Does mine matter?

I’ve held off a few days now to see how things would develop but there seems to be a distinct sense of self-entitlement amongst all y’all that needs to be addressed.

This post will address two issues, the first being cancellation of placement bracket games at CUC.  The second being the release of videos/DVDs of CUC 2009.

The issue of game cancellation is a tricky one and is fraught with peril.  In order to understand the issue one needs to empathize with all perspectives and only then can one choose whether or not to sympathize with the decisions made.

As a TD the last thing I want to do is cancel games.  At Ontario Regionals there was the distinct possibility of thunderstorms all day on Saturday and while we hoped for the best our contingency plan was rather weak (play games on Sunday or move to another weekend).  In Ultimate we don’t have the luxury of being able to delay games to a second day, move teams to another stadium, or procure space on an indoor stadium/grass surface.  Tournaments are already run to barely break even (if we’re lucky) so that all players may attend at minimal cost to themselves.

As a small and growing sport we lack the corporate sponsors that allow other sports massive buying power.  We do not have the luxury of getting first choice at fields or even second choice.  Unless we own our fields we will always be at the bottom of the totem pole.  Given the lack of argent every player must understand that backup plans for additional fields are next to impossible.

How many times have you heard of a tournament being canceled due to rain?  I can think of University Championships in Montreal a few years back as well as day 2 of No Borders of this year.  I can also conjure up a few “almosts” with Northern Flights going ahead last year barely in the nick of time thanks to the acquisition of fields two days before the start.

If you can understand the above you can understand why a backup plan aside from the indoor surface was not available at CUC 2009.  The original concern, though, is why were the games canceled in the first place?  Why not play on the fields anyways?

To understand that question we must understand the weather conditions as well as the cost of a single field.

I watched games from the fields all day on Saturday.  I arrived before the first game and left well after the Juniors final finished.  I was drenched when it poured (General Strike vs Phoenix game), I slogged through the mud on the sidelines as I cheered on new friends, I stood in almost knee deep water as I heckled old friends, I experienced the best and worst of the tournament weather first hand and I am still unhappy that I didn’t play on Saturday.  However, I understand why they closed the fields.

The cost of a single field for maintenance is approximately $13,000 (obtained from this document).  The number mentioned is simply for maintaining an existing field.  Imagine the cost for growing a new field from mud.  Now extrapolate that to the ~16 fields used.  Consider now how it would be economically infeasible to do so.

I hope players understand that allowing us to play on the fields would have been economically devastating to MODS.  It’s not a decision the TD, MODS, or CUPA took lightly; to quote Danny Saunders:  “toughest call I ever had to make”.

How do we prevent this from happening in the future?  Play more Ultimate, get friends playing, family playing, strangers playing.  The more people that play Ultimate the more money will come our way and we’ll be able to afford better facilities.  We will be able to afford multi-day series, professional teams, corporate sponsors, and Nike ads.  Don’t dwell on the past but look forward to sunny days.

Onto DVD discussion.  MODS will be releasing the DVDs after post processing and removing much of the dead space between points.  DVDs can be obtained directly from them after they are released.  Plans to release the videos online exist but not for sometime and presently they’re only plans.  Clips will likely be posted from time to time but for unspecified reasons I will not be posting the videos online at this time.  I’d like to thank MODS for the opportunity to broadcast the event live and I believe that they should have first shot at delivering the content to Ultimate fans around the world.  The three games were very exciting and each one provides valuable insight into the game of Ultimate.  I suggest you keep an eye out on this space on details as to when the DVDs will be released.

If you have questions/comments you can contact me directly:  tushar@iamultimate.com.