|07:26 pm - An Open Letter To LAFFBall|
To Quasi Skunk,
For the first decade of LAFFBall, it was a booming success with many hours put in by the organizers promoting and umpiring the monthly event. Despite a move from Waukegan to Lombard that alienated many from Wisconsin, numbers and participation continued to grow. However, in the past couple of years, attendance has been in a sharp decline. Some of this has been due to some regular players moving away or becoming busy in other aspects of their lives, but we have also seen a marked decrease in the casual player and a lack of new participants. As active players who've been attending for years, many of us worry about the future of LAFFBall if number continues to dip.
In past years, attendance often would reach 30 participants on the nicer Saturdays, sometimes flirting with 50. While attendance for the first three games in 2015 was decent, it still lagged behind past years. In August and September, both very nice weather dates, we barely had enough people to field two teams, 15 in August, 18 in September. We then dipped to 10 in October, despite it being 20 degrees warmer than last year's October game. As people who've been active with LAFFBall for years, we want to offer suggestions to improve turnout so that this unique event doesn't become a thing of the past.
First, we recommend adding either a co-chair or second in command for the event, someone local to Chicago that can cover for weeks where your mascot duties take priority or the threat of weather makes committing to travel a risky propostion. The additional person could help run softball in your absence, check on the fields when weather is questionable, and be an local ambassdor for the event.
Second, we recommend expanding the social media presence of the event. Create a LAFFBall profile on Facebook or FA, and increase the usage of the LAFFBall Twitter account.. With minimal current voice through Twitter and the basically defunct Live Journal, knowledge of the event is primarily based on word of mouth, which is additionally difficult without Chicagoland representation.
Third, we need to look for additional ideas to make the LAFFBall weekend an all day, or event multi-day event. It is much easier to attract outside or casual attendees if they are getting a weekend full of entertainment instead of only a softball game they might be lukewarm about participating in. When scheduled on the same weekend as Downers Grove Bowling, it is a natural alignment; however the bowling group and LAFFBall does not entirely coincide. When LAFFBall doesn't line up with Bowling, there is little else beyond the game to encourage attendance. Options we could consider include a informal group event like Laser Tag or a movie on Friday night. Then ideally we would also have a picnic/BBQ at the park following each game. This would also include having solid plans in case of a rainout, whether it's go-karts, arcades, bowling, or a movie, offering alternative plans alternative plans will keep people from writing off the event due to the threat of weather.
Fourth, if possible, bring back the anniversary game in July at an alternate location to Madison Meadows. For a couple of years, we went to Wisconsin for the July game (though it was organized by MFF and FCN). It had an excellent turnout every year and resulted in some additional participation for future events in Lombard.
We feel LAFFBall still has the potential to be a great event that gets 30+ people on a monthly basis like it used to. Leading this event requires hard work, open communication, and dedication. It's often a thankless job and people are more likely to criticize than pat you on the back. We appreciate the effort you've undertaken in keeping up the event after Stevie stepped aside. However, if we are going to keep LAFFBall from dying a slow, quiet death, it's going to take a group effort. It's not fair to you to put the weight of everything on your shoulders. Let's get together and make LAFFBall great again.
Veteran and New LAFFBallers