Dear SAPC Member,
Have you been wondering about our indoor play this year? Would you like to know more about our new venue in particular? Well, read on!
Organizing play for a new season (indoor versus outdoor) involves a lot of volunteer hours, planning and even some risk-taking. We’re not sure how it will all turn out, and sometimes we have to guess a bit at what our members are looking for, when they’d like to play more, as well as where, with who, and for how much. When you fill our events, we know we’ve hit the mark, at least partially, with some of you.
We are very fortunate in our St. Albert club to have as many indoor venues and play times as we do. Most Alberta clubs struggle to have an indoor season. In our club, we benefit from the past and current pro-active pursuit of all opportunities, sometimes snagging space before competing clubs and competing sports. That was the case with landing the play opportunities we now have with Level 1 Sports – our new venue at 145th St and Yellowhead Trail in Edmonton. We’ve secured most play times, from 10 am to noon, Monday to Thursday, for nearly all days this indoor season. What a coup!
One of our challenges with this new venue is keeping it full for the play times we have. Level 1 Sports has six courts, so can accommodate 24 people at once (26 with 2 spares), it has great lighting, great floors, few lines (and the pickleball ones are now better marked), ample space around most courts (two courts recently adjusted), and the kitchen lines are at a true “non-volley zone” width – so it beats our many school play venues on many fronts.
One key disadvantage of this space though is our club has to make a commitment to use a certain amount of courts three-plus weeks in advance of the play. Once the commitment is made and this change window expires, our club is on the hook for the rental cost, whether people show up or not. This is different than our situation with schools and Red Willow where we can fortunately cancel play with little notice to the venue owner and have no obligation to pay when we cancel without advanced notice.
Being a bit risk-averse with YOUR club’s money, we have chosen to offset this Level 1 Sports commitment risk by selling “series play” – a set of four to six play times – in one package. This form of play was successful with some levels in the past, but it requires that we pretty-well fill the reservable spots in a series before its “change window” expires.
The upshot is that if a series does not fill well in advance of the first play date, we have to cancel the series or at least cut back on the number of courts we commit to using. And if we have to cancel a series, because few are registering say to the “All Play”, “2.5” (beginner) play, or “3.0”, then we are also reluctant to schedule play for that level again in the next round of series.
Now we know many of you have other commitments so cannot make it to four weekly plays in a row. Or you’re getting ready to head off to the south. Or, heaven forbid, you’re still working and can’t yet take advantage of this weekday play (your time will come!) But if none of these are holding you back – then you’re missing more fun with friends.
If you are simply reluctant to make a commitment so far in advance, then our drop-in play at schools or our reserved play at Red Willow play is for you. But sometimes having fun requires a bit more planning – and a commitment.
Now, the series play at Level 1 Sports doesn’t show up in our online calendars like our other play. Instead, only the first play date in a series is in our calendars. You have to open one of these events in the calendar to see the other play dates (and times) in the series.
Unlike our other play, we also issue you direct invitations (announcements) to the series play by email, enabling you to start making your reservation with a push of the button in the email. This email is only sent to those in the level(s) eligible to play so, for example, only those club rated 4.0, 4.5 or 5.0 get the emails for our 4.0+ series play.
If you lose the email, you can also make a reservation by going to the Level 1 Sport calendar and clicking on the event there. Don’t forget to look ahead a month in the calendar, because that’s where the series are that are open for registration.
We currently have a few spots open for the following 4-week series play:
If a series is full, don’t hesitate to go on the waiting list; several people typically get in this way.
Look for emails or calendar entries for future play at Level 1 Sports to be published as follows:
Registration Opening Play Starting Sessions; Series
Nov 20 to 22 (target) early January 4; Series I, J, K, L
Dec 20 to 22 February 4; Series M, N, O, P
Jan 20 to 22 March 4; Series Q, R, S, T
Feb 20 to 22 April 4; Series U, V, W, X
As there was negligible interest in 2.5 or All Play in a recent series, look for two new opportunities in January: “3.5+” and Partner Play. Partner Play is like “All Play” in that players can be unrated or at any level, but you register with and generally play with the same partner each game. This is particularly suited to couples who are at different levels, but anyone can join in. If you need a partner, consider advertising for one in our WhatsApp or Facebook groups, or randomly message members via our member directory! Substitutions allowed.
Do you have any doubts about trying Level 1 Sports and our series play? Is there a question about this play you’d like answered before making a commitment to try this play? Do you have a suggestion for future series play? Email email@example.com