This Sunday at 6:30pm at the Atlanta Silverbacks Park the SNL experiment begins. This league is all business.
Back as far as two summers ago it became apparent that part of the league was splitting off. A number of players in our community were no longer joining AFDC leagues. Summer league was the last hold out until 2012. I have heard it quoted numerous times that what makes the Atlanta ultimate community unique (and summer league in particular) is the mix of players in our leagues.
To try to combat this movement we sent out some emails late in 2012 to a group of players to solicit feedback on what was important to them and what would get them excited about playing again. The following was indicated:
- 4/3 format
- High quality fields
- A time of the year that didn’t conflict with other ultimate schedules (spring)
- A time of the week that didn’t conflict with social schedules (Sunday nights)
- Small teams for more playing time
- Generous core rules
- High level of play, meaningful games (cash prize)
- Low burden on captains (small cores called pods, no draft, no emails)
- Field location
- Didn’t want this to negatively affect spring ultimate or goalty
Mark Poole and I set out see if we could design a league that accomplished all that. In February, after much work and many variations, we think we had that covered. We could rent one field at the Atlanta Silverbacks Park to host an 8 team league under the lights on Sundays. We then got the board of directors to sign off on it as part of the 2013 budget, though this league is entirely funded by the dues of its participants.
The next step was to get a critical mass of captains to allow us the confidence to write a check for the field deposit. Our philosophy was to attract captains, not players. If we got 24 captains they would do the work of recruiting players. First we personally emailed individuals we thought might form pods (people who have been leaders in the past). We needed 24 pods of 5 (3/2) to make 8 teams – see below. Then we sent out a mailing to a targeted slice of the league to entice others.
We started small with the intent to cast a wider net as we needed. We wanted captains to sign up and then do the work but we were also realistic that that would not get us all the way to 24. So, we created a free agent list that allowed players to contact me about their interest in the league. I would do the work of managing the list so that captains could chose from it. There was going to be no draft so getting on the list did not guarantee you a spot in the league. I also could suggest that groupings of players combine to form cores (though this never happened).
Once we achieved critical mass we created the league and reserved the park. At that point we had much more male interest than female (no surprise there). We had three weeks to spare (two of which I was going to be unavailable). We opened registration to allow the men to sign up and we hoped to recruit more ladies. The responsibility fell to the guys to find women to finish their cores with us trying to match interested parties.
Our intent was not to optimize a league to have the most talented players possible. It was to engage a targeted group of players from the Atlanta community that we thought was losing touch. These were players who had a history of playing and coaching in the area. We achieved this without hurting spring league. This year we will have 120 more people playing ultimate than last year and we’ll have the first 4/3 league since I’ve been in the Atlanta scene. The concept of the league has since evolved some and taken on new life during the process. There was plenty we didn’t think about up front. We will digest all the feedback and apply it to next year within the constraints of our system and the requirements of our volunteer’s time. We plan to better publicize the leagues details for sure.
Format: 4 men, 3 ladies – No 5/2 allowed
Players per team: 15
Field turf with lights @ Atlanta Silverbacks Park – Renegade field. Turfs or cleats are allowed. There is a no pet policy.
8 Sunday nights starting in late March running though early May.
1 game to 15 per night
Two rounds – You play at either 6:30 – 8pm or 8 – 9:30pm
On the final night 1v2, 3v4, 5v6, 7v8.
Cores of 5 players – 3 guys and 2 ladies are submitted via email. Cores that are accepted into the league will be given instructions how to sign up online at leagues.afdc.com
- Use player ranks (do not -3 for ladies or -2 for guys)
- Male maximum = 24
- Male minimum =17
- Female maximum =16
- Female minimum = 8
There will be no draft. I will combine three cores to form a team (6 ladies, 9 guys). We are looking for 24 cores to make 8 teams.
Free agent list: If you are interested in playing but do not have a core you can email me. I can then use that list to help potential captains fill out partial cores.
First place teams receives $750. Second place team receives $375.