I had a lot of fun with this league this summer. Hopefully everybody else did too. This was my first attempt at running an organized field lacrosse league (or outdoor league of any sort). It was only my second attempt at running any sort of sports league (last year's box league being the first). As such, I have learned a few things:
1. Mother Nature is a cruel and unrelenting bitch
As hard as we tried, we just could not escape the weather. We all know that Iowa summers can be a real nightmare. We did our best to play through the heat and humidity every week. Unfortunately two of those weeks had unreasonable temperatures that resulted in cancellations. The second cancellation was significantly worse than the first because it was a playoff game and there was no time to even attempt a make up game.Still, I feel fortunate that we were able to play ten games this summer. When I set up the league, I scheduled nine games, a playoff game, and a final game for each team. I also allowed an extra week for a night of heavy absences. By contrast, Major League Lacrosse teams play 12 games each and only 4 teams make the playoffs. We started on the first Wednesday in June; the pros started before Memorial Day. We played our championship games during the same week.
2. Make up games are nearly impossible to pull off
The first time we canceled a game due to extreme heat, I got a lot of flack from people that wanted to play. I understand that; after all, I really wanted to play too. Lax is my stress relief from a long day of being a cubicle jockey. I also like things to go off as planned, so a cancellation obviously throws a monkey wrench into things.
To keep things on track and get in the planned games, I decided to schedule a make up game. I emailed and sent texts to everybody in the league with a couple of options. I made the first date a week and a half out, hoping that people would/could make arrangements. When the make up game rolled around, roughly half the league showed up - if that. The frustrating part was the number of players that chose that date and did not show up. Then again, the non responses were frustrating too...
Needless to say, when we had to cancel the playoff games, rescheduling was quickly tossed out. Given that we barely had enough guys for a single game last time, we were not going to try to make up such an important game. The time and effort involved were not worth the result. Unfortunately cancelling the playoffs altogether was the better solution.
3. We need to avoid using the extra night for as long as possible
We knew there were a lot of anticipated absences during the second week of the season so we decided to use our free day rather than to have it count as a league game. After I had to cancel the playoff games, I regretted this decision. Originally I had planned the free day for the tenth week of the season, but this was just a place holder. My hope was that we would still have the free day available and could move up the playoffs by a week. Then we could move the championship up and have an all-star vs league champions game the next week. This would have prevented the loss of the playoff game, although it would have created a bye between the playoff and championship. Still, I'm sure that most would have preferred this.
Next year I will plan for a flex day at the end of the season and do my damnedest to keep it free for the playoffs.