Interview with Brian Boyle, Irish Ultimate’s returning President 2014/2015
Congrats on a 2nd term. What made you want to do another year?
Thanks Si! I think I did a pretty good job overall last year and there’s a few things that I wanted to keep working on. Ferguson and Rickard were both pretty sure they would be stepping down as well, and it’s good to have one of the three leading committee members still around so everything isn’t forgotten from year to year. I’d also like to think that I made a positive impression with our members around the country last year and I know the majority of them personally, which can cause some issues but I think it’s easier dealing with someone you know or have met in the past than with a faceless President through emails.
Any unfinished business? What do you plan to do differently? Any changes?
Obviously Sports Council recognition is the big one. I really want to get that done during this term and I’ve set the goal of January for submitting our application. In terms of doing things differently, I’d like to be a bit more open with the community and also work more with people outside of the committee. There’s plenty of knowledge and resources in our community that can be tapped into, and I’m sure plenty of people are willing to help out with things if they can (so get in touch if you’re interested!). The committee is made of all Dublin based players and only one female player this year as well, which is a bit of a concern as we don’t want to potentially isolate other groups from our proceedings. A few sub-committees will be set up this year to deal with certain issues, so we’ll do our best to make those as diverse as possible.
How many of the committee are new / how many repeats? Was it hard to fill all the roles?
Jen Cooper and myself will be continuing our roles as Development Director and President respectively. We have five new members this year: Aidan Kelly as Secretary, Killian Roche as Treasurer, Declan Grogan as Coaching Director, Conor Hogan as High Performance Director, and Alan Pierce as Competitions Director. I was actually dreading the elections part of the AGM as it’s always hard to get people to run for things (I only ran for President last year because no one else did. No regrets though!). However, this year somebody ran for each position straight away, and in most cases there were multiple people running for each position, which is our ideal scenario. This may have been the first time that someone running for re-election was beaten too, as our Competitions Director Barry Walsh lost a close vote against Alan Pierce. This goes to show that it’s getting harder and harder to make it onto the committee, as opposed to getting harder and harder to fill positions, which is wonderful. People are obviously taking more of an interest in the IFDA, which hopefully continues.
Tell us about the 4 motions that passed – what are the implications / what differences might it make?
The first motion was a no-brainer, lowering the quorum for the AGM from 10% of membership to a set number of 25 members. With the growth of membership, especially child membership, it was no longer reasonable to expect 10% of our members at the AGM. Most other NGBs have quite low numbers for quorums, so it fits in with common practice as well.
The second motion has strong implications. We’ll be doing a constitutional review to better define the relationship between the IFDA, Irish Ultimate, Disc Golf Ireland and any future Disc Sports organizations. This is a huge job, but very important as it will only become more difficult the longer we put it off. This should help our ISC application process as well. One implication is potentially having separate constitutions and AGMs for Irish Ultimate and the IFDA, but I imagine for the first few years that they will be run side-by-side and hopefully with similar, if not identical, committees. This has become a necessity since the current IFDA committee do not have the knowledge or resources to run Disc Golf events, and having a separate body for that is ideal.
The third motion was for us to define and register clubs. This would make our lives so much easier as we don’t know what clubs exist out there, where and when they train (if at all), how many members they have etc. Right now if somebody asks to join a club, we can say ‘we think there’s one here, maybe contact this person’. Now we’ll know who is actively playing Ultimate (or other Disc Sports) in Ireland. The definition part is just to prevent pick-up teams from forming to play IFDA events. Also, the word ‘club’ is in our constitution, so it would be nice to know what we mean when we say ‘club’.
The final motion that passed was to make minimum standards for Intervarsity tournaments. This is both to make the standard of college tournaments rise, and also make it easier for colleges to run an event if they haven’t ran one before. They won’t be as strict as our All Ireland standards.
The two that weren’t passed? Comments, too soon / not right for now?
The motion to have a consistent way of seeding IFDA events throughout the year didn’t pass. This is probably because either people didn’t like the options, or they prefer events be seeded differently based on the event. I’m upset this didn’t pass as seedings are always the number one source of my IFDA related headaches during the year, but hopefully things will be easier next year.
The motion to have a delegate system for voting at the AGM as opposed to a ‘one member one vote’ system also failed to pass. I also don’t like that this motion didn’t pass as it would have encouraged more individuals and clubs to take an interest in the AGM. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is brought up again in the future, but maybe it was too soon this year.
Any other ideas you’d like to see in 2015?
Our new website is an incredible resource that people should use. (Maybe you’re interested in writing a few pieces for it yourself Si?). Right now you can see it at irishultimate.ultimatecentral.com, but it should be updated to just irishultimate.com very soon. There are so many features that we’ve only begun to scrape the surface, so it may be worth checking out afda.com (Australia Flying Disc) to see the potential of our own website.
I set up a Facebook group to discuss the motions before the AGM, which I think was a big success. I’d like to keep this group going through the year as an informal public forum for people to discuss things with the IFDA. Hopefully this will make us more accountable and also make us into a tighter knit community.
Wheelchair Ultimate, any progress in having a game some time?
Yes! Been working on it. Was hoping to get something going before Christmas but the time has snuck up on me. Doesn’t it always? I’ll hopefully get to organize something in the new year. Everyone here at IWA-Sport seems quite open to the idea as well, which is great, especially since it has just received Paralympic recognition.
On a side note, working at IWA-Sport has been great for me in terms of resources, as they are a multi-sport NGB such as ourselves who are Sports Council recognized. I have access to their policies which we can adapt for our own use, and I’ve also made it to a few ISC events on project management and anti-doping, which is great for networking with other National Governing Bodies. It’s encouraging to know how many of them have actually heard about Ultimate or other Disc Sports, and even break out a disc from time to time themselves! I heard a very amusing story of a ladies GAA team getting in trouble for throwing a disc in the airport, and some basketball teams even break out a Frisbee from time to time, although mostly just for throwing, they wouldn’t actually be playing Ultimate, but it’s still great to hear.
Anything else to add?
Just thank you for doing this. Obviously not everyone goes to the AGM, so it’s good to have something like this for the people who weren’t there, and even those who were. Minutes will be available soon, and obviously everyone is always welcome to send me an email with any questions about the new motions or anything else firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve also enjoyed your past interviews. It’s great to read about the early days of our sport in this country. Even the interviews with people from other countries have been brilliant. I love getting a notification that you’ve posted a new one to our Facebook page, and I hope you keep doing them!
Any questions I should have asked?
Favourite moment from last year? Probably the WFDF Annual Congress in Lecco. I was by far the youngest person there, and it was great to represent Ireland and talk to other country’s Disc Sports organizations. Getting different perspectives on other youth programs, committee systems and communications strategies was brilliant. I hope to attend next year’s as well (hopefully it will be in London for WU23 so I don’t have to travel too far).
Biggest mistake last year? Probably the Developmental Intervarsities rules. I’ll be working with captains to fix them for this year and make them fair for each team. It’s good to have to make these changes though, since it means more and more people are playing Ultimate before coming to college.
Hope the Ball went well.
Yep, the Ball was brilliant as always. The bar closed a bit earlier than we would have liked, but some last minute planning meant we went to Leggs to keep the party going on until almost 5am. Nothing beats having an auld boogie in a tuxedo.
I was honoured to receive the award for Most Spirited Male Player during the ceremony as well. I always try to build my reputation as a player with good Spirit, and even to be nominated in that category let alone win it was a dream come true. Also, most people are usually surprised when they hear for the first time that I’m actually from Philadelphia, and I only moved here in 2010. During the AGM and Ball last night it was a humbling experience to be reminded of how I’ve been welcomed into this community with such open arms. I didn’t make an acceptance speech at the Ball, but if I had I would have thanked all the players around the country who helped to make this my new home.
A big thank you to last year’s committee who did a great job, and the best of luck to next year’s committee who I look forward to working with very much. It’s nice to see that all the hard work we do during the year pays off and gets appreciated.