Dear Readers and UPA voters,
Last year’s UPA Board election was, we feel, the beginning of a large-scale set of changes in the UPA. We spent a huge amount of time and energy covering the candidates in part because we felt that there were a large number of extremely good candidates as well as a smaller number of louder, less-qualified candidates. We wanted to give voters another chance to make their own impressions of these candidates and to avoid making what we felt were potentially disastrous choices.
This year’s election is somewhat different. Having researched the candidates, we feel that all candidates that are in this election are strong. Any one of them could do an excellent job in furthering the UPA mission. We don’t feel that the extent of our last year’s coverage is necessary (nor was it feasible for us without sacrificing several issues worth of our normal sport-improvement content).
This year, then, we are limiting our investment to a simple endorsement.
In a very worthy field of candidates for the at-Large position on the UPA Board, we would like to endorse Alex ‘Dutchy’ Ghesquiere as our vote. Our reasons for this endorsement boil down to three main areas:
- Dutchy has proven to be extremely invested in the growth of the sport, and is willing to follow through on complicated and long-term processes to reach further goals.
- Dutchy has a solid handle on the needs of the sport at the highest levels. While we do not feel that a focus on Elite Ultimate is or should be the primary goal of the UPA, future growth and promotion of the sport will require this understanding on the board. With valuable and exciting hires coming in to head the UPA from outside of the game, we feel Dutchy is a good bet to promote his understanding well while keeping the bigger goals in mind.
- Dutchy does a very good job building consensus and describing his positions thoughtfully. With the UPA ready to take on major changes, we need board members that can deliver positive, reasonable words to the greater membership. Dutchy will be very good in this role, in our opinion.
The essay below is Dutchy’s own campaign platform. We wholeheartedly endorse his candidacy, and if you agree with us that this is important, then please don’t forget to vote online at http://www.upa.org/useractivities.
—Editors, The Huddle
Here I’ve put together a brief summary of what I’m hoping to accomplish if elected to the UPA board. I am intentionally being relatively non-specific about my proposals because I feel I don’t yet have all the information needed to propose specific rule or organizational changes. Specifically, I know very little about changes that have already been discussed and vetted on the board (besides knowing that some exist), something that I have always found frustrating. While I appreciate the board has made some efforts already to better communicate with the membership, I hope to improve the visibility of the important discussions taking place. I’m open to new ideas and discussion, specifically on the points I talk about below, but my general goal on the board will be to promote the elite college and club divisions while keeping the integrity of the game intact. Being elected to the board will allow me the resources and responsibility to achieve this.
My starting point goals include:
1.) I’d to improve the observer programs. I would like to investigate having observers for tournaments come from participating teams. This could take the form of phasing in a requirement or monetary incentive to have elite teams provide qualified observers. Another option is to specifically plan tournaments so that during byes teams would supply observers and line judges for other games, a format that is already in place in most volleyball tournaments. In general, I feel more and better observers are one of the most critical elements to improving the quality of elite ultimate.
2.) I’d like to have the UPA more actively involved in elite tournament organization, promotion, and finding sponsorship opportunities; especially for large college and club regular season events both for the benefit of the tournaments and as a potential revenue source. This is a delicate subject with increasing visibility of independent tournament organization companies, either the UPA could provide this service – employing additional staff and not be required to turn a profit – or make explicit deals with independent companies to run the critical regular season tournaments of the year.
3.) I’d like to directly participate in the restructuring efforts ongoing; I have watched the effort from a neutral position and have been anxious for the UPA to involve more people and do so more publicly than they have so far. My goal with the restructuring will be to provide a meaningful and showcase-able regular season for elite club ultimate teams. I particularly like the possibility of creating an elite league of teams with opportunities for new teams to break into the league and thus allow the UPA to have a consistent set of teams and well-defined season to promote the sport. The premier league of ultimate teams, with spectator-friendly observer setups and the spectacular quality of play we know about in the club division are the right ingredients for dramatically expanding the promotional value of the sport.
Running for the board is a difficult decision for me because if I get elected, I will both put in a lot of work on the board as well as miss the always-awesome Lei-out beach tournament (a significant consideration, believe me). But, I’m willing to put in the time, energy, and miss one of my favorite weekends of ultimate in the year in order to be a part of the upcoming changes for the college and club divisions. First, though, I need your vote to make it happen. So please take a quick trip over to the UPA webpage, log in, and throw your vote in. Or feel free to email me with questions.
Alex (Dutchy) Ghesquiere