Wednesday, May 07, 2008

One thing that people clamor for every time they consider windfalls in the UPA budget is a UPA-owned field site specific to ultimate. Taking a look at the Fields section of the Strategic Plan you can see that this concept landed on the cutting room floor. I'm glad. Let's have a look at the pro's and the con's.

Most obviously, owning fields would be sweet. No one denies that. Field quality is the one issue every player can agree on: flat, roomy grass with professionally maintained pitches are essential to any field sport. If the UPA were to own a field site we would never lack for a decent venue. But the questions surrounding every imaginable issue after that decision have negative repercussions.

Where would the site be? It would probably need to be in a warm climate to facilitate year-round play. It would probably need to be near an existing community of ultimate players. But trying to place the UPA's lone field site anywhere in the country makes it unfair to every dues-paying member outside of a 5-hour drive radius. You could even argue if the UPA offices were located in a warmer climate that would be a decent option, but that's not the case.

The fields would cost an arm and a leg. The Ottawa ultimate association built a field site and it cost about $600,000 CDN plus an annual $40,000 CDN for maintenance. And add inflation since that was 10 years ago. (If you want to read an excellent summary of this project check out Ken Lange's Powerpoint presentation from the 2004 UPA League Conference.) If the UPA was rolling in dough this wouldn't seem so bad, but there are better uses of that money.

Moreover, it would be unfair to concentrate such a vast commitment of resources to one project in one place. The amount of money needed would be disproportionate to the number of ultimate players who could actually benefit from it.

Lastly, the UPA has zero knowledge about field maintenance & upkeep, horticulture, or any other expertise needed to run a field site. Some would argue they are not even good at being a sport governing body, so why tack on more crap to the pile?

All that said, the two local field projects I know of (Ottawa, ON & Triangle Area, NC) are really cool. Both can host leagues and tournaments, and at least the TFDA site plans on renting the place to soccer players. I strongly encourage you to donate towards this worthy cause.


Ulti-lover said...

I aggree that there are probably better uses for the money, but just because the UPA has no knowledge of maintaining such fields doesn't mean they can't hire someone who does.

I'm based in the UK and at present we rent pitches which often means that venues are hard to find because of clashes with the rugby or football (soccer) season.

PS loved this: