Beehive Sports is 5 Years Old Today!
5 years ago today, was Day #1 of Beehive Sport and Social Club.
Each year I like to write a little letter of reflection about the places we’ve been, the people we’ve discovered and, perhaps most importantly, the direction we’re heading.
As has become tradition, this letter starts with two enormous and heartfelt “thank you’s.” First, and not least, thank you to friends who believed in the idea of Beehive Sports. Ben “Let’s Go Caaaats” Lucas and Jimmy “Jimbo 10 Pin” Accettura have worked their asses off to keep a sea of smiles shining across every Beehive field. Their dedication from Day #1 to Day #1,825 is living proof that friendship is the source of everything good.
Second, thank you to everyone who stepped up and joined Beehive when it was just a series of sentences (and stolen photos) on a web page. It’s a lot easier to join when “people like me play” or “it’s what people in SLC like us do.”
A special place in my personal Hall of Gratitude will forever be dedicated to those who decided that this could be for them. They were pioneers and paved the way for anyone to join without reservation.
Their kindness, in fact, continues to be the model. The proof is in the numbers. In 2015 over 4,000 people played in a Beehive Sports league. Holy shit.
Some people say that crying, laughing and orgasming at the same time is impossible — that number gets me pretty close to such a feat.
More people means a lot of good things. It means more people germinating the Hive, for one. More people is more interactions which ultimately yields more smiles/laughs/friendships — and that’s all that matters in life.
Andddd, all of that goodness means our official relationship counter is now highly unofficial and instead very speculative. We lost count in the 110’s for what it’s worth. More meaningful, Beehive has initiated an incredible eight marriages and three babies (all anecdotally traced back to a post league night).
Aside: I personally, could not possibly be happier for the upcoming birth of Niki and Tall Paul’s first child. Apart, they are two of nicest people you’ll ever encounter. And, together, they are going to be two wonderful parents in addition to Beehive stalwarts.
It also means we can give more money to great local charities! In 2015, we gave over $7,000 to local charities. Since 2011, we’ve donated $14,000. Again, holy shit. I cannot wait to see what sort/degree of a positive dent the people of Beehive make in the universe this year.
This past year we inducted six new people into the Beehive Hall of Fame. Three couples who have been fixtures in leagues over the last couple years were inducted together. The party to celebrate at Club 90 was awesome.
The “Prom” event continues to be a great time in large part thanks to Krystin Meidell. Krystin is a go-getter in every sense of the word. Her dedication to the mission of Beehive Sports has manifested itself it yet another way this year. She has become the first ever “Director of Beehive Events.” She’ll coordinate all the BBQ’s, pub crawls, festival game areas and other random fun stuff that keeps Beehive, well, random and fun.
Krystin isn’t the only person who has stepped up. In my absence (if you’ve made it this far I doubt this is news but if so, check it out.) Mitch Felkel has taken over as the new commissioner of Beehive Sports. He’s the Adam Silver to my David Stern. All the rigged draft nights I presided over will now be fair. PEDs now not only allowed, but encouraged!
Mitch is a great guy who’s story echoes Beehive’s reason for being. He joined a free agent team as “the new guy” in town in 2014 and developed a great relationship with the Neon Ninjas during that first season. He knows, first hand, the power of Beehive of to form long lasting bonds.
His job, first and foremost, is to continue to unleash that power for the benefit of everyone else.
Last year also saw some of the best people in Utah discover Beehive Sports. Pete Hemingway, Travis Ryan, Maggie Corrigan, RJ Majo, Caleb Light, Austin Otto, Reeny Harrison, Aaron Oliver, Angel Rivera, Greg Samson, Brad Dichter, Becky Webster, Josh Campbell and many, many more.
When Salt Lakers like them, the kind/fun/easy-going type, sit in our little corner of the city — I can’t help but smile. After all, there’s little else that attracts goodness in the world besides good people. Those mentioned above, along with those before them, are giant walking magnets of goodness.
This letter would be incomplete without a hit of the best wishes cap to a few people who’s life path took them away from us last year. Matt Davis, after being yelled at while refereeing dodgeball one too many times, returned to New England (jk). Longtime referee/coordinator, Jonah “Big Sexy” Bolton pursued a job opportunity in Texas. Patriots, Brandon Hua and Jake Woller, left Hill AFB for new assignments. And a friend to all and enemy to none, Chris Ford, headed home to Pennsylvania for personal reasons.
I speak for everyone when I say they a, will be missed and b, will always find in us a willing friend no matter where in the world they reside. Oh and c, we hope they (and Eric Griswold) come back soon.
As I look out onto the horizon of this year, I’m excited to share some thoughts on the direction of Beehive Sports.
First, as we’re bombarded by requests for new sports, we slowly get our asses in gear. Ultimate Frisbee is quickly becoming a favorite. Soccer grows each season as more “how about we don’t foul each other relentlessly culminating in some macho trash talking climax where everyone ultimately just rolls their eyes game but instead just have a good time game” Socceroos find us.
We tried, unsuccessfully, to start a LGBT kickball league this spring. I hope we can get that going soon to further solidify our alliance with that vibrant community.
Oh, and to the guy who keeps requesting adult 4-Square, you’re pleas haven’t fallen on deaf ears — we’re working on it. And if anyone in Beehive Nation is looking for a hobby — I’d love to give you some money to build/organize this, this and this. Or whatever silly idea you have in mind — we’re only an email away!
I’m psyched to say we’re working on converting all our volleyball leagues over to tank tops too. Cuz, I mean, tank tops!
A larger philosophical question that we’re wrestling with is just what size is the right size for Beehive Sports. Our kickball and football leagues get bigger each and every season. At what point (if ever) does the friendly community of Beehive Sports become the impersonal organization of Beehive Sports? And what can we do to open up spots for more good people without compromising? Does a bigger league mean it’s easier or harder to meet people?
You can take my word for it or just ask Sasha; I often stay up late into the night internally debating these questions and more. I usually start by reflecting on one of our explicitly laid out goals — throw a HUGE block party for Beehive Sports’ 50th year of existence in Salt Lake City. My personal goal is to play in that 50th year of kickball. From those two endpoints (hopefully midpoints) I start to ponder our mission statement (meet people, play sports, have fun) and then around 1am fall down the black hole of possible ways to deliver on that mission.
I don’t have a lot to report on these questions except that they are very much at the forefront of our minds. We’re spending a lot of time this year talking to people and monitoring the effects of different sized leagues on overall league satisfaction. All with an eye to organize leagues in Utah where you will meet the most people, play the most and have the most fun. Stay tuned for more!
Okay, I’ve waxed on for long enough here.
A quick plea to you — through this Summer and into next Spring please step up. Maybe offer praise, please offer criticism. Consider signing up to be a referee. Or, just commit to saying hello to someone that you don’t know on the field next week.
All are equally awesome ways to contribute.
My annual letter to Beehive Nation has all the personal meaning of Warren Buffett’s without any of the media fanfare. That’s fine with me. If you’ve made it this far, you’re most likely a major reason why Beehive Sports continues to flourish. As long as Beehive continues to be a conduit for like-minded Salt Lakers to meet and play sports, I’ll remain more and more dedicated to its continued improvement.
Until next year I’m reminded that one more year is nothing but one more handful of chances to earn the trust of the Salt Lake sport/social community. To promise and deliver on that promise better than ever before.