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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

TX Live Summer 2013 Survey Responses

Hi everyone! I want you guys to know that we really value your input and feedback, so here our a few great comments from last season's survey with responses from the league:

“I wish that the league reps would enforce the "no dog off leash" policy on the fields. Not only do the dogs get in the way of games sometimes, more importantly they will approach other dogs. When you come and bring your dog on a leash, you are being a responsible dog owner. Some of the dogs on our team aren't good with random dogs running and approaching them. It isn't fair to punish the owners who follow the rules and bring their dogs on a leash. Our team has begun to not bring our dogs due to the stray dogs running around. The most fair way to handle this is enforce all dogs on leash.”
This is a perfectly valid concern, and one I sympathize with as a dog owner. The park rule at Gillis which states that all dogs must be on leashes WILL be more consistently enforced throughout all our leagues in WAKA Austin to make your game day a more dog-friendly experience for ALL of our canine buddies.
“Deal with the police. Getting harassed by the police once a week has affected the overall experience.”
The police were present for three league nights this past season due to a complaint called in by a neighborhood resident. Gillis Park, like all Austin neighborhood parks, is and always has been an alcohol free park, and the only way to avoid visits from the police is to adhere to the park policies in such a way that neighbors are not inclined to call in complaints. After the initial visit, the league leadership was proactive about asking players to put away their booze if they were seen openly drinking alcohol, and will continue to do so this season.   
“Go over rules day one!”
Among the captains’ responsibilities is to have a clear understanding of the rules and make sure that their players do as well. (You can find a full list of captains’ responsibilities HERE). We recognize there is a lot to learn for new players however, and have a pre-season open play night every season which includes a rules clinic for new players to help everyone adjust to the game. Additionally, your league representative is always available by email to answer any questions!
“It would be awesome to have a bar with food, I loved it when we were at 3rd base. It would also be awesome to play at a park with more fields so we could mix and mingle with more teams and also play more consistently, it really sucked having a bye week every other week or so.”
We hope you enjoy the awesome food at Gibson Bar this season, I know I’m looking forward to it! Now that construction at Gillis Park has ended we’ve added a third field to each time slot for the Fall season, which means you’ll always be playing alongside 5 other teams. Additionally, bye weeks have been eliminated (and will only be used in the future if absolutely necessary)!
“Team consultants. Each team gets a designated league spirit captain assigned to them to help brainstorm random-ass ideas for theme weeks or just for normal weeks to add some more spice to the leagues. I think this will become more and more important as more of the corporate teams join. Theme weeks were pretty tame this year.”
I don’t know who you are because these surveys are anonymous, but I love you and I love your idea. Unfortunately we don’t have the resources for paid staff to fulfill this role, but our community has always thrived on volunteers lending their talents. If you wrote this or you love this idea and would like to help make theme weeks a bigger hit, please contact me right away at stephen@kickball.com and I’ll find a way for you to help!
“The price of the league is getting very expensive.”
The $2 increase in the league’s cost this season was the result of an unexpected increase in field costs from the city which left us with a budget deficit for the past season. We’ve worked hard to resolve this issue with the city and will be able to maintain stable and consistent pricing across all of Austin in the future.! 
“I know it's hard to enforce, but having consistent line refs would be nice. For the majority of our games, we had no first base ref, which led to some controversial calls.”
Even with first base refs, there will ALWAYS be controversial calls due to the nature of the human error. That’s part of kickball! Our head refs are all amazing volunteers that do what they do because they care about the WAKA community and their league, and we love the vibe that brings. Line reffing is a huge part of getting involved with other teams in the league and learning more about the game, and failure to provide a line ref always results in a paper forfeit being recorded for the team. These paper forfeits do not affect the team’s win percentage, but are the first tiebreaker for seeding playoffs.
 “I really enjoy the parties when they rent a place out and buy bottles if liquor and kegs. So much more fun to have beer pong and other games like we did at Schultz Garden and not have to deal with the hassle of the bartenders.”
I loved it too! We’re going to be working to have at least one of these types of parties each season moving forward, and this season’s End of Season bash will bring all three of our Fall leagues back to Scholz Garten for a November blow out!
“Better fields! Please, please, please get us back to pleasant valley or any real field with no divots/rocks.”
Fields are always a top priority for us, and we actually used to receive many more concerns about the location of our fields at Krieg Softball complex than we do about the quality of Gillis Park. We believe that a central location in close proximity to quality bars is a much better combination for the league than the higher quality softball fields which are less convenient to our players.
“Capital teams should play all Capital teams and Live teams should play all live teams.”

There are no longer any divisions within Live, and the reign of hyper-competitive teams appears to be drawing to a close in Austin WAKA. A focused and concerted effort has been made to balance the schedule this season, and I believe I’ve done a good job of making a schedule that will maximize fun for everyone. You can pick over the nitty gritty of it in THIS GOOGLE DOC, where you’ll find a “strength of schedule” tab including preseason rankings for all of the teams (in which I gave my best evaluation with the information available to me), and a derivative season difficulty rating and ranking. The delta column indicates the difference between the two rankings, with a positive number indicating your team’s schedule difficulty ranking is stronger than your team ranking, and a negative number meaning your team has a weaker schedule ranking than your team ranking. I am constantly working on ways to balance our leagues schedule, and am always open to ideas and input!

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