Monday, March 29, 2010

Toxic Avenger

Hey! Think the time is right for a palace revolution
'Cause where I live the game to play is compromise solution
Well, then what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock 'n' roll band
'Cause in sleepy London town
There's just no place for a street fighting man

- The Rolling Stones

Poor Henry. Up until now, he has been left standing alone to answer for the actions of a group, a group whose other members seem to have decided that it is better to sacrifice one man than it is to come to his defense and risk more casualties. Clearly the UPA HoF does not adhere to the code of the U.S. Army Rangers. Thankfully (but no thanks to his HoF colleagues), Henry is no longer alone.

Over the weekend, someone posted the list of HoF voters, although the list as posted was incomplete. Discounting the founders and the 80 mold, I came to a total of 25 voters when I counted them up, not the 22 that was posted. I’m not entirely sure what the final tally is, nor do I know how many of the voters actually participated in the process. It bears repeating that just because someone is on the list of voters it does not mean that person voted. Further, just because a person voted it does not mean that person reviewed all of the information that was made available by the UPA HoF committee. Unless someone involved in the process is prepared to reveal specific details, we will all be left to guess at how many votes were cast, how informed the voters were, and what weight might have been given to anonymous responses from the Call to the Community.

I’m going out on a limb here: I don’t think anyone involved in the process is going to be revealing any details any time soon.

Some of the recent comments to this discussion have focused on the mathematics of the process, bandying percentages about while postulating as to how many voters would have to have believed X in order for the vote to have been Y. Others have stayed away from numbers, choosing instead to focus on the obvious “fact” that the HoF is a sham unless I’m in. (I’m reminded of the character of Vizzini from Princess Bride: “Kenny Dobyns not in the Hall of Fame? INCONCEIVABLE!”)

I have no interest in speculating on vote counts in terms of yea or nay (although I do think it might be interesting to know how many total votes were cast, as a reflection of participation). Nor would I ever consider questioning any voter’s decision on any particular candidate (least of all myself). If a person has earned or been awarded the right to vote, they can vote as they see fit. My issue with the HoF has never been the outcome of the vote but the process itself. In Henry’s case, I have questions about the specific process he used to arrive at his decision, and the subsequent process he used to justify that decision on Jim’s blog. As it concerns the overall HoF committee, I have issues with how they collected information, what information they chose to consider, and how they went about handling it. Finally, I have issues with the way people involved in the UPA generally or the HoF specifically have reacted when I have made my concerns known. When I gather all of these things together, the processes, the justifications, the reactions and explanations, what begins to emerge is not a pretty picture.

In one of the earliest comments on Jim P’s blog, Henry responded to a question as follows:

The HoF voters had a great deal of information about Kenny's sportsmanship from many sources. They had the peer reviews where some 60 peers had to say whether Kenny's SotG should negatively effect his candidacy for the Hall. And there was the Call to the Community where some 100 people sent in their thoughts. There was also Kenny's blog where he's pretty frank about his sportsmanship.

What I find interesting here is how Henry described the peer review process. From his perspective, the peer reviewers “had to say whether Kenny’s SotG should negatively effect [sic] his candidacy.” That simply isn’t true, and the fact that Henry saw it this way, or at least described it this way, is telling.

The peer review form allows a peer to vote for (endorse the candidacy of) up to 10 candidates. The form that is used for that purpose is also the spirit rating form, so a peer reviewer must make one of three choices in order to endorse a player’s candidacy.

'+/positive' -- the player's spirit significantly adds to his/her qualifications
'0/neutral' -- the player's spirit doesn't significantly add or detract from his/her qualifications
'-/negative' -- the player's spirit significantly detracts from his/her qualifications

A peer is only required to make a selection if he or she is endorsing that player’s candidacy, so no peer HAD to weigh in on anyone. Additionally, although both positive and neutral are available choices, in describing the process as it related to my candidacy, Henry only mentioned the negative choice. Why would he do that?

To get a clue, let’s take a look at another comment. Although Henry admitted that he never played against me, and therefore has no personal experience to go on, he nonetheless shared this assessment:

KD was widely reviled for his misconduct while simultaneously admired for his ability and tenacity.

As a point of word choice, specifically related to connotative as opposed to denotative meanings, consider the contrast of “reviled” and “admired,” or revulsion and admiration. Is revulsion more negative than admiration is positive? Come to your own conclusion.

At another point in this discussion, Henry pointed to some raw data taken from the peer review forms as justification for the low spirit score (1 out of 9) that he gave me.

More than half (55%) of KD's peers checked the "his spirit should significantly detract from his qualifications" box.

If this is true (and I’m not saying I doubt it) doesn’t it stand to reason that 45% chose one of the other two options (neutral or positive)? If that’s the case, how did Henry arrive at a spirit score of 1?

As pointed out in a previous post, he also wrote at one point that the evidence against my candidacy was overwhelming, then later indicated that the responses were about 50/50. What strikes me when I take all of these things into account is that despite the fact that Henry seems to have gone to great lengths to create an evaluation system that would allow him to make what he believed would be an unbiased choice, it might have been a fruitless effort from the beginning. I think Henry may be harboring a sub-conscious bias against me, and I don’t think he’s alone.

When I first read Henry’s comments (almost four weeks ago – seems like longer) I contacted someone (hereafter The Official) who is very involved in the process, a person I don’t know very well but who strikes me as thoughtful and intelligent. We have spoken on several occasions in the past, and traded more than a dozen emails in reference to the HoF selection process generally. I must admit that at the time I was quite upset. Henry’s public posting of the anonymous accusation that I had cheated to change the outcome of multiple National Championship Finals was, in my opinion, quite beyond the pale. The combination of his repeating it while also stating his position on the UPA Board had the effect, I thought, of lending legitimacy to the claim. Perhaps most importantly, in the same string of comments Henry had described the vetting process the UPA HoF had gone through before the comments were shared with the voting committee.

The Call to the Community went out, responses came in, the responses had to include where you played, at what level, and what overlap did you have with the nominee. An administrator checked that information, removed it if it didn't match up, then removed the name if requested.

In other words, the UPA HoF collected the information, put it through a vetting process, deemed it worthy of consideration, and disseminated it among the members of the voting committee. A UPA Board member, in turn, published that information in a public forum. When a newspaper publishes a story based on anonymous sources, if that story turns out to be inaccurate, it is the newspaper that is on the hook. By the same token, given that the UPA vetted this information before one of its agents published it in a public forum, it is the UPA that should be on the hook. That was the point I made when I reached out to The Official. I told him the accusation of cheating to change the outcome of National Finals is totally outrageous, and quite possibly libelous, and that I planned to speak to an attorney about it.

At this point things started to get weird. The Official, with a very serious tone, suggested I probably didn’t want to get attorneys involved, because if I did, even more damaging information would have to be revealed. Imagine my surprise. I had been publicly branded a cheater, my integrity had been trashed, my accomplishments, and those of my teammates, had been called into question, doubts had been raised about the competence of the UPA observers who had worked the games in question, and the very legitimacy of the UPA Championship series had been threatened. And yet, there was something even worse out there. Wow! I had to know more.

The Official explained that there were two “toxic” accusations about me among the responses from the Call to the Community. The first was the accusation of cheating, which Henry had already revealed. The second, clearly the more toxic of the two, had not been revealed by Henry, but it had been among those the UPA had vetted and submitted to the voting committee for consideration. What was this bombshell whose revelation would be so damaging to me that the mere thought of it would cause me to abandon my efforts to get to the bottom of the cheating accusation? What could be so horrible that I would quietly allow my name and ultimate legacy to be tarnished forever rather than risk its revelation? What was this dark secret?

After a solemn pause, The Official revealed it: Steroids.

I tell you the truth: I laughed loudly and long. In fact, if it weren’t so fucking tragic I’d still be laughing.

First, steroids are not illegal in ultimate. Still, if someone used steroids to achieve greatness that would otherwise not have been possible, then surely one whose job included determining whether or not to officially recognize that greatness would have to consider the implications of steroid usage in that evaluation. Fine. I get that. But come on. Seriously. We’ve all seen how steroids work. McGwire. Bonds. These guys went through physical transformations that made Michael Jackson look consistent. I’ve looked like this since elementary school.

In the fourth grade, an assistant principal stopped me and my best friend, Herman Moriano, walking down the hall of Northwood Elementary in Highland Park, Illinois. “Look at the two of you,” he said. “Your arms don’t even touch your sides when you walk.” In ninth grade, I was recruited onto the varsity wrestling team at Riverdale not because I demonstrated any aptitude, but because the coach saw me outside without my shirt at lunch (throwing a frisbee, btw).

From my earliest days as an ultimate player I was a scowling, muscle-bound, beast prone to temper tantrums, and I remained that way my entire career. And if any of you are so simple as to say the tantrums were ‘roid rages, try again. When I was ten years old my mother tried to teach me to play chess. The third time I scattered the pieces across the room after losing, she stopped trying.

Yes, the steroid accusation is utterly preposterous, but it is also insidious, and the manner in which it was handled, both during the voting process and afterward, suggests at the very least that the people in charge of the process at the UPA HoF behaved irresponsibly. I believe it’s much worse than that.

What makes accusations like these so insidious is that there is absolutely no exculpatory evidence. I simply can’t prove I didn’t take steroids. But the anonymous accuser didn’t have to prove I did. All he did was fill out a form, ask that his name be removed, and then let the HoF committee distribute that information to all the voters for consideration. Same goes for the cheating accusation. How do I prove I didn’t? Where is the evidence that exonerates me? And yet the accuser had no such burden placed on him to prove the accusation. He merely filled out a form, asked that his name be removed, and let the UPA HoF do the rest. That they did. They checked the accuracy of the names, dates, overlap – everything but the information itself. Some of you may rightfully wonder how I can expect them to verify every piece of information on every form. I don’t. But let’s not kid ourselves. Not all pieces of information are this serious. By The Official’s own admission, they knew these accusations were toxic, and there were only two of them. Surely they could have done something other than blithely pass them around for consideration by the voters. Surely they could have decided to take some responsibility for the information that they were collecting and distributing, particularly when that information concerned issues of personal integrity and drug use. But they didn’t. Do you wonder why?

Remember that when The Official first mentioned the second “toxic” accusation, he did so in an effort to encourage me to drop the matter. The only way his strategy would have been successful is if it were true. In other words, for him to think that the revelation of the accusation of my steroid use would keep me quiet, he had to have already decided the accusation was true. Considering how cavalierly the cheating accusation was publicized by Henry, one can rightfully imagine a similar feeling among the HoF voting committee about that accusation. Think about it. If Henry really thought there was nothing to it, would he have used it to buttress his argument? It’s probably fair to say that in so far as the HoF voting committee was concerned, the accusations of cheating and steroid use didn’t need to be proven, because they were simply confirmation of what they believed all along. Chew on that one a little while.

Once The Official realized I was not undone by the steroid bombshell (I think I was still laughing, but my guffaws were dying down) he probably figured his strategy was going to fail. At that point he tried a different (and rather pathetic) tack, with predictable results.

Official: You’ve never taken steroids?
Me: Never.
Official: Methamphetamine?
Me: No.
Official: Caffeine?
Me: Are you serious?

He was. That’s when it hit me. This whole HoF fiasco isn’t about my play, or my style of play, or my spirit. It’s about my life. It’s about the way I carried myself on the field AND off. It’s about the fact that from the very beginning, when I was a young fireplug without throws on a marginally talented, over-achieving team, I never gave a damn what anybody thought. I launched myself into the air, into tirades, and into parties with passionate intensity, and never cared about the collateral damage. Eventually I learned to throw, learned to harness my emotions, learned to manage my buzz, but I never learned to care what the powers that be thought. I still haven’t.

Almost four weeks ago, I started this blog episode simply because a UPA Board member had taken an anonymous accusation which is totally false and published it in a public forum. When I approached The Official, the King Kamehameha of the HoF about it, he tried to intimidate me into keeping quiet by passing on another totally false accusation. I believe that both of those people are guilty of gross irresponsibility at the very least. But that’s not what bothers me the most.

As recently published, there is a long list of names of people who share in this debacle. Every single member of the HoF voting committee had access to this information. Everyone who reviewed it should have known better. Is it really possible, as The Official told me, that not a single one of them thought to say, “Wait a minute. Do we have any proof that this shit is even true? Has anybody looked into this?”

Imagine that. All those great players, who know precisely what it is to train, compete, sacrifice and achieve, and not one of them steps up. Kind of surprising, but then again, maybe not. Maybe they were just pleased to finally have confirmation of what they had always thought. Little did it matter the confirmation came in the form of anonymous accusations. Any port in a storm.

As my conversation with The Official came to a close, he made one last attempt to convince me to keep quiet about this whole thing, or at least to keep the lawyers out of it. I agreed on the lawyers, and he seemed pleased. He suggested that it was possible that Henry owed me an apology, and I facetiously called it a gracious admission. He allowed as how the Hall of Fame process is still flawed, but it’s getting better. He added that he thinks the whole thing is at a vulnerable point right now, and he’d hate to see it fall apart as a result of this incident.

When a guy is involved in distributing false accusations of cheating and drug use about you, grudgingly admits that maybe you deserve an apology, and then tells you what he’s really concerned about is his private club, you get a pretty keen sense of his priorities.

Some things aren’t worth saving.


kd said...

To the anonymous poster to the "Jelly Doughnut" piece:

You asked a question I had already answered, so I just posted. Still, so there isn't any question in your mind, I have never taken steroids.

I had read in the past, on rsd and maybe on comments to my blog, mentions of me and steroids. I always thought they were jokes. You know, beefy guy with a temper - must be on 'roids, haha. It wasn't until the conversation with The Official that I realized that people were actually serious. How pathetic.

I was surprised that you stressed in your previous comment (mentioning it at least twice) that you wanted me to be honest. I always strive to be honest, although I do occasionally engage in sarcasm for amusement, and periodically embellish for effect. But I should point out that by emphasizing the desire for honesty as you did, the suggestion is that you think I have been dishonest in the past. If it isn't too much trouble, can you clarify that for me? I would kind of hate to be called a liar in my own blog. Know what I mean?

Anonymous said...

Doing steroids in baseball could garner you millions of dollars in contracts and endorsement money as well as the respect and admiration of millions of people.

Doing steroids in Ultimate earns you the right to spend thousands of your own money going to tournaments and the respect and admiration of dozens of people.

Clearly the same thing

Anonymous said...

I would be furious too. Some anonymous guy gets to make a laughable, unsupported claim (i'm presuming he wasn't pulling down Ken's pants in the bathroom at CBGBs for a little pre-slam dance warmup and still has the needle to prove it) and ANYONE took it seriously.

Though, to be fair: Was HOF Official merely being a bureaucratic weenie in his conversation with you, or did he indicate that a number of voter's actually took that bullshit seriously?
Dan Murphy

Anonymous said...

Should be tktktkt"and ANYONE took it seriously?" AND tktktk "a number of voters." Me, self-edit, bad.

dj said...

As one of "HoF is a sham without kd" people, I realize that my argument seems simplistic and emotional at best. And I know kd is not interested in, nor does he need, any people to say how great a player they think he was. To be honest, I have no interest in that either. I never played with or against and I only saw him play once. Yes, based on records, championships and anecdotal evidence, I have to wonder, how is he not in the HoF? Does this make me question his career (as I think Henry said it would, hence his attempt at justifying his vote) or the Ultimate HoF?

I questioned the credibility of a HoF from the instant it was announced. Any "Hall of Fame" is an arrogant and egotistic exercise at best. So if you're going to do it, if you're going to put your credibility up there and say to the world, these are the people that our sport thinks deserve recognition for their accomplishments, then it had better be a process that is transparent and legitimate. And you're going to have to prove to me (every year) that that's the case, that I should respect the HoF as an institution, that I should respect the people that you elect as members for their accomplishments.

Ultimate has been striving for legitimacy as a sport and the establishment of the HoF seems like another attempt at saying Hey look at me! Look at our great players that are worthy of recognition! Now, is there anything wrong with that? It's fine to celebrate Ultimate and the sport and the great players and people that have contributed to it, but it's very easy for it to become a self-congratulating, masturbatory club of insiders. Ultimate has no audience, no reporters, no outside objective voice (like the baseball writers) to validate and vote on a player/contributor's career. We only have players (and friends and enemies and acquaintances) voting on each other. As has been amply demonstrated, we do not have an objective and fair process for deciding admittance.

The most serious point here is not that kd is not in the HoF. I think it is far worse that the HoF is defending its legitimacy and credibility by attacking that of kd. It's shameful and embarrassing.


Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, as the person who asked the question, I have no idea if the HOF voters even considered this allegation. I highly doubt it - seems like they had plenty of other personal anecdotes coming in that were based on others experiences with you, not speculative theories.

But it has been a question in the community for years. And you did go through a physical transformation in the mid-later 80's that many of us noticed, whether you admit it or not, where your neck and upper body body expanded and morphed. The other symptoms were there too (rage, pock marks). So the questions were asked, by many. No fun for you, but that is what has happened.

You say you never used them. Fine. Thank you. Some of your teammates have implied the opposite of your claim. Whatever. You say you didn't, there is not way to prove it, either way. It's done.

You still have other issues you continue to deflect. What I meant by not being honest is mostly about being straight with yourself. Your defenses are so acutely on guard that you do not seem for a moment to consider feedback that might have some meaning or truth. Instead, in all of these exchanges, you go off, just like you always have, on why someone else is an ass, or jealous, or ignorant, or a pussy. Its Henry, its the voters, its the UPA. You externalize, and it is weak.

Forget steroids. Here is another question? Do you think it is cheating to intentionally grab someone's wrist when they are about to throw to an open receiver? I mean with real intent, so that is obvious to everyone nearby that the defender deliberately stopped a big up-field throw by clenching the thrower's arm before he could release?

Alex Peters said...

Regarding steroids not being illegal in ultimate: The WFDF adopted an anti-doping policy in 2003, so everyone who has played Worlds or other WFDF events since then was technically under anti-steroid rule. Not that that necessarily applies to you since the vast majority of your play was before then, just saying.

Fun fact, the anti-doping regulations prohibit "cannabinoids"

Anonymous said...

"Fun fact, the anti-doping regulations prohibit "cannabinoids""

I heard a rumor (unsubstantiated) that Kenny also practiced cannibalism

Anonymous said...

are implying that some of the old school frisbee players played the game while smoking pot? an illegal drug? how dare you impugn these HoFers with your unproven, slanderous accusations of drug use!

those are obviously only meant for kenny.

Anonymous said...

whew! Whaddaya gonna do with these horrible UPA/HOF people. Not only are they incompetent, it looks like they're actually evil. Can we dock their pay or something or get them fired maybe ?

Phil Price said...

A few years ago, when I first read this blog, I thought "boy, who knew the homunculus could write so well?" (No offense.) But I haven't been back much --- only looked once, I think, back when you posted that below-the-belt attack on Parinella --- and now, I hardly recognize the place. Even leaving aside the content, the style is inferior to the way you used to write, or at least to the way I remember your writing. These recent posts, I can't even figure out what your point is. I mean, take a look at what you say here:
[Henry writes] 'KD was widely reviled for his misconduct while simultaneously admired for his ability and tenacity.'

As a point of word choice, specifically related to connotative as opposed to denotative meanings, consider the contrast of “reviled” and “admired,” or revulsion and admiration. Is revulsion more negative than admiration is positive? Come to your own conclusion.

One conclusion I come to is that Ken Dobyns can't write a simple declarative sentence. Another is that you are reading an awful lot --- too much --- into word choice in a blog comment.

So, fine, your writing has gone downhill since the good ol' days. But what about the content? This is what really has me baffled. I'm pretty sure I remember you expressing disdain (years ago) for the whole concept of an Ultimate Hall of Fame, and stating clearly that you have no interest in being in it. And now here you are, whining like a small child (albeit one with a large vocabulary and a whole lot of time on his hands), Mommy, Mommy, he only gave me 1 point out of 10 for 'spirit', make him take it back! It's pathetic.

I have been, and remain, a supporter of you, Ken Dobyns, for the Hall of Fame. You were clearly one of the best players in the game for your prime, and your prime lasted a pretty long time. And you were one of the best team leaders of your era, too. So it seemed ridiculous not to have you in the Hall. It seems less so now, having read your piece where you bragged about deliberately ripping the disc out of another player's hand, and implied that you did this sort of thing regularly. If that's true, you don't belong in the Hall. I happen to believe that you didn't do this sort of thing regularly and that you do belong in the Hall. All the thousands of words you've written, and you won't tell us plainly, did you or did you not cheat regularly? (And no, I do not mean did you occasionally knowingly drag your foot when you threw a long pass, or did you sometimes fail to give a disc width when you were marking; get serious).

As I said, I still think -- lacking evidence that you were in fact as big a cheater as you were happy to imply back before the whining started --- that you belong in the Hall of Fame. But if you don't make it, it won't be one of the biggest 100,000 injustices of the year. I'm a lot more bummed about Buck O'Neil not making the Baseball HoF, and his case wasn't even as good as yours, it's just that he was a much more admirable person than you.

Anonymous said...

I think Kenneth is right. Let's take these shamsters on one at a time. We deserve a better Hall of Fame and we want it immediately, regardless of how much flogging it takes of these stupid volunteers running this joint. Let's use a system of bloggers to replace 'em all. Power to the posters.

We don't want to recognize guys like this below -- we want guys whose arms don't touch their sides.


Irv Kalb was one of the early stars of the game, as captain of the Columbia High School team in 1971-72 (with a record of 19-0) and of college champion Rutgers University from 1972-76 (with a record of 45-1). He also won a freestyle championship with Stork Roddick in 1975. Irv was an avid organizer of Ultimate at high schools and colleges in the early 1970s, was co-coordinator of the first multi-team tournament at Yale in 1975, and oversaw the development of the rules of the game from 1971-82. Together with Larry Schindel, he was the “Johnny Appleseed” of Ultimate. Irv was always tireless in his pursuit of on-field excellence, faithful in his promotion of the game, and diligent in his preservation of the game’s history. Through the 1970s he authored numerous articles on Ultimate and co-authored the book, Ultimate: Fundamentals of the Sport, with Tom Kennedy in 1982.

Playing Career

• 1970 Richmond Avenue Gang

• 1970-1972 Columbia High School Varsity Frisbee Team (Captain 1971-1972)

• 1972-1976 Rutgers University (Captain 1972-1976)

• Late 1970s Woodland Hills Hot Sox, Santa Barbara Condors

As captain of CHSVFT, the team went 19-0. As captain of Rutgers, the team went 45-1 (with 44 straight). Irv was named to the “1973-74 Ultimate All-American Squad” chosen by college captains.

US National Championship Tournaments

Team City Year Venue Final Placing
Rutgers New Brunswick, N.J. 1973 — Consensus Champion
Rutgers New Brunswick, N.J. 1974 — Consensus Champion
Rutgers New Brunswick, N.J. 1975 Yale University First Place
Rutgers New Brunswick, N.J. 1976 Hampshire College First Place

Contributions and Service

• Wrote the third through the eighth editions of the Rules of Ultimate

• Coordinator of the first Ultimate league, the New Jersey Frisbee Conference in 1971-72

• Coordinator of the first Ultimate National Championship at Yale University in 1975

• Wrote numerous articles in the 1970s and 1980s on Ultimate that appeared in Frisbee magazines

• Generally involved in every organizational development of Ultimate in the 1970s

• Co-authored the book, Ultimate: Fundamentals of the Sport, with Tom Kennedy in 1982

Other Accomplishments

Irv won the National and World Freestyle Championships with Dan Roddick in 1975. Playing with the Foothill Institute of Frisbee Culture, he won the National Guts Championships in 1977 and 1978.

Personal Life

Irv lives in Mountain View, Calif with his wife, Doreen and is a computer programmer.

kd said...

From the anonymous poster (who remains anonymous) in response to my asking for specifics related to my honesty:

"You still have other issues you continue to deflect. What I meant by not being honest is mostly about being straight with yourself. Your defenses are so acutely on guard that you do not seem for a moment to consider feedback that might have some meaning or truth. Instead, in all of these exchanges, you go off, just like you always have, on why someone else is an ass, or jealous, or ignorant, or a pussy. Its Henry, its the voters, its the UPA. You externalize, and it is weak."

Again, if I may ask you for some specificity. Where have I gone off and called someone an ass? It's true, Kyle Weisbrod called me an ass, and in taking exception to it I used the word "ass." Is that what you mean?

And where did I call someone a pussy? It's true, someone told a story from many years ago where I am reported to have said people who wear braces are pussies, but that wasn't something I posted or wrote in response to anyone who criticized me.

As for Henry, I have commended him for his honesty while questioning his judgment, and I have accused him of being irresponsible with information. I don't remember calling him any of the names you mentioned.

You say that I go off in all of these exchanges, like I always have, but I don't actually see, even in re-reading, where I have gone off (maybe to Jim on the Babs issue, but I was defending a teammate, and Jim has since recanted). In truth, I think you are conflating stories of me on the field with my writing on my blog, because while I do tend to take people to task for their words and actions, I generally do so without using insults or profanity. As for the accusation of externalizing, I have said all along that I am taking exception with the HoF process, a process that is external to me. How can I address that process without externalizing?

I'm sorry that you think I'm being dishonest with myself, and that you feel compelled to characterize my efforts here as weak. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree, because I really don't see much in your feedback worthy of consideration as being especially truthful or meaningful.

I have to go now, but I'll respond to the other untruths and insinuations from your feedback later.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 12:48,

Irv Kalb was in the inaugural class of the HoF. What exactly is your problem with Mr. Kalb?

You say you agree with Kenneth, yet you propose a system of bloggers deciding the HoF. At what point did Mr. Dobyns propose this? I may have missed it. It's an intriguing idea, similar to the BBWAA voting on the baseball HoF.

You also put a lot of venom towards "shamsters" and "stupid volunteers". Why do you feel this way? Have you had bad experiences with shamsters and stupid volunteers?

I've read some thoughtful writing on blogs written by "volunteers". I've had some difficult dealings with "volunteers". Maybe because I have been a volunteer (and a "blogger"!), I know how imperfect both groups can be, and how much potential both groups have. It helps to think critically when reading blogs, dealing with volunteers and sharing your opinion.

-Chris Mc.

Anonymous said...

Look at this Irv fellow. He looks like one of those spirity do-gooder guys, doing things for the sport and for other ultimate players (while winning championships). When has he ever written anything amusing and snarky and self-centerd and amusingly snarky all at the same time and published it on the interwebs.

Or how about this schlub:

Tom “TK” Kennedy was the founder of the UPA in 1979 and its first National Director. TK was an active player of all disc sports throughout the 1970s and was the driving force behind the growth of Ultimate in the western states. He was a founding member, captain and coach of the Santa Barbara Condors, a team that dominated West Coast Ultimate play for many years starting in 1975. The Condors won three of the first five U.S. national championships in 1977, 1978 and 1981. As a player, TK dominated the national spotlight while competing in the five-region national championship series that he established in 1979, bridging the gap between West and East Coast Ultimate. During his playing career and in the years since he retired in the early 1980s, TK has received the respect of all his peers as he always embodied, through word and deed, “The Spirit of the Game.”
Playing Career
• Tom is one of the founding fathers of Ultimate, having started the sport on the West Coast. He first started playing pick-up games in Santa Barbara in 1974. Two years later the Condors were playing competitively, and in 1977 the team won its first national title, defeating Penn State at the Rose Bowl in front of 60,000 fans.
• In 1978 the Condors defended their championship in Santa Barbara against Cornell. During these years Tom was widely recognized as not only the finest Ultimate player but also the best disc golfer and one of the best all-round Frisbee Players.
• In 1979, Tom was instrumental in helping to establish the UPA, bringing together five regional champions for the club championships at Penn State. The Condors lost in the finals to Glassboro, which at the time was a monumental upset, as the Condors had gone undefeated for nearly two years and had crushed the ‘Boro in round-robin play. The ‘Boro would prove to be no fluke, however, as they repeated as champions in 1980, with TK and the Condors placing fourth.
• In 1981 TK and the team rebounded and won their third national title, their first under the UPA banner. TK continued to play at a high level until 1984, when a knee injury cut short his playing career.
• He helped establish the co-ed program at UCSB and the club team, The Black Tide, which went on to become a dominant force in college Ultimate. Perhaps most importantly, TK embodied the underlying “Spirit of the Game” both on and off the field. He never put himself first; it was always what was best for the team and for the sport of Ultimate.
• He was also active in the community, promoting Ultimate at local high schools and giving workshops for the Special Olympics. As teammates and opponents from that time will attest, TK was the most important and influential player of his generation.
• Tom and the Condors also won four straight World Flying Disc Championships (1980), which at that time was the largest and most prestigious Ultimate tournament in the western states. Tom and the Condors also won numerous California State Championships (including four straight from 1980-84) and the Solstice tournament in Eugene, Ore., where he captained teams with mostly rookies from UCSB and led them to impressive victories.
Contributions and Service
• First National Director of the Ultimate Players Association (UPA) regional coordinator; 1979-82
• Founder and team captain of the Santa Barbara Condors, 1974-84
• One of the founders of the UCSB Club team, The Black Tide, which he coached from 1984-85
• Spent a 10-week tour of Japan in 1978 to introduce and promote various disc sports
• Demonstrations at high schools, Special Olympics, 1984 Los Angeles, and at a California State Penitentiary
• Co-authored the book, Ultimate: Fundamentals of the Sport, with Irv Kalb in 1982

Anonymous said...

Why would you call TK a schlub?

-Chris Mc.

kd said...


Good to have you back. It's been too long.

First off, boy are you ever right. The writing of late has been weak. Trying to write too much in too short a time and all on the same subject (or a small set of sub-subjects of that subject) is generally a recipe for mediocrity at best.

At the same time, I can't say your reading has really improved over time either.

"All the thousands of words you've written, and you won't tell us plainly, did you or did you not cheat regularly?"

If you limited yourself only to the most recent post (a mere 3000 words) you would find that I called that cheating accusation against me beyond the pale, outrageous, possibly libelous, and totally false.

That ought to clear it up for you.

As for the Guido play, I can't see where I imply that I did it regularly. Seems to me I make it pretty clear it was a one time occurrence. But you're right about the 1 out of 10 part sounding a little whiny. I was using the process as an illustration of what I believe to be an unconscious bias on Henry's part. I guess that didn't come through either, huh?

Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

It is good to have you back, though. Those were some fun times back in the day, drinking bourbon, cracking wise about girlfriends and making penis jokes. Life was simpler then.

Anonymous said...

from an earlier post: straightforward question, that deserves a straightforward answer.

"Forget steroids. Here is another question? Do you think it is cheating to intentionally grab someone's wrist when they are about to throw to an open receiver? I mean with real intent, so that is obvious to everyone nearby that the defender deliberately stopped a big up-field throw by clenching the thrower's arm before he could release?"

Anonymous said...

Anonymous poster,

You are a mouthbreathing shitheel. You scrabble about the intertubes with insinuations and smears with no facts behind them at all about steroids. "But Ken bulked up in the age range when all men who exercise bulk up! I'm not saying he took steroids or nothing, i'm just asking the question!"

Were someone to do this with their name behind it, that would be bad. But the name at least would allow for scrutiny, reflection, some discussion as to whether or not that person was qualified to make such inflammatory accusations without proof.

But without a name? You're just a internet shitheel. If i was ken, i'd remove everything that comes out of your keyboard without comment going forward and/or block your IP, if that's possible (actually, do you have access to the IP Ken? If you do, start by posting that).
Dan Murphy

Anonymous said...

You're right, Dan. I am a shitheel.

Phil Price said...

Yeah, the late nineties, those were some good days. I promise: tonight, as I sit by the fire smoking my pipe, slippers on my feet and faithful old dog by my side, waiting for my 8:30 bedtime to roll around, I'll hoist a glass of sherry in the direction of my old black-and-white photo of us sitting at a bar at Worlds in '99, arms around each other's shoulder and smiles on our faces, and I'll drink a toast to auld lang syne.

I didn't know that you've been accused of cheating in Nationals Finals games. It's hard to believe you would have cheated in a significant way in Finals, which after all is the most intensely watched game in the sport, and even in the Nineties sometimes had dozens of spectators, not all of them drunk or high.

The Ken Dobyns who is posting now seems really different from the one I remember. I'm pretty sure I remember the old Ken Dobyns saying New York New York had only three players deserving of the Hall of Fame, and that he (old Ken Dobyns) wasn't one of them. I couldn't find that quote in several minutes of searching, but I did find this one from only eighteen months ago: "I’m hopeful that my numerous spirit violations won’t keep me out of the most hallowed institution our sport can claim, but I am prepared to suffer the consequences of my actions humbly and without recrimination." Boy, what ever happened to the guy who wrote THAT?

I hope you'll forgive me for not knowing all of the details. I'll share some of my impressions, while admitting that I don't have all the facts and have no interest in spending half an hour reading to collect them:

1. You complain that you're not in the HoF, you complain that you don't know Henry tells you why, and then you complain that Henry is spreading information that is supposed to be anonymous. For cryin' out loud.

2. You're parsing sentences and dissecting words like a Rabbinical scholar: Henry wrote "revile" rather than "deplore", does that prove that he's biased against you? "Judge for yourself." Yeah, really, this is worth discussing?

3. Argument by innuendo seem pedantic and petty, as well as a bit craven. If you think specific other HoF voters are biased against you, say who they are and why you think they're biased.

4. It looks like you devoted a whole post to dissecting the meaning of the word "cheating" (again, the Rabbinical scholar) and concluding that everybody cheats so it's unreasonable to hold cheating against you. (Or something; I confess, I only skimmed this.) You also posted something a while ago in which you talked about ripping a disc out of another player's hand to deprive him of a goal, more or less bragged about it, and said you're not sorry. You've gone out of your way to thumb your nose at anyone who thinks 'spirit' or even sportsmanship has the least bit of relevance. So it's a bit rich for you to be shocked to be accused of cheating.

5. Outrage is easy. It seems like everybody is outraged. Tiger Woods was outraged that people accused his wife of trying to beat him with a golf club. Floyd Landis was outraged that people accused him of cheating in the Tour de France. I get it that you're outraged. What I want to know is whether you were a cheater. That is a completely different question. It is one you have touched on, only obliquely, in only a few of the hundreds of your sentences I have read. To me, it's the only one that matters, when it comes to whether you should be in the Hall.

6. If you do want to get into the Hall of Fame, here's my advice. Drop all the bullshit. Instead, get a bunch of your former fierce competitors to step up and say publicly that they played against you in important, hard-fought, close games, and that you weren't a cheater. If they won't, try to live up to your own promise, and "suffer the consequences of [your] actions humbly and without recrimination."

Phil Price said...

Oops, I meant you're complaining that the stuff Henry is reporting is supposed to be "confidential", not "anonymous." Plus, as I trimmed a longer comment to get under the character limit, I did some poor editing in the pedantic/petty/innuendo part. The pedantic and petty part is your word-for-word analysis of sentences to which you object --- look, he said Championships PLURAL, that means MORE THAN ONE! --- whereas the innuendo part is where you imply that people (including Henry) are biased against you, instead of just saying "Henry is biased against me." (But maybe you do say that somewhere. Please, don't ask me to read more of your long diatribes).

I still think you belong in the Hall, but you're making it really hard to root for you to make it. Of course I know what you'll say: "I don't care if you want me to make it or not."

Corey said...

To Chris Mc-

If this is either of the Chris Mc that I know I think you SUNY education is showing. The poster putting up the CV of Irv and Tom is being sarcastic. He thinks the thoughtful and well crafted posts of the many people here are just bloggers ranting. And I assume he thinks KD doesn't hold a candle to either TK or Irv.

I think it's cute how he's being snarky while criticising Kenny's snarkiness. That is so classic frisbee player. Saying how he doesn't like something someone else is doing while he's doing it himself.

Anonymous said...

Corey said: I think you SUNY education is showing. (sic)

I say: Written like a true SUNY man.

Corey said: I assume he thinks KD doesn't hold a candle to either TK or Irv.

I say: I refuse to believe someone would try to make such a simple point in such a stupid way.

-Chris Mc.

Leonardo said...

i am going to sum up a bunch of stuff that deserves to be elaborated at a later time. I'm not sure if it's been written yet...

the simplest is this: Irv, TK and Stork (mostly Stork, aka Dan Roddick) wrote the "Spirit of the Game" clause in 1978 and inserted it into the rules of ultimate (i believe this was edition 6 or 7). TK then founded the UPA in 1979. The two go hand in hand.

Before that time, "spirit" was an unwritten honor code, and the rules of the game permitted referees. After 1979, ultimate was steered distinctly in one direction by its stringent moral code while being torn another direction by its competitive athletes

I never thought KD was a cheater, one who would purposefully break or bend rules to his advantage, but i certainly can see him being a dubious Spirit of the Game adherent and there is little doubt that KD and by extension NYNY's revolutionary attitude stoked the flames of cheaters around the country

But nonetheless the questions start to revolve around::

1) should the Spirit rule be enforced and maintained as stringently as it is? (and behind its continued currency in modern times you will see the hidden guiding hands of those original authors, who still have sway and power within the UPA and the HoF)

2) Should this Spirit rule have been inserted in the first place? If you like the Spirit rule and think it should stay -- then what does that mean for HoF candidacy?

3) one could consider the Spirit rule to be an Amendment to the original constitution -- and a controversial one. But considering that all those playing at the time were aware of the rule, then it should have been abided as best as possible.

It can be argued that KD (and others, note Mike Glass's omission from the HoF as well) did not follow the distinct rules of SOTG and were thus willful violators of one of the rules of the game and thus cheaters.

Were they cheaters in a larger sense of trying to corrupt the playing field so irrevocably that opponents had no chance of winning? I dont think so. But if you were to break it down just to the Spirit rule, then the evidence is strong that they fail.

My personal belief is that an impressive combination of other attributes, successes on and off the field, and specific contributions to teams, to the improvement of the game and to the culture of the sport outweigh the Spirit rule in consideration of the HoF and that Mike Glass, KD (and others) should be in the HoF.


Anonymous said...