2022 was a very successful season on multiple fronts.
In terms of membership, we had a huge influx of new players thanks to ongoing communications via Facebook groups in Dublin as well as word of mouth from our existing members from 2021. We did lose 5 regular players from the 2021 season (3 women, 2 men) representing a 17% churn, but we more than made up for that gap adding 19 paying new members (10 women, 9 men) for a net growth of 52% compared to 2021. At the end of the 2022 season, the club had 44 paying members playing across two teams composed of an even split of 22 women and 22 men. Looking ahead to next season, we already know that we’ll be losing 1 woman and 2 men all from the Prem division due to pregnancy and relocations, however we do believe there are some players in Division 1 who might be ready and interested in moving up to Prem and the club also already have a pipeline of 3-5 new players who are interested in joining for next season. All in all, the club experienced a substantial amount of growth and with a small amount of recruitment in the off season we should be well able to handle adding a 3rd team for the 2023 season in either Division 2 or 3.
It was also a successful year in terms of gameplay. The Kegs finished in 3rd place in the Prem division with a record of 6-6 and the second most total runs scored. The Chuggers finished in 5th place in Division 1 with a record of 4-8, but their major triumph was often managing a game day roster of 15+ players and making sure everyone received equitable playing time while also staying competitive and having fun. Hats off to Katie, Eve, Niall and others for managing the Chuggers this season. In terms of gender equity, as a club we took a lot of pride in voluntarily playing a 5:5 format lineup in all but one game where the Kegs matched TNT’s 6:4 roster on the day however the Kegs also finished with a 4:6 roster versus the Dodder in the last game of the season. The club also participated in 5 blitzes, registering 2 separate teams for 4 of them, and were champions for two of the blitzes (Pink Blitz and Galway Blitz).
When an organization experiences rapid growth it’s often difficult to maintain the cultural dynamics and feeling of belonging by each member, but we managed this aspect well. The post-game barbecues at Wanderers remain a highlight of our club and we also had frequent gatherings at our sponsor pub, Slattery’s, including our KegFest Table Quiz, a Rules night hosted by Eve, and of course the End of Season party. This season also saw the birth of a potential new tradition with over 20 members of the club plus friends gathering in Dalkey for a 4th of July weekend barbecue where the craic was mighty. The club also sent two full teams to the other side of the country for a blitz in Galway including a 2 night overnight stay and, yes, another team barbecue.
While the club grew in membership, we were also able to establish ourselves with a bit more structure to aid in the growth and management of our club. We launched a new website that allows for easier collection of fees, a team store, a news and updates section, and an automated process for member registration as well as tabs for KegFest and the KegFest Table quiz. A huge thank you to Lauren for making all of that possible. We also relaunched our social media presence on Facebook and Instagram including recaps with rich media from our weekly games, blitzes, and one viral video of an epic chug off. Separate from our online presence, the club was also able to secure a new sponsorship from Slattery’s for 32 new jerseys representing just under €1,000 in value, with the goal of adding more jerseys in the new year. We also brought back KegFest this season with 6 teams registering and competing at Wanderers, but more importantly the blitz returned with a charitable twist raising €2,000 for our new non-profit partners at the Dublin Y.M.C.A. helping serve at-risk youth in the Dublin area. Half a dozen members of our club also gathered at the Sandymount Y.M.C.A. campus to teach a dozen kids how to play softball with the intention to have more of these volunteer opportunities each year going forward.
Looking ahead to next year, there’s a great opportunity to continue to build off each of the elements mentioned earlier in this report. It’s also necessary to continue to build out more structure and governance to help support the continued growth of the club and create more opportunities for members to play a part and even take on leadership roles. But the biggest undertaking will be the launch of a third team. Not only will we need to recruit more players (particularly for our Prem team), logistically we’ll also need to confirm pitch availability for a third team, make sure we have enough equipment (balls, bats, bases, gloves, etc.), and we’ll need to make sure the third team has a capable pitcher and also a captain(s). It will take a collective effort from the club, but I know we can get there and best of all this will mean more playing time for all members.
Interested in joining our club? Simply fill out the form here and one of our members will be in touch with more information!