Author: David Littlejohn

An Update On Practices and Pub League

With the end of March approaching the days are getting longer and the light at the end of the COVID tunnel is brighter than ever. We are not out of the woods yet, but all of our adult members will be eligible for vaccinations starting  March 31st which is a great first step back to normalcy. This year will (obviously) be different than a normal year, with our focus being solely on the club, and with the weather getting warmer we want to get started with COVID-sensitive practices as soon as we are able to do so. 

What Are We Waiting For?
Getting back on the pitch requires a space to do so, and in order to reserve fields this year we are required to have a COVID-19 event plan approved by the Marion County Health Department.  We submitted our event plan in February and are still waiting on their response.  With COVID-19 tracking, the NCAA tournament, vaccine distribution, and our planned start date, the health department has not been able to review/approve our plan yet, but they anticipate that they will be able to shortly

Practice
After our plan is approved we plan to host socially distanced practices until it is safe to introduce contact, with a target start date of some time in April. Prior to the first practice we will be sending out information outlining our safety policies/protocols.  Keep in mind that there will likely be some minor procedures/pre-checks that we’ll need to adhere to (temperature checks, questionnaires, etc.) when attending practices, but it’s a minor inconvenience that’s necessary to help ensure that we provide the safest environment as possible for all of our participants and their friends and loved-ones.

Pub League
We are optimistic at this point that we’ll be able to return to normal play later this summer with Pub League starting in July. The July start to our leagues should provide us enough time to offer a full season, while also giving us some wiggle room for any adjustments that may need to take place.  The delay also allows everyone time to get fully vaccinated, gives players a chance to get back into “game shape” to reduce injuries, and also provides enough time for health recommendations to hopefully allow for more contact. 

Notable Changes
One of the biggest differences to note this year is that we are not planning to participate in Nationals. This decision allows us to concentrate on our pub league games without requiring us to pause our season to practice and travel for nationals. Another change will be that hurling and Gaelic football will both be played on Sundays. This is because the youth American football season will be taking place at Eugene Burns on weekdays in the summer so Sunday is the only available day for us to reserve the fields.

We are doing our best to host practices and games in a safe way this year.  I hope you are excited to get back on the pitch and I look forward to seeing everyone out there. Let’s take this opportunity to focus on our club, our safety, and our camaraderie to keep our club strong and successful for years to come. 

☘️ Spring Update

🦠 The Latest Regarding COVID

I hope your 2021 is off to as good of a start as it can be given the current situation.  Hopefully this year we’ll be able to gather and play again, but we are still in a holding pattern as we wait for things to get better.  If this were a normal season we would have already had our draft events, our second round of indoor would be complete and we’d be gearing up for St. Patrick’s Day. 

Unfortunately COVID is hanging around into 2021, but at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  So far this year our board has been able to hold two meetings to discuss plans for the upcoming year.  At this point we still don’t know when health professionals will recommend that it is safe to play contact sports, but we will keep a very close eye on their recommendations and guidance and we’ll do our best to keep the Club informed of any updates and/or plans for our events and season. 

📋 2021 League Registration

Josh Lane has created potential schedules with varying start dates so we can hit the ground running when the time comes.  We’ve submitted our COVID plan to the Marion County Health Department in order to reserve the fields at Eugene Burns. 

Our main goal is to keep our members and their families safe and healthy which is why we will not host games if there are still restrictions that recommend against it.  With that in mind, our board has also chosen to focus on our local events and season this year and as part of that adjustment we will not be hosting our invitational.

Not knowing when we will be able to start our season makes it a little tricky to ask our members to register for the season.  To help us get a better understanding of who all is interested in playing this year we are asking members to register here at no cost (for now).  When we are able to play we will ask for all members to pay before playing our first games. 

This week, the USGAA has also announced that they will be requiring registration, including the same fee structure as in past years ($63 males/$42 females). Be on the lookout for an email from Rachel soon on how to complete that process.

Having this early registration helps us plan for the upcoming season.  We hope that all of our members will return to play but we understand that each person has their own level of comfort regarding this situation and may choose to put more time between the pandemic and playing.

🏆 February Skills Challenge

Last month we launched our virtual challenge program and are working to continue it to encourage our members to stay active and engaged.  February’s Frigid Digits Challenge has wrapped up and Hope Plumbing won the first round of hurling and Bier Brewery took the win for football

We are planning to continue the virtual challenge program and would like to see all of our members submit their challenge videos.  If you have any thoughts or ideas on challenges or how we can improve this program please feel free to send them to the board.

Stay tuned as we will be announcing the March challenge soon.

✏️ March Board Meeting

This month’s board meeting will be held next week, on Wednesday, March 10th at 7:30pm. If you care to join us you can use this meeting link. If you have any issues joining the call please contact Kyle.

📰 Member News & Updates

A by-no-means-exhaustive list of things that have happened over the preceding months. If I missed something big of yours, forgive me and please don’t take it personally, I barely know what’s going on outside of the four walls of my house these days 😆.
If you have updates/news to share with the club about yourself or a fellow member please email pro@indygaa.com to have it included in a future update. – Kyle

  • Aaron Wilder received his MA in English, word on the street is he’s also one helluva bread baker…
  • Break out the tweed and leather-bound books, Chris Bungard was promoted from Associate to Full Professor at Butler University
  • Brogan Sheedy became engaged to this fiancée Erin
  • Mike Monaghan and family welcomed their second child Jackson Patrick
  • Reid Smith and family welcomed their daughter Harper Jo
  • Phil Bar…something and family welcomed their second son Clayton
  • Andretta Erickson, after many rounds of fostering cats with Indy Humane, finally found her forever-cat Ledger, beginning her slow descension to crazy cat lady status

August Club Update

2020 Pub League is Cancelled

I hope you’re doing well.  If this year was a normal year we’d be done with our Pub League season and many of our athletes would be training for Nationals at this time. Unfortunately this hasn’t been a normal year and it looks like we are going to have to sit tight for a while until things get closer to normal.  Last week our board “met” to discuss the plans for the rest of the year and we determined that it is best to pull the cord and cancel Pub League.  If things change and we are able to comfortably host any games in the fall we will try to do so, but at this time we do not anticipate any games for 2020. 

The Annual Awards Banquet is Cancelled

The board also made the tough call of cancelling our annual banquet. We would love to host an event to get everyone together but we don’t know what things will be like in the months to come.  We also won’t have a season to reflect on and acknowledge outstanding efforts on and off the field, so we determined it was best to preserve our resources and cancel the event.  I would still like to nominate Tim Cabeen for the broken hurley award. I know he looks forward to that every year. I also think we can agree that Liam Bonner takes the cake for this year’s “fastest to respond on Slack” award.   

On the bright side we have received our O’Neills jerseys!  I am 100% sure that these are the cleanest Pub League jerseys in an August of all time.  To get yours we are hosting a jersey pick booth at Hotel Tango on August 22nd starting at 4:30 (more details to come).  Depending on the turnout we will host additional jersey pick up events to ensure that everyone gets their jersey to social distance in style. 

An Update on Dues

We understand that Indy GAA was not able to provide the season and the competition that you expected this year.  For this reason we are offering the opportunity to refund your membership if you would like one. If you are not interested in a refund and would like to donate your membership to the club the Indy GAA would greatly appreciate it.  Any donations will help ensure that our club will be around for years to come and that we can cover any costs later this year and early next year.  We hope to be back up and running as soon as we are able to do so safely and comfortably. 

Please understand that the club incurred some costs that need to be paid so we are taking that into consideration for the refunds.  The biggest cost was the jerseys that we purchased for the season in February.  In a typical year our jerseys are funded through sponsorships.  Since our sponsors have been impacted so hard by the COVID pandemic we will not be requesting sponsorship money from most of our sponsors.  To cover the cost of the jerseys the board determined that the best and most fair way to refund our members is to take out the cost of jerseys in each member’s refund. 

For example if a recurring member requests a refund they would be reimbursed $150 minus the cost of a jersey. If a member signed up late and was not included in the initial jersey order they may be reimbursed in full.  The board also agreed that any new members that paid the new membership fees for this year would be able register again next year as a new member.  

To let us know if you’d like to donate your dues, or request a refund, please complete this form.

 If we have not heard from you by September 25th we will consider your dues as a donation.

Wrapping Up

This year has been filled with tough decisions and our board has been doing what we feel is best for our club and community.  I want to thank the board for their hard work this year and all of our club members for working with us as we navigated through these unprecedented times.

The AGM will still take place in November, and we will share more info about that when we have it.

Club Activities Postponed Until Further Notice

Tomorrow’s planned competitions are cancelled and we will be cancelling Sunday events until further notice.

On Thursday, Mayor Hogsett addressed the city with new policies and the Marion County Health Department issued new guidelines in a Public Health Order to combat the current COVID-19 situation in our city.  The new regulations do allow for non-contact exercising in groups and the policies we’ve implemented for our practices comply with the City’s/County’s policies and CDC’s recommendations.  Unfortunately the reality is that things this week are worse than they were last week.  

This Thursday and Friday had the most positive COVID cases issued in Indiana since the pandemic started.  On top of that the numbers look like they are continuing to trend upward.  After hearing the Mayor’s and Health Department’s new policies and seeing the recent COVID positive numbers the board had an internal discussion and then a vote on whether or not we should continue to host events in the midst of this. 

The board determined that at this time it would be best to postpone all activities and we will do our best to gauge when we can get back out there to have some non-contact fun. 

If there is a silver lining with this it is that our competition committee will use this extra time to put together a lot of fun and engaging competitions for the club. This week Coach Shoe and his group put together a great day of fun and safe games.  The group has a lot of other ideas in the works so when we’re able to get back on the pitch we will have a good lineup of games to play. 

I hope you understand that the board made this decision because we think it is what’s best for our club members and our community at this time. 

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at chair@indygaa.com or the board at board@indygaa.com.

An Update Regarding the 2020 Season

I hope you’re doing well. Despite all that is happening around us with COVID-19, the Indy GAA board truly wants to make this season as best as possible for our members. We are taking our club members’ health and concerns into consideration in every decision we make. 

Please know that the board and myself have had to make some pretty tough calls these past few months. We love showing off how great our club is and representing Indianapolis both on and off of the pitch at the various tournaments and events throughout the year. With all of the unknowns and various factors that play into participating in these events, it seems that this year, it may be best to pull back and focus on our own club and community.

At the beginning of the year we decided to combine our football and hurling practices with the motto of “One Club.”  I think this motto has more meaning now than ever. Let’s make this an opportunity to focus on our club and our members to make us stronger for years to come. When all of this is over, we will show the other clubs just how great we are.

With that said I’ve complied a list of important updates below, so let’s get to it.

Pub League – our season is on hold and will be altered to make the most of this situation. We are going to do our best to reschedule the season and will likely extend it into the fall. With so many unknowns at the moment, we have not set any new dates in stone. We will do our best to keep the Club informed as details develop.

Golf Outing – Initially scheduled for May 30th is now postponed.  We will look to reschedule this event in September or October, if possible.

Indy Invitational – Our largest local event initially scheduled for June 20th is now postponed. We are looking into potential dates in September or October for rescheduling. However, with so many unknowns, it is a real possibility we might not be able to host our Invitational this year. There are many external factors that play into this event this year. We anticipate that EVERYONE will be postponing their events and also looking to reschedule for September or October of this year. We will most likely be competing with many other local/regional/national events. We don’t know what other clubs’ availability and/or capability to travel for our tournament will be in the fall. There may still be health recommendations against amateur sport games/tournaments and/or large gatherings. In addition, we will be operating on a limited budget this year. We will have to evaluate the high cost of the event with the club’s actual 2020 budget. Many of our sponsors have been impacted by this situation so we will not be collecting our typical sponsorship funds this year (see more on our sponsor update below). We just want everyone to be prepared for the possibility it may not happen. 

Spark!Fishers – Initially scheduled for June 27th is cancelled.

Nationals – We do not know yet if the USGAA will be able to host the Nationals tournament this year.  We also do not know what travel recommendations will be in August and/or if our club members will be willing to travel to Boston this year. Similar to our Invitational, we do not know if large gatherings will be allowed or if amateur sports will be back in full swing by August. This is a big unknown at the moment. 

Sponsors – As we all know, many of our sponsors were greatly impacted by this COVID-19 pandemic.  Some were impacted much more than others. That is why we are planning to work with our sponsors on a case by case basis to have them contribute what they feel comfortable contributing, if anything at all. The board is looking into ways that we can help our sponsors in their time in need. If you have any thoughts or ideas please don’t hesitate to share them with the board and/or the club. If anything, please consider supporting them when/if you can buy purchasing their products or promoting their events/specials on social media.  

Mise le meas,

David Littlejohn
Indy GAA Board Chair
chair@indygaa.com

A COVID-19 Update

The Indy GAA Board and I know everyone is attempting to find their new normal right now, but we wanted to take a brief moment to share a few decisions we’ve made regarding the 2020 season.

Following the guidance of the CDC, the federal, state, and local levels we are suspending all club activities until Friday, April 17.  This will still allow us to tentatively host our Pub League Kickoff & Jersey Party at Hotel Tango, but this is all subject to change as we learn more and more health recommendations are developed. Important dates that follow shortly after our current start date include:

  • April 18 – Annual Referee Training/Refresher Course
  • April 19 – Week 1 of Hurling Pub League
  • April 21 – Weekly Practices Start
  • April 23 – Week 1 of Gaelic Football Pub League 

We are also in constant communication with the USGAA regarding their league play recommendations and their registration deadline. The original March 31st deadline was chosen by the Indy GAA board to help ensure we were registered prior to the USGAA’s official deadline of the end of April. For now we still ask that all members register with the USGAA by the end of the month, barring any changes.

We did get word that this year’s Continental Youth Championships in San Francisco have been canceled, but as of now USGAA Nationals in Boston (Aug 21st-23rd) are still on.

Again, all of these dates are subject to change as we continue to follow the government’s guidance, but as of now we are keeping an optimistic view as to how we will proceed this year. Rest assured that we are continuing to plan for contingencies if the need be, and we will do our best to continue to keep an open line of communication with our members as things proceed/develop.  Our coaches are working on some virtual training opportunities and we are hoping to put together some virtual social opportunities in the near future. Please keep your eye out of these events.

We will continue to send out communications via email, our social media, and our website, but if you are a current member you may want to keep an eye on our Slack workspace.  If you do not yet have access to Slack please email Kyle Keesling (pro@indygaa.com) to get setup.

There are a lot of unknowns right now but we will work to keep everyone as informed as we can.  If you have any questions or thoughts regarding this whole situation, please feel free to contact me. 

In the meantime, please think about supporting our sponsors during these uncertain times. Many of them are in the hospitality sector, which is being especially affected by all of this. Be on the look-out for some fundraising events we have in the works to help support the businesses that have so graciously chosen to support us. On social media we encourage you to tag/share info about our sponsors, tag the club, and/or use the hashtag #indygaacares to show our support.