Building a hurling club — Where do you start?
Lately my time for hurling has been scant — new baby, projects at home, etc. — but a few times here and there, I’ve had a hour to spare and used them to run out to some local parks for a little bit of hitting practice.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve resigned myself to an extremely limited schedule for hurling this year — up from a projected “nothing at all” earlier this year. But with that limited time, I have decided to work on generating some interest in my community for the sport.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, gasoline prices and my tight schedule have meant that I can’t practice and play with my “home” team, the Baltimore Bohemians. Instead, I just get their e-mails, check out their facebook page and wistfully dream of the fun they are having on the field.
That means that I have to try to build some interest in the game on my immediate home turf (Pennsylvania’s York, Adams, Lebanon, Dauphin and Cumberland counties). I figure between all those people, I’m bound to find a few interested in the game.
But I do have to start small.
This blog, which I’ve used to promote the Irish sport here in America, was the first step. It’s been going for about two years now, and I’d call it a success. A lot of American clubs link to it. I often get “thank you” notes from people interested in the sport.
More recently, I began to post listings on Craigslist in an effort to reach out. Those posts read:
Ever heard of the Irish sport of hurling? (Watch this video if you haven’t: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmzivRetelE)
It’s a great game and last season I tried playing the game with the Baltimore Club, but gasoline prices being what they are I can’t afford to travel there.With that in mind I want to start some club or group around here.
I’m pretty much a total newbie at hurling, and I’m not from Ireland. It’s just so much fun that I want to keep playing.
With that in mind, lets try some casual get-togethers in the Harrisburg-Lancaster-York-Lebanon area for hurling (or even gaelic football).
Also, I’ve been documenting my effort to learn hurling here: http://www.ydtalk.com/hurley/
Let me know if you’re interested. I know I am!
That’s where I started. So far, I haven’t had any bites, but I still have my fingers crossed.
But that’s only the beginning. One of the other parts of the plan is to make more “face time” at local parks. I stop by during especially busy times and begin batting around the sliotar with my hurley — and that’s really worked. In my last three outings with the my hurling equipment, I’ve had someone stop me and ask about it every time.
None were ready to join up (yet), but I have them thinking about it.
And now I need to go further with my effort.
As I said, here’s what I’ve done so far:
- Advertise on the web: Post to local online forums requesting players. I suspect that these ads will only draw those already interested in the sport, such as Ireland natives.
- Face time: As I mentioned above … visit local parks, get a game or skills practice going and hope people walk up and ask you about it. I certainly need to do more of this, but I’ve started.
And here’s what I need to do next:
- Advertise at local Irish establishments and events: Make up some fliers that talk about the game and ask interested parties to give you a call. The problem here is that since I am currently a team of one, I don’t have a lot to offer.
And that’s where I’m stuck. What should I do next? Can any successful club founders offer me some tips?