"That's cheap." The rational invocation of norms, practices, and an ethos in ultimate frisbee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This field observation compares the behavior and welfare of ultimate Frisbee players in three settings. The first setting, Corning College, was an informal group at a private university. The second setting, Stuart University, was a seasonal, open collegiate team at a public university. The third setting, the Mallards, was a seasonal, elite, open club team. The players' interactions and behaviors in the three settings were influenced by a number of norms, practices, and an ethos known as the spirit of the game. Through the presentation of field notes, video recordings, and informal conversations, the author argues via rational choice theory and game theory that players selectively create, negotiate, and manipulate norms and practices to maximize game interaction, quality, and/or fluidity depending on the particular conditions such as level of competition between players, history between teams and players, and the rewards at stake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-337
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Sport and Social Issues
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2004



  • Ethos
  • Norms
  • Player interactions
  • Ultimate frisbee

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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