven’t yet been satisfied. I’ve never been athletic, but very motivated to win and accomplish big things, which has been the source of any success I’ve had, but also my frustrations.


Eva: You have helped to form Shanghai’s first women team (also China’s first women team) Sirens. What’s your general impression on their first year’s practices and tournament performance? What should they do to graduate to the next level? As one of the coaches of this team, what have you done and what other plans you have for this team?

Evan: I did a lot of things in 2016, but the thing I’m most proud of being involved with is the Sirens. We had a very difficult obstacle—no tournaments on the schedule— and were still able to consistently train with 20+ women at the beginning of the year. Everyone started out playing very unorganized and erratic in the beginning of the year because they’d never had total control of the field, but by the end of the year I saw major steps forward by every woman on the team. I started out having a leadership role, but I also had a goal of handing more and more control over time, be less and less involved, and it really has become it’s own team that is truly run by the women. I have a huge amount of respect for what the women of Shanghai and in cities around China have put together in their first year! The thing that the Sirens really needs next? Number one most important – A season. Namely, a list of tournaments that they can circle on their calendar, ideally separated by one/two months, that they can train for and build a practice structure around. Organizers in North China, South China, Central China, HK, Singapore, Korea, japan, etc. hopefully are listening. The Sirens team is at risk unless we can properly organize a season structure for them to play other teams in.


Eva: How about the Shanghai men’s team? There will be a men’s tryout soon. Besides having those same purposes as Women’s team, what other purposes and/or objectives you think the men’s team should have?

Evan: The goals are basically the same—create an environment that encourages local talent and long-term growth, while competing at the highest level. I would love China, and Shanghai, to be a serious competitor on the world map in ultimate. This is a first step in that direction. The next step is we need our friends in other cities who are serious about competitive ultimate to form men’s teams of their own to challenge us! I’ve seen some really talent in my time here in China, so I can’t wait to see the teams that come to Shanghai in March. I look forward to doing battle with them!



Eva: 2017年3月,上海极限飞盘联盟(“SUPA”)将举办SHingles 2017 – Shanghai’s Open & Women’s Tournament(前身为“SCSC公开赛”),邀请全男子队、全女子队参赛。SHingles与已经举办了16年的Shanghai Open(上海公开赛),还有其他中国城市的各类公开赛如Beijing Open(北京公开赛)、Wuhan Open(武汉公开赛)等等比赛有何区别呢?在这些公开赛的英译中,“Open”指的都是男女混合在一个队报名参加的比赛。

Evan: 是这样的。“Open”有两种完全不同的解释。你说的这些XXX Open跟别的体育项目中的Open是一个含义,即向公众开放的比赛(注:就是男女混合、男女分组都可以)。从这个意义上去理解,中文里用“公开赛”来形容这些赛事毫无歧义。但是,SHingles 2017 将被分为两大组别:Open 组和女子组。这里的Open组特指男子组是因为按照我们西方人习惯参加Open的队伍不能男女混合。不管怎么说,在西方的共识就是Open组就是男子组。如果在一个Open组里有男女混合,通常情况下是因为这些女生完全没有别的选择。最厉害的Open组队伍里通常没有一个女生。所以Open通常就用来指男子公开赛。就我个人来说,我觉得对于女飞盘手来说有点不尊重,因为在Open之外再设一个女子组就像是为了为女子专门而设,暗示组建一支女子队相对男子队来相对说会困难。而在中国,这种情况是反过来的。中国女子飞盘很成功,而男子飞盘却还没有成立。在其他体育项目,没有这种会引发误解的说法,就是分男子组、女子组。


Eva: 我联系了中国女子优秀飞盘手之一的刘伟。她曾经在2014年、2015年、2016年帮忙组织了SCSC公开赛。她告诉我SCSC公开赛确实只有男女混合的队伍参加过比赛。那么为何从今天起要改成男子组、女子组呢?主办方是因为什么动力,或者说应该有什么动力来做这种改变?

Evan: 首先,刘伟帮助主办的的SCSC公开赛非常棒!还有她在2016年8月组织的第一届亚洲女子极限飞盘邀请赛也超极赞!她说的对,这个比赛之前是男女混合队伍参赛,而现在不再是混合了。作出这种改变的动力来自于我们需要更严肃地对待高竞技的极限飞盘赛事,这样才能帮助这里的飞盘手成长。我个人很喜欢消遣性娱乐飞盘比赛,如联赛、帽子赛、派对赛,这些都应该是男女混合的,每个人也都玩得很尽兴。无比如何,高竞技极限飞盘在中国有两个大的(可以纠正的)问题在我七年前刚到武汉的时候就一直没有解决。第一个大的(可以纠正的)问题就是几乎每一个比赛都会有一个派对,每个人都会喝很多酒、打扮一番。你很少会看到我在中国去参加各种比赛,如果我有去的话你也很少会看到我在派对上,因为我认为极限飞盘应该是高竞技的。派对比赛对于消遣性娱乐飞盘来说没有问题,但是如果全部的比赛都是娱乐性比赛那么情况就有点不对了。第二个大的(可以纠正的)问题就是现在高水平的队是混合队伍。不知怎么在新加坡、台湾、菲律宾都是这种情况,但是这些地区已经开始意识到因此产生的问题,也在采取措施改变这一情况。而且,他们的队伍也不是能代表最高竞技水平的队伍(如美国队、日本队)。在美国、日本这些国家最高竞技水平的代表队是男子队、女子队。这里有一个最基本的逻辑能够帮助大家看清楚这一点:你能找一到一项体育运动其男女混合队代表着该项目的最高水平吗?


Eva: 男子、女子分组竞争才是实现最高竞技水平的形式吗?你能不能解释多一点?在中国我们有部分人会更喜欢男女混合赛一点……你刚刚说的有可能改变他们对什么是高竞技极限飞盘运动的看法。

Evan: 是的,就是这样。除了之前我说过的在任何体育赛事中代表最高竞技水平的从来都不是混合队、混合组,这里还有一些我们应该分开来组建男子队、女子队的特别原因:1、我不喜欢看到我在上海女子队Sirens的朋友参加混合赛回来后因为在比赛时其没有太多参与所表现出来的那种失望;2、我不喜欢看到身高不足1米6的Sirens的明星队员在完全没有人盯防时去接一个盘却突然被一个身高1米93的男生飞身扑过来直接压到她的腿(想想Amy Smith被折断的腿……嗳……);3、你能看到的美国国家混合队,他们所有的队员都是从全男子、全女子训练出来的结果。




Eva: 能跟大家介绍一下你的极限飞盘运动生涯吗?

Evan: 我是美国匹兹堡人。我曾为美国高中队伍联赛(那时候的)效力。在几乎所有比较有名的比赛(如斯坦福、Esterns,Centex,全国赛),我都以匹兹堡大学队出征过,做了三年的防守组主控盘手、两年的进攻组主切盘手。(有意思的是,我离队两年后我的队伍就获得了全国赛冠军。是巧合吗?)在我七年前决定去中国武汉前,我是匹兹堡市俱乐部队进攻组主切盘手。这些队伍都是全男子队。我只有在亚洲的时候才开始玩混合队,因为这是我唯一的选择。我在武汉跟Airwoo玩过,在上海沪蛙做了一年的队长。我在中国寻找了很久可以玩高竞技飞盘比赛的机会,直到现在也没有找到让自己满意的。我从来都不是很有运动天赋的人,但是有一颗想赢、充满斗志的心,这一直是我所有成就的源泉,也使我一度很纠结。


Eva: 你帮忙组建了上海第一支女子飞盘队Sirens(也是中国第一次女子飞盘队)。对于她们第一年的训练和比赛表现你觉得怎么样?她们应该怎么做才能达到一个新的水平?作为Sirens教练之一,你具体有做过些什么?你对她们有没有别的计划?

Evan: 在2016年我做了很多事,但是让我最引以为荣的成就是参与组建了Sirens。有一个最大的障碍,就是日程上找不到一个可以参加的比赛,但是在年初我们还是召集了超过20个人参加了没有中断的训练。因为不能完全确定场地使用情况,每个人刚开始时都很没有组织性,也都很焦虑,但是年尾我看到了队里每个人的进步。我在开始是带领大家,但是我一开始就是有计划一步一步让出权利,越来越少地参与,最后这支队伍开始成为一支由队员们自己管理的队伍。我对上海还有其他地区努力组队的女飞盘手非常尊重。Sirens下一步需要做的是什么?首当其冲的就是需要一个赛季安排。也就是说,有一系列比赛能够列上队伍的日程,理想一点来说是每隔一至两个月需要有一个比赛,这样她们可以为此有针对性做好训练安排。希望在中国北方的、南方的、中部地区的、新加坡的、韩国的、日本的等等赛事举办者能够听得到她们的想法。如果不能做好赛季安排,Sirens整个队就很危险。


Eva: 上海男子队呢? 马上就会有上海男子队的队员选拔了。除了跟上海女子队同样的目标之外,你认为上海男子队应该还有哪些目标?

Evan: 目标基本跟女子队都是一样的,就是通过进行最高竞技水平的比赛来创设一个环境,来培养本土优秀的飞盘手,来实现长久的发展。如果能够看到中国,甚至是上海能够成为全球高竞技极限飞盘运动中的一部分我会很高兴。现在做的是实现那个目标的第一步。下一步需要我们在其他城市的朋友用严肃对待高竞技飞盘的态度来组建男子队来对我们进行挑战!我在中国见到了很多优秀的飞盘手,我很期待在3月份看到他们的队伍。我很期待与他们场上相见、一较高低!

Why Single-Gendered Ultimate? 为什么要搞男子赛、女子赛?