During the past 2 years, Roy Hobbs has faced numerous challenges – as has most everyone – with Covid and weather playing significant roles in our lives.
This year the challenges are definitely good due to increased desire to attend the 2022 Roy Hobbs World Series.
We are sold out in 53s, 60s, 70s and have the most 45s teams (64) ever. We have asked teams to change divisions and/or have turned away teams as we do not have enough fields to handle the demand. Scheduling this fall will be a challenge, but fun, we think, mostly because we have already done a lot of homework on how to make things work.
However, this promises more challenges in future years because of anticipated growth. We must find a way to address expanding our options on field inventory, thereby offering more opportunities for teams to join us.
We know we cannot expand our October-November time slot in Lee County as we have Perfect Game playing in front of us and Thanksgiving week behind us. And no more fields are going to be added to the Lee County complexes in the near future. Those facts are a black & white reality.
We have several options, including re-arranging the order of our age divisions. This is our 2022 lineup with number of teams to date:
- Week 1 – 35s, sometimes women’s division (35, with women’s division)
- Week 2 – 45s (64)
- Week 3 – 53s (74, the max we can take with 9 inning games)
- Week 4 – 60/70s (56 & 30, with the 30 playing 7s)
- Week 5 – 65/75s (36 & 12, with the 12 playing 7s) & adding 2 80s teams
As you can see, the growth is 45 and above, and we really need to create a separate week for 60s, as we know some 45s and 53s are moving up or adding second age-division teams.
Here are 3 options we are considering for 2023:
- Week 1 – 45s
- Week 2 – 53s
- Week 3 – 60s
- Week 4 – 65/75s plus 80s growth
- Week 5 – 70s & 35s, + women’s division
- Week 1 – 35s & 70s + women’s division
- Week 2 – 45s
- Week 3 – 53s
- Week 4 – 60s
- Week 5 – 65/75s + 80s growth.
Status quo with expansion to the Charlotte Sports Complex
Status quo, with the addition of 4 community parks (2 with short fences) and potentially 3 high school fields. All 7 of these fields are maintained by the same Lee County crews who handle the professional complexes.
Evaluation & what to do?
Options 1 & 2 give the largest divisions their own weeks and gives Roy Hobbs’ the best opportunity to grow. Negative would be in crossover between several age divisions (see more below).
Option 3 would add 6 fields to the mix. The negatives are 1) travel, which was a problem when we used that complex several years ago and teams were not particularly happy traveling the extra 45 minutes; 2) expense as the Charlotte Complex does charge significantly more than Lee County for field use; 3) RH ability to provide logistical support.
Option 4 keeps status quo on the age division order of worship, giving RH 6-7 more fields within Lee County – All HS fields are lighted. Negatives include 1) RH would be limited to one afternoon (after school hours) game, but still have nights; 2) RH ability to provide logistical support at each site; & 3) we could be kicking the proverbial growth “can” down the road. (To be honest, we will be using Community parks weeks 3 & 4 this fall if the Red Sox nix our using all 7 fields those weeks.)
To date, our approach always has been to have a ‘stair-step’ approach to the age divisions, thereby allowing teams and players to compete in multiple divisions, without multiple trips to Fort Myers
Options 1 & 2 would alter crossover opportunities somewhat. In Option 1, 35 & 45s are separated; in Option 2, 70s is separated from 65s and 75s.
Fact is that we have significantly more weekly crossover involving the 70s with both the 65s and 75s than the 35s with the 45s. That’s individual players as well as teams.
Therefore, we believe Options 1 & 4 are our best path to growth for RHWS 2023 & beyond.
And, yes, we are interested in participants thoughts on this – perhaps there is something we have not considered.
Options 1 & 2 would put us in direct age group competition with other adult events. Over the years we have vowed not to do that because why should we put ourselves in the position of forcing players and teams to choose, thereby limiting their opportunities to play and compete. However, suffice to say, our approach therein has not been shared by competing adult amateur organizations.
Yet Roy Hobbs continues to grow – thank you for your support.