RIP, Stephen MacDougall

Today, the PUL community is reeling.

Stephen MacDougall was a mighty opponent on the ultimate field, but to a great many, he was an even mightier friend. Stephen’s character and passion, as a player and as a coach with Juniors, showed exactly the qualities that continue to make PUL great.

His loss is almost impossible to comprehend, and our hearts are with Kim, Rielle, and Kieran and all those who were close with Stephen.

PUL will certainly do something formal to acknowledge Stephen’s contributions, but in the meantime, folks should feel free to head over to PUL’s Facebook page to post any memories or photos below.

RIP, Stephen. You will be dearly missed.

Q&A / Social Tonight, 7 pm!

AGM 2020

We’ve sent out a few emails about this, but just a reminder that the PUL Board will be hosting a virtual and informal Q&A session this evening. No agenda, and certainly nothing so organized as the attached photo! So just grab a beverage and log on, to ask any questions you may have, or just to see a few familiar faces. We won’t have all the answers, but we’ll do our best.

This is in lieu of our annual AGM, which we have postponed until later in the year (probably fall?).

And honestly…it would just be nice to see some of our members. It’s been too long, friends!

Check your email for the Zoom link (maybe in the junk folder???). If you can’t find it, email George for the link.

Survey Results Are In

Thanks to everyone who responded to our Return to Play survey last month. Over a hundred (110 to be specific) responded, which speaks to our membership’s investment in this sport and the PUL community. We saw a pretty even split in opinions, those wanting to play now, those advising caution, and a slightly stronger preference for Indoor if we waited until the second season (January/February start).

Thanks to Jocelyne for setting up the survey. You can see the whole thing for yourself here. We’ve left the comments in. Someone advised kicking a dog…I hope that’s metaphorical? But otherwise, thanks to everyone for your continued support of PUL’s leadership. Not everyone will agree with the course we are charting, but we are prioritizing safety above all.

So Now What? 

Even since we began this survey, a lot has happened. Ontario has tightened its restrictions on gatherings, and cases in Ontario are increasing significantly, with predictions of an increased second wave coming throughout October.

Blame this on the reopening of schools and universities, the lowered diligence as people grow weary, or those guys who are giving false names at the Brass Rail (which is open for some unfathomable reason), but the fact is, it is not getting safer out there. Not right now.

So, in light of all of this: the first season of indoor, with a late October start, is not feasible. If conditions improve, we are hoping that the second season, starting in late January is possible. We will not make this call for some time, however: Christmas is going to see a lot of disruption to our collective efforts to stymie this thing, and so there’s little point in making concrete plans before we see what happens there. We’ll loop back to this in early January.

What about outdoor? We looked into this, and even laid some plans for an isolated cohort to play regular pickup. But as cases have risen, this becomes much more difficult to see as safe and sustainable. Field space is also an issue: the city is shutting down its grass fields for the winter. Although we do not normally book fields for pickup, we would this time around: we don’t need to jeopardize our relationship with the city by having large groups on unsanctioned field space.

The fields are still out there, so if individuals want to get out there and toss, you’re welcome to do so. If you’re looking for a few throwing friends, we can even help you out there with a little signal boosting. But we are not sanctioning any formal play at this time, and any cohorting/isolation concerns would be yours to deal with.

Will We Ever Play Again?

Yes. Goodness yes. We miss you all. I had a random encounter with another PUL player the other night while out for an evening walk, and it is so damn weird how long it’s been.

January remains iffy, but the Board is already starting to give consideration to summer 2021. Several leagues in Canada did run limited seasons this year, some successfully, some less so. Conditions differ significantly across the country, but there are a lot of lessons to be learned, and every month that passes brings more understanding of how this virus works. So we are optimistic on that front.

So, mask up, wash your hands, stay safe. We all have to do our part to get through this.