The Future of Strange Blue Open Tour (please read and comment)

Dear camdisc,

There’s been discussion amongst the so-called ‘brains trust’ of the Open
team regarding the identity of said team.

Essentially, SB has an unusual structure: we have the CambUni club playing
as SB in student tournaments, and then a motley crew of CambUni + ARU +
Townies playing as SB in tour, fun tourneys, etc.

This is not the case elsewhere: there is a clear delineation between ‘uni’
and ‘town’ clubs. The proposal is that this happens here also – that,
essentially, the SB Open Tour team takes a new name. In practice, we
believe this would mean very little change on a daily basis – practices,
the people, etc. would all run unchanged as before. In essence, the change
would be making the Open Tour team more visible to people outside and
clarifying who is in the team (as it has never been ‘just’ the uni team for
some years now, with more townies and also the addition of ARU to the
Cambridge Ultimate scene).

On the plus side: it would be clearer to people from outside (currently
there are high levels of confusion of where the uni/uni/town divide is);
aid in development of a seperate identity for the Open Tour team; attract
new talent to the Tour team who hadn’t realised we were more than “just the
uni team”.

On the negative side: SB the name has a grand history; it could spell the
end of the tight relationship between the universities’ teams and the town
team.

We’ve had a long, long discussion about this and would now like to open up
the floor to opinions from elsewhere. As part of the development of the
Open Tour team, and now that there is a new women’s tour team being
proposed, it makes sense to have this discussion now.

We’d like to inspire a bit of debate and solicit comments – on camdisc, if
you feel it’s worth discussing amongst everyone, but we’ve also set up a
Google form for you to submit your opinions:

SB Open Tour renaming comments – Google form

We’ll leave this open for the foreseeable future. If there is support for
changing the name, we’ll call an EGM of the club to debate the motion. This
would probably happen over the next few months.

There’s a slightly longer explanation below.

Please feel free to email myself with any questions, and/or use camdisc and
the form.

Finally, we’d like to make clear that this issue affects every part of the
club – guys and girls, students, townies and otherwise – so don’t feel
reticent about speaking up.

Regards,

– Mike
2011 OT brainstrustafarian + 2011-12 club president.

### THE THEORY STUFF (skip about 20 lines if you’re in a rush, but come back
and read this later because it’s dynamite stuff)

People ask me all the time what “Strange Blue” means. At tournaments; at
work when I’m practising my chants; at Cindies when I’ve got me kit on – I
tell them some nonsense about Eric Clapton. Because I don’t know; I can’t
pin it down.

  • Brandon plays for ARU Darkside. He knows SB are another student team
    so doesn’t think he can go to SB practises.
  • Phillip had the good sense to graduate as a competent ultimate player.
    He used to play against SB all the time but he’s looking for more of an
    open team
  • Elaine had the misfortune to be a lady. She plays for SB ladies students but knows SB don’t have enough women for a non-student team.
  • Samantha has enjoyed being a lowly college leaguer. She knows she’s
    not good enough for SB practises because they keep finishing high up in
    big tournaments.

So, what is SB? It’s one name used for lots of things. They’re similar, but
different – each appeal and apply to some, but not to all.

  • If this can confuse those within our own ranks, how unclear is it for the rest of the world?
  • How many non-cambridge Grads assume SB is a student team?
  • How many beginners assume SB is an elite squad?
  • How many women assume SB is not a women’s team?

They’re not wrong, but they’ve not got the whole story.

This ambiguous melting pot of teams, squads, people and ideas makes Strange
Blue unique in the ultimate community. It’s by far our biggest strength, but
it may also hold us back from growing down any one of the channels we
address. We should look to address this – keep all the good stuff, lose the
confuse.

In many ways, all we’re missing is words. We have at the moment insufficient
words in “Strange Blue” to say what we mean. We could do with a branding
exercise, like proper organisations do when they want to communicate better.
We choose us some words and give them meaning. In the process not only do we
make the world understand what we’re ‘selling’, but we might even get a
better grip on what we’re *doing*.

A number of us have been debating this for years on and off, and it feels
like now more than ever we’re well placed to build these ‘brands’,
identifying the different things we mean when we say Strange Blue.

### GET TO THE POINT

We propose making up some new names for some of the teams who play as SB, at
least one team which will soon form, and possibly a new name for the
overarching organisation which we also call SB. We are not breaking up the
band, Yoko; no one supports any motion to change how practises run day to
day. We only want to make it easier to bring in new people and encourage
involvement across the rich and tangled ultimate community in Cambridge.

If there’s an official start of the conversation, this is it. We’re not yet
looking for the actual words (suggestions on a postcard comes later), we’re
looking to clarify what we want them to mean, and to reach at least some
level of consensus on how we can possibly improve on Strange Blue.

Discuss…

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One Response to The Future of Strange Blue Open Tour (please read and comment)

  1. Pingback: Open Tour team – feedback and solicitation | Strange Blue.

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