First I'll go over the sort of plan for Busse Woods ultimate in the next few weeks, then I'll discuss upcoming administrative changes to the group.
We now have some daylight after typical working hours. Normally, this would mean the start to our weekday season. Unfortunately, recent heavy precipitation and continuing cold weather have left us in a bit of a pickle. I checked out the Golf & Higgins fields earlier today, and if we tried to play this week, we would cause some significant damage to them. The Higgins fields are roughly 90% snow (and a lot of snow) / 10% slush. The Golf fields are like 50% snow / 50% slush. Looks like warmer weather will melt more snow in the next few days, and we're slated to get some rain on Tuesday to make it even wetter. Cleats and ultimate in these conditions are the worst possible for the fields. Most of you recognize the fact that we switched locations for a full year due to the Higgins Rd fields turning into dirt. This is something we're going to try and avoid as much as possible going forward. So for that reason, 2014 Ultimate will be postponed at least one week. NO GAMES TUESDAY (3/11) / THURSDAY (3/13) / Saturday (3/15) / Sunday (3/16). Future games are TBD and will have an announcement regarding start time as soon as the fields are deemed "reasonable." Location will likely be moved back to the Higgins Rd. entrance due to more options for field choices and better wind breaks, however we'll evaluate how each set of fields looks (hoping a year off was enough) and make a call appropriately.
If you do have an itch to play, there are still 3 more weeks of indoor ultimate at Westmont Yard on Fridays from 9 PM - 11 PM. The cost is $10 / person, cleats are allowed.
There are two fields in progress at a time, but the overwhelming participation numbers means there's still some downtime (but not much, most people feel the cost is easily justified). Shake off that winter rust and get back into the swing of things in a pretty nice, windless facility that's not too far from Schaumburg. This isn't organized by us, but run by John Skarha, who organizes a warmer-climate pick-up game in Wheaton which is highly recommended (they typically start up Thursdays/Sundays outdoors in May once the college kids get back home to round out their numbers). They have a Yahoo! group you can join for updates HERE - https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/SPUNultimate/info
. Additionally, the Evanston games (run by Kunal Pujara) are occasionally going, based on poll responses, you can get on their Yahoo! Group mailing list HERE - https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/evanston-ultimate/info
. These are games I've been to and can personally vouch for. Lastly, I'll plug pickupultimate.com
as a great resource to find pick-up games worldwide, and it looks like a few newer games are popping up in the Chicagoland area. They might be worth checking out, especially the ones that play on our off-days.
For those of you interested in a bit more structured ultimate (at all skill levels, even complete beginners), Ultimate Chicago's Spring League registration is still underway. If you're interested, check out the details and register here - http://ultimatechicago.org/play/leagues
Furthermore, if you want some more insight into how Ultimate Chicago is structured and run (I certainly do), there will be a Town Hall meeting (+ festivities) on April 4th starting at 6:45 PM at Sully's on Dayton. Details linked to here - http://ultimatechicago.org/node/55712
I've been a shitty group organizer for the last, oh, 15 months or so, with this winter being a huge failure on my part. There wasn't any communication from me, no drive to either get games going or proactively cancel them. Just a godawful performance. I'm sorry about that. About a year ago there was another email I sent in a similar vein. Part of me hoped to find someone better for the job, part of me thought I would suck a lot less. Thankfully, during most of 2013 a lot of people stepped in to pick up the ball that I didn't just drop, but effectively kicked as far away from myself as I possibly could. As I say so often, "the group basically runs itself." Winter is the exception, and could have gone so much smoother. It's not that I can't do the job, it's that I haven't been doing the job. This group deserves someone better.
After a lot of discussion with a lot of people, the plan is to have Mike Nagel become the next organizer of our Schaumburg Ultimate pickup group. (his email address is copied on this email)
Due to the way Meetup fees work and to ease the transition into our spring season, the changeover will occur "officially" (read: on the website) in mid-April. Leadership transitions like this have been pretty rare for the group. I believe it has only been Lisa (who I never actually met) -> Chadd -> Me. IF YOU HAVE ANY SIGNIFICANT ISSUES WITH NAGEL TAKING CHARGE OF THE GROUP / IF YOU THINK YOU COULD DO A BETTER JOB / IF YOU HAVE ANY OTHER IDEAS / COMMENTS / CRITICISMS / THINGS YOU WANT TO CHANGE, NOW IS THE TIME TO SPEAK UP. I've explained to Nagel in some detail (with a lot more to come, I'm sure) how a lot of the decisions around the group have been made, and why me (and the consensus of the broader team of assistant organizers) thought they were the best at the time (or, at least, not completely unreasonable, in the rare instances I made an executive decision). However, it's been made clear (and will continue to be made clear) that this is essentially now his group. While he has assured me that the inclusive, fun-focused pickup spirit is something that will definitely be kept, I personally expect a few details to shift here and there, hopefully for the better. Picnics will still happen, days and times we play should remain the same, but there are certainly improvements that can be made.
Some comments on Nagel and why, in my mind, he's the best current candidate for the job. He's played with us a bunch, but he's also played with other groups and played at tournaments and events outside of our circle. Not so new to the group that he's unfamiliar with how we've run things in the past, but not too much of an old-timer to be set in our ways and stuck on doing the same old thing. He's passionate about the sport, actively keeping up with a decent amount of broader-ultimate-community goings-on. He's proven an ability to get a bunch of folks together and make good things happen, adapting to changing circumstances and taking all sorts of flak for things somewhat-but-not-necessarily-entirely-within-his-control in stride. He's charismatic and genuinely interested in other people and helping them get the best ultimate experience for them, even if it's not necessarily best for him. Perhaps most importantly, he's expressed interest and excitement about taking on this leadership role. If you all could do your best to feed constructive criticism to him while he's getting the hang of things (and not bust his balls too too much when he inevitably makes a wrong decision here or there), I would be most appreciative.
With this transition, there will also be an overhaul of the assistant organizers / event organizers, just to sort of get everything current again. If you're interested in trying to help make a positive impact on the group, now's the time to speak up. If you were a little shy or afraid of talking with me (or you tried talking with me and I ignored you like an asshole), maybe Nagel's charming smile will be enough to break you out of your shell and make things happen.
"So Caz, does this mean you're leaving us for good?" Hell no! Ideally, I become more active this year than I was last year, increasing my time on the fields (at Busse, as well as filling an ambassadorial role with some of the other pick-up groups in the area). At the very worst, I'll be a text or email away in case the advice of an organizer emeritus (who likes to believe he was once pretty decent at the job) is needed. Being part of this group has been one of the best, most positive experiences of my life. I've played with hundreds of people, made scores of friends and (unfortunately) forgotten dozens of names over the years. It'll be a cold day in hell before I completely phase myself out of the group.
With my first action as now-lame-duck-organizer (with all appropriate powers & liberties), I hereby make a declaration that shall henceforth apply to all of our group pickup games going forward (unless otherwise decided) --- DROPPED PULLS ARE TURNOVERS. We've been gradually phasing this out over the past year or so, and with good reason. It's really the only deviation we have from the "official" rules, and it's an antiquated hold-out from a time when this group was about little more than a group of friends casually tossing a disc around. Let's finally play by the rules (with spirit / basic joy of play being most important, of course).
More details to come about when we'll start up again in 2014 (pretend I'm winking at anyone who can control the weather),