Catastrophic Court Crunch

March 9th, 2024

We're in the last calendar month of the Winter 2024 season and the situation, as in recent past season, is messed up. While I find the study of Economics to a gigantic waste of time (it's always boring and often misleading), what we have in Winter seasons is a classic supply-and-demand case study. We simply have too many teams and not enough court hours. And it has gotten worse over the years. A couple weeks ago, every team in the League was scheduled to play (we had one forfeit out of 49 games). But now, we're back sharing the facility with multiple club volleyball teams, a youth camp, and (ugh!) indoor soccer. (One of the few good things you can say about FIFA is that they insist that all soccer games are played outdoors and on real grass. So should it be for all soccer.)

I dread the 24-to-48 hour period after the schedule is posted. There are the usual "Tom, I know we have said that we want all night games, but this week, we need a day game" texts and the "Can we play the Flaming Buttburps this week? We know some of the guys at L.A. Fitness" requests. They're to be expected (and largely ignored). The ones that affect me are the "Another bye?!" ones. I pray that you believe me when I state that I would absolutely love to have enough court hours so that every team could play ever week.  If that were the case, just about everyone would be happy all the time. We could even run four League seasons a year instead of three. That wouldn't mean anything financially since we don't make any money, anyway. But it would be exciting.

My computer engineer son wrote a scheduling program. It was semi-brilliant but it turned out to be all science and no art. There are too many nuances to be programmed in. This team can't play that team because guys play on both teams. This team can only play at night, this one only in the daytime, this one only on that court. There's a lot to take into account. This week, after I got the court allotment from the venue, I went down the list and started with the teams that hadn't played last week. After that, it was teams that have only played four games this season and then another criterion and then another. Soon, all the spots were filled and I had a dozen or so teams that played last week but had had a bye two weeks ago. That sucks. I've got to find a way to do better. All I can say is that it won't be like this in the Summer season or the Fall one.

Just a quick note: There are a couple teams that have played three games in a row, but they started late (like late January/early February), so they're just catching up.

The regular season will be wrapping up this month. The venue is closed on Easter Sunday, March 31st. It's weird. since Easter is so early this year, I will actually get to see a couple Elite Eight games as they happen. Now, if God can work another miracle and have Popeyes Chicken be open (as always, I gave it up for Lent), I'll know what Heaven is like. The playoffs will start on April 7th. 

Hang in. We'll get the games in and do better next year. Thanks.