Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Why is alcohol held in such high esteem?

All yesterday I felt very consternated due to a flurry of emotional emails going back and forth about frisbee stuff. The worst part is that there were about 5 different issues that people were complaining about, and they were all getting mixed up, confused, and misrepresented... here's a summary of what happened:

1. At a board of directors meeting, I brought up a concern I've had for quite some time about the amount of drinking that occurs at league. I said I was torn because on one hand, more players (and more of the experienced players) are coming out to league. On the other, they're treating league as an opportunity to just hang out and get drunk with their friends, and they are not interested in playing good ultimate. I feel that's a bad environment to "grow and support the ultimate community," especially considering there are many new players, who find out that the good players screw around and play drunk, and they still crush the new players. I imagine that's disheartening, and in my opinion it's not the image of ultimate that ought to be conveyed.

2. Another, entirely separate concern was raised at the meeting by another board member, regarding Tucson Ultimate, Inc's policy on being responsible for things that happen at parties held at individual people's houses. On two occasions, TUI was asked to reimburse someone for a fine levied at a party - in one case it was a hefty fine, in another it was a small fine. In any case, I don't know why TUI ought to be liable for that kind of thing, so I agreed with the board members suggestion that TUI not support house parties. This means that league parties and tournament parties would have to be somewhere other than someone's house unless the volunteer accepted the responsibility for holding the party.

3. The league director misunderstood these comments as an effort to ban alcohol at Tucson Ultimate events. I know this because she said "You guys are trying to ban alcohol at Tucson Ultimate Events," and when I said that we weren't doing that at all she said "it sure sounds like it."

4. A board member brought up a question as to whether the board could help in some way with fund raising for teams or "scholarships" for individuals to help them get to tournaments.

5. The LD brought up a concern that the board's activity was not public enough - that she would have run for the board if she knew when elections were, and that meetings should be announced so anyone could come, etc.

6. The LD went home and expressed her frustration to her boyfriend, who happens to have a voice in the community because he's the best player in town and usually organizes practices and teams. Note: I don't mean to say other people don't have any voice in the community, I mean that this is a guy people listen to.

7. Said voice composed a long email to the community at large reporting that, among other things, the board was considering the possibility of Tucson Ultimate providing funding for specific teams and the possibility of eliminating the drinking of alcoholic beverages at league and Tucson Ultimate sponsored parties. I just noticed that in that email another complaint was that minutes of the board meeting aren't posted, yet the email went out about 2.5 hours after the close of the meeting - if minutes were to be posted, they likely wouldn't have been posted that fast.

8. I, as league coordinator for TUI, emailed the captains with a reminder of the league director's earlier email (and comment from the board meeting) that underage and excessive drinking will not be tolerated. This was a little underhanded, as the LD had posted that underage drinking would not be tolerated, but she had said nothing officially about excessive drinking. At the board meeting she said out loud that wasteoids would also not be tolerated, that she'd said as much to the captains, and that it was under control. As a captain, I am privy to the emails she had sent to the captains and none of them had to do with wasteoids, excessive drinking, or behavior. In retrospect I should have taken the LD out of the equation for that email and simply said there's been too much excessive drinking and to tell the players to tone it down.

9. Lots of people freak out that TUI is taking away their drinking privileges.

10. I get an email from an underage player telling me that she drinks at league, and doesn't want to come if she can't.

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