I'd like to start my own amateur sports team. How should I go about it?
First, make sure you have a proper team. In baseball you need nine, but I advise a squad of 15 because you never know what people’s schedules may be over the course of a season. If you’re short a few players, don’t worry -- most leagues have a draft. What happens is individual players express a desire to play, so the league assesses their skill level and offers them up to both existing and new teams.
Also, make sure that your team manager has an assistant. I’ve noticed that managers often become overwhelmed without a co-manager, particularly when they’re busy playing.
Once you have a team in place, contact the national organization that governs your sport, in order to find out which regional league to join and what the process is. Sometimes, depending on the sport, there is more than one body to choose from. In baseball, we have the National Adult Baseball Association (NABA) and the Men’s Senior Baseball League (MSLB). Both have teams at various skill levels, but there are differences -- for example, the MSLB uses metal bats, while NABA uses wood.
The first thing a league will ask about is your skill level. In the NABA, we grade teams from Rookie on up -- through A, then Double A, Triple A and up to Elite, where you’ll find the college players who are just trying to keep fit through the summer.
There are costs involved. To enter the San Francisco NABA league, a team must pay $4,500 for a 20-game season, which pays for the fields, the umpires and the baseballs. On top of that, each team needs to provide its own uniforms and apparel. (A lot of teams find corporate sponsorship to pay their costs and get free uniforms.)
It’s worth bearing in mind the cost of insurance too. Most leagues automatically provide catastrophic coverage, but the deductible is often as high as $5,000. We advise that each player have personal health insurance in case of injury.Finally, your team needs a name! Be creative, but keep it clean. We had a team called The Dirtbags once, and that was fine, but there are lines you can’t cross. I think you know what they are.
Mac Clonan is the director of the San Francisco National Adult Baseball Association.