The single hardest thing about managing a club is member communications. This includes everything from sharing practice and game times to getting folks lined up to play in games and tournaments. This club is highly developed from an organizational perspective; we are incorporated, have by-laws and a board of directors, are members of the GAA, applied for our 501c3 status (for tax deductible donations), have a web site, FB site, FB member's site, a budget and well developed financial records, a game schedule, fields, equipment and wearables, and much more. Putting this all together has been way more effort than I ever imagined, but the work is largely done. Despite all of the accomplishments, the club only exists if people want to learn and play the sport. It is all member's responsibility to do a few key things; 1) make an attempt to attend as many games as possible, 2) reply to requests for attendance at games with either a yes or no, 3) spread the word about our sport and club in an attempt to grow the membership base, 4) participate in votes and meetings (which are minimal), and 5) pay for equipment and membership fees. If each of us does our part, this club will get through its first year as a strong and growing club and set us up for a bright future!
The club Secretary and Chairman met with Illinois Benedictine University facility coordinator Kevin Dune (pronounced Dunn) on Tuesday this week to discuss use of their fields for practices, games and potentially tournaments. They have a field that is 135 yards by 70 yards and that is in excellent condition as well as perfectly flat. They have 25 ft. wide soccer goals on wheels that we could easily attach goal posts to. Our intent for the discussion is to get a better and bigger field for our games in particular and to develop a relationship with the University so we can have a reliable and affordable place to play. Ideally, the University could become our "home" field. Besides the one grass field, there is an artificial turf football field similarly sized to what we are using at Commissioner's and Nike Field. Finally, for tournament scheduling, the University also has a close relationship with Benet H.S., who have another full sized football field and another very large field. Working together, it is feasible that as many as four games could be going on concurrently if everyone agreed to allow it. Realistically, our initial tournament as a host will likely be small and the two University fields should be plenty.
Never having blogged before, this is a bit intimidating. The purpose of this blog is to talk about the Naperville Hurling Club, what we have accomplished and what the future holds. While there are all these other communications channels, none of them is really suited to longer or involved thoughts. Tweeting is too short. Facebook is too public. The blog gives readers the opportunity to opt in, per se, and only folks who are interested need apply. We officially started this club in November of 2013, incorporating, purchasing a web site, setting up a FB page, etc. I believe it was March when we applied for 501(c)(3) status. We secured our first sponsorship from Ridge & Downes Attorney through Dan Lund, then Ballydoyle, Glanbia and most recently Quigley's. We are very lucky to have such outstanding and supportive sponsors and intend to ensure they get a good ROI. As of today, the team has participated in 3 league matches between the Ballydoyle and Quigley's teams and 5 matches with other clubs, including Purdue (1), Cusack's (2) and the Denver Gaels (2). In the immediate future, we have tournaments in Minneapolis/St. Paul on June 7 and St. Louis on July 26. Between those tournaments, we continue to schedule our league matches.
Upcoming Blog Posts are going to cover some concepts that are being developed, including a relationship with a local University, trying to set up a high profile tournament or exhibition match in Naperville, setting up a draft system for the 2nd half of the summer hurling season, increasing membership over the summer, improving club communications, and other items.