The social media feeds are determined to remind us that this is a week for some sad anniversaries. And yeah, we’re here to add one more:
It has been one year to the day since PUL last hosted a game of ultimate. In a facility that can no longer accommodate ultimate.
Peterborough’s situation isn’t great at the moment, but there are reasons for optimism: better weather is coming, and along with it better opportunities for social distancing. And there are vaccines! If you’re a member of PUL, there’s a good chance that you know at least one frontline worker who has gotten the shot in the arm that they well deserve.
And in the spirit of that optimism, here’s a quick update on where we’re at.
Summer play is expected to happen
We do not know exactly what it will look like just yet, but we ARE preparing for ultimate this summer.
Back in December, we released a Return to Sport plan. It’s not foolproof, and will need refinement, but it gives us a working framework. Things are still very much in flux, so we will be waiting just a bit longer before we try to nail down those details. Much will depend on the length of the current set of restrictions in Peterborough.
But here are a few things we’ve been thinking about.
Currently, the target date for registration to open is April 26. The latest shift to Red may affect this date, but we’re hopeful, and we’ll keep members posted as the situation evolves. We are laying all the usual groundwork for the season (securing fields, etc).
Juniors is also well in hand. Jocelyne has been in contact with coaches and parents, and there is much promise there. They will not be hitting their target date of March 15 (Peterborough going Red did NOT help), but Jocelyne will keep us posted. If you have a child and are interested in starting them in PUL Juniors, you may reach out to Jocelyne directly.
We are still thinking in terms of cohorts, not team-based play. We will do our best to offer a variety of options: cohorts that meet more than once per week, for those who can’t get by on just one fix; accommodations for small groups who want to play together; cohorts balanced for age groups and different levels of play. These are tall orders, and it will keep Operations Coordinator Jocelyne Stone very busy ahead of and during the summer.
We expect some players will be vaccinated, but others not. This means that we will be keeping planned protocols in place (waivers, screening, physical distancing, etc). We’ll have more details on this as we get closer to actual play.
Annual General Meeting will be delayed
PUL’s constitution requires us to hold an Annual General Meeting before the start of the summer season. This has been an extraordinary year, however, and the Board does not feel it is in the League’s best interest to hold the meeting just yet.
Two things need to happen: elections (see below) and approval of the budget. We will make sure that interested members can consult the budget if they wish (we did run a deficit this year, and are happy to discuss that). But elections require engaged members and volunteers, and after a year of no ultimate that might be a tall order just now. The Board feels that maybe having everyone play a few weeks might be the reminder we need.
We are therefore leaning toward a virtual or distanced event, likely in the mid-summer break. This also gives us the best chance of having – at last – a stable situation in which we can reliably discuss the future of PUL.
Renewal of Leadership
One of the side affects of the lost year will be a hit to PUL’s leadership at the Board level. Several members of the Board will be stepping down after the next election, and this will leave a large vacancy at the top. This only continues a trend in declining volunteers at the very top – we’ve struggled to keep the Board large enough to function in a healthy and effective way (though I, George, hasten to note that PUL has always enjoyed a strong and supportive volunteer spirit at all other levels). Way back in January 2020, the Board’s plan was to focus on leadership renewal specifically. COVID had other ideas.
In the weeks and months to come, we will be jump starting that drive for new leadership. You can expect to see communications outlining the state of the league, what is needed going forward, and what can be done right now.
There is no way that PUL will look precisely the same post-COVID. But that’s a good thing! PUL is always changing: we welcome new generations of players, league formats change, trends in the sport change how we think about the game. We see tremendous potential for new leaders to step forward and make something of PUL that we’ve not seen before.