Ok, so the verdict is in. We had our first session at the Y and overall it was a big success. A question on the minds of those who couldn't join us last week is "Well, how does it compare to our space at Mac?"
I'll start with the most important issue; the lighting. In a word (actually three words), better than Mac. No doubt about it. In total, six of the overhead lights were out last week. And while some tables were significantly better than others (a couple were downright fantastic), all tables were at least playable. I should mention that four of those six lights should be on by this Thursday, and the remaining two should be repaired once the parts come in. I imagine once they are all on the visual conditions will be nothing short of great!
As far as the room dimensions, it is slightly more cramped than what we were accustomed to but still very adequate. The tables have a little less space between them as well as behind them, but this only presented itself as an issue on rare points. Eight tables works well, but expanding to ten within this room isn’t going to happen. One thing at a time.
The floors are a hard rubber and most really liked the surface. Wood or rubber seem optimal (much better than concrete). The colorful walls are conveniently padded, so running into them at high speed is recommened.
One unexpected issue...ball deaths. Our new space is enclosed, and there are now walls where we had none. The balls have nowhere to roll away to, and as a result bounce right back into our playing field – under foot. We went through an astounding 25 balls last week, and that brought up the question of how to compensate for this unforeseen expense. I chatted with several of our members to gather opinions on the subject. We came up with several options, each of which has pros and cons. One option was to charge people an additional fee IF they inadvertently stepped on a ball. As simple as this may sound, it would require people to stop their play, seek out their wallet, and cough up some dough in the heat of battle. I’d prefer to avoid interrupting games regularly, and I also don’t want to act as policeman over every crushed ball dispute.
Another option would be to simply follow the lead of more typical clubs and implement a one ball per table policy. Pros – the cost of balls is reduced ten fold. The cons - each time a ball goes errant it requires time to retrieve it, not to mention interrupting other players if the ball enters their courts. Everyone I spoke to practically begged me to avoid that scenario. Apparently we are a spoiled bunch. Clearly having multiple balls allows for more practice, more exercise, and more fun. But it costs.
In the end I have decided to keep it very simple. We shall preserve the multiple balls and we are raising our rates by $1, which can be considered a surcharge. So the fee for members of the Y is now $5 and non members pay $7.
One other point I wish to address; please sign in and pay BEFORE you get on a table. I hate to sound strict here as most everyone is honest and fair, but it is easy to forget these details once you work up a sweat. And I cannot keep track of who signed in and who did or did not pay as the evening progresses. Please make this the very first thing you do upon entering the club. No exceptions.
We'll continue to find our rhythm and iron out the kinks as they present themselves, but I think we're off to a really positive start.
Lastly I want to extend a thank you to both Joan Keating (Membership Director) and Bob Conklin (President/CEO) for working with me and allowing us the opportunity to dig our heels in at their facility.
Thanks everyone, and look forward to a great future here at the Y.