SHOW NOTES

Episode 33 - Tampa Bay Club Sport interview with Ian Elston

by Kyle Sasser and Ian Elston | We talk about running adult sports leagues, and Rec Dec opening on Gandy.

Show Notes

Sports are a big part of the Tampa Bay area, from kids to adults!  Today I interview Ian Elston with Tampa Bay Club Sports.

No matter what sport or “sport” (looking at you,  cornhole!) you love to play, TBCS probably runs a league for it close to you no matter what part of the bay you’re on. We also chat about the Rec Dec, a local spot TBCS is working on opening on Gandy.

Music today by AEGEA!

This episode brought to you by Happiest Doulas!  Save 5% off with promo code HAPPY5 at HappiestDoulas.com!

Transcript at the bottom of this page!

Support this Podcast by shopping on amazon.

Tampa Bay Club Sports

Tampa Bay Club Sports

  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Volleyball
  • Kickball
  • FootBall

The Rec Dec

 

Rec Dec

Oldest Tree in the World

The oldest tree in the world is a Bristlecone Pine in the southwest United States.

OUTRO

Kyle Sasser is a Tampa Bay Native as well as a local Realtor.  If you’re looking to find your own great place in Tampa Bay I’d love to help!

Great Things Tampa Bay is hosted and produced by Kyle Sasser.

There was no paid advertising in this episode.  All recommendations are given based on personal experiences.

Also featuring bumper music by Author:Oscar Woods Title:”Dont Sell It Dont Give It Away”.

TRANSCRIPT

Ian: We have giant tricycle races with adults on ’em. The rubber ducky launch you have, it’s like a giant human slingshot that you hurl rubber duckies down a football field with, and, the last round, a player has to catch a rubber ducky with like a fishnet on a pole, which is kind of fun.

Kyle: A serious, serious competition, it sounds like…

Ian: That’s right.

Kyle: Hey, everybody. This is Kyle Sasser with the “Great Things Tampa Bay” podcast, and this is episode 33. And we’re doing another interview this time with Ian of Tampa Bay Club Sports. And they’re definitely doing some interesting things around the area. And basically, if you’re looking for any sort of adult sports league, Tampa Bay Club Sports is gonna be the place that you hear the most. I did a full episode on my experience with Tampa Bay Club Sports back in episode 15, but this episode we’re actually interviewing someone involved in the backroom of Club Sports. Yeah, so they’ve been working on a project over here in St. Pete called the Wreck Deck, and it’s located at 380 105th Terrace NE, which doesn’t mean a lot to many people, but it is basically kind of like the corner of Gandy and Fourth Street. And it’s behind like Barney’s Motorcycle and Marina and all that good stuff on Gandy, just across the bridge from the Tampa side. So, it’s yeah. What else is it across from….pretty close to Dairy lane, if that’s a better marker for you. And, yeah, they have been working on it for a while, which he does cover in the interview. And finally, it should be opening here soon. So, yes. I thought this would be a good time to release this episode. So, without further ado, here’s Ian and kind of the insight into the background workings of Tampa Bay Club Sport.

Hey, everybody. This is Kyle Sasser with the “Great Things Tampa Bay” podcast and I’m here with…

Ian: Ian Elston with Tampa Bay Club Sport.

Kyle: And Ian is director here at Tampa Bay Club Sports. Tell us a little bit about Club Sports. What’s sort of the overarching thing that you all do here?

Ian: So, Club Sport is all about being active and getting off your couch, going out and doing things. We provide adult sports leagues for about 45,000 adults per year around the Bay area, and that would include Pinellas, Hillsborough, as well as Sarasota, Bradenton, and Brandon. We have that, and then we also run children sports leagues for kids ages 3 to 17 here in Pinellas. Then we also do a lot of different weekend events, social happy hours for our players, people that I would consider to be members of the club, and then lastly, we work in running a lot of corporate events for companies and corporate partners around the area.

Kyle: What sort of sports do you all cover?

Ian: So, we have 9 to 10 different sports depending on what you determine a sport to be. One most popular is soccer. We have roughly 10,000 to 11,000 soccer players per year, which is a lot of fun. And we play year-round in everything we do, followed by volleyball and softball. Those are our next two most popular sports. Softball is a big one down here, and we probably have just as many leagues in softball as we do in soccer, and then all of that is followed by one of our most popular sports which is kickball. Kickball is growing in popularity every year.

Kyle: And the favorite?

Ian: Of course, man. Go back to your childhood again to play and…

Kyle: And I’ve heard some stories from players where it’s not just like the lackadaisical kickball, like, there are some serious contenders out there.

Ian: There are. You really get to see people’s inner competitor come out when it comes to any sport but, it’s pretty funny when you see it coming out in kickball.

Kyle: Yeah. Funny stuff.

Ian: On top of that, we also have golf, and tennis, as well as bowling, and cornhole, and bar games as well.

Kyle: Awesome, awesome. So what level of athleticism do you think the people should have before they sign up with you all to play in one of your leagues?

Ian: It really ranges, honestly, depending on what sport you wanna play. If you’re gonna play a more serious sport like soccer or perhaps flag football or softball, I would say that you wanna have a good basic concept of the game in some of those instances. We do offer recreational in every sport where you don’t really have to have experience in playing it. But in a sport like soccer or in softball, it really helps to know some of the basics just to help with your enjoyment of the game. If you’ve never played before, it’s okay, we have plenty of people that are more than willing to come out and, you know, give you some tips. We actually offer volleyball clinics for people that, you know, aren’t necessarily comfortable with playing sand volleyball right away in a group of four or six people, but for the most part, I would just say you wanna have a little bit of experience for your own comfort level with some of those more intense sports. When it comes to tennis, or cornhole, or bowling, or any of those, you don’t need any experience whatsoever.

Kyle: Just a personal story for me. So, I joined after the last World Cup, I got really fired up, I was gonna be the next Messi at 34 years of age. But, basically, my athletic level was at none. So, like I hadn’t run, I hadn’t done anything. The only time I’d played soccer was like when I was 8 years old. And there’s a lot of learning playing soccer between that age and college, which is when most of the players out there have played. But, that said, I started off in a recreational league and it was a rough couple of weeks there to get up to speed both knowing what’s going on in the game and also just my fitness level, but extremely rapidly I got up to speed, I’d say, honestly, like four weeks, I was perfectly good to go. So, if you’ve never done anything, don’t let it hold you back because everyone out there is usually pretty nice.

Ian: That’s impressive. All these leagues are about having a good time. Everyone’s gotta get up and go to work the next day, so…

Kyle: Yeah. Like, nobody is going to the U.S. national team. They might but…

Ian: Some people think they are but…

Kyle: Yeah. Like, that’s not what it’s about. It’s about having fun out there.

Ian: That’s right.

Kyle: But, there’s always fun and issues out there, but it does get competitive and a little spicy, as I like to say. So, Ian, any good stories about adults acting like children?

Ian: Oh, my goodness. We have so many, and I think if you went through our discipline database, you could probably have yourself a very good laugh. But really, you know, it boils down to people that some of them just have a very quick wit, and when it comes to talking back to a referee, sometimes that ends in a disciplinary action if you will. For the most part, it’s very light-hearted out there. People have a good time. I think just of my favorite stories, and it’s one of those ones you kinda had to be there for, but we had a player who strongly disagreed with a call with an umpire in softball, and just his go back and forth between the referee got documented and we had to read it from a written report here. Now, I wanna say the player told the guy to go home and knit a fucking sweater at the end of it, which for whatever reason just caused everyone in the office to erupt in laughter. But, we do have our fair share of stories and, you know, I think everybody gets what it’s all about, but sometimes there is a phone call or two that need to be made to just remind everybody that, “Hey, we’re all out here for fun and a good time. We can’t be cursing. There are children around occasionally.”

Kyle: Yeah. Back it up a little bit. Back off a little bit.

Ian: Yeah. Gotta remind people what it’s all about, but, fortunately, we don’t have to remove that many people from leagues. Everybody does have to have that threat just in case someone gets too out of control, but for the most part, we keep things really laid back and fun.

Kyle: Yeah. So, I actually kept in the team that I’m on, the Moist Towelettes. Shoot-out to the Moisties. I have had to deal with a few disciplinarian issues, you know, you’re all are always great to work with, and honestly, the players are usually really understanding, typically respectful of the ref after initial outburst. I mean, they’re refs, you gotta give them a little shit.

Ian: Hey, man. They’re there to keep the peace, and if there wasn’t a good rapport between them and the players, they probably shouldn’t be reffing in the first place.

Kyle: That’s true. And that actually brings me to a point, is that you all do actually lease the fields and, you know, you have paid refs out there.

Ian: Mm-hmm. That’s right.

Kyle: So there’s actually a, you know, independent third party out there watching over things and looking over things.

Ian: As part of what we do and part of the safety precautions, we always have staff onsite, coordinators to run the league, to administer the league. There’s also always an employee of the city there typically just to make sure that field lights are turned on, and if there’s an emergency, that the city has someone in the know that’s around. And then, of course, we have our umpires and our referees there to make sure it’s a quality game experience.

Kyle: Yeah. We’ve had a couple of medical things that came up, and your staff has always been really good with coming out and doing treatment and getting all that stuff sorted out.

Ian: They go through a lot of training for that, so it’s important.

Kyle: So here is my true question because it’s a little pet peeve of mine. Is golf or beer pong actually a sport, or a cornhole for that matter?

Ian: Wow. All right. I’ll take the last one that you mentioned. So, cornhole, if you would have asked me eight years ago if cornhole was a sport, I probably would have smiled at you and said, “No.” But I gotta tell you, I’ve become one competitive cornhole player. I was a soccer player for a better part of 32 years, and then, unfortunately, a bad injury forced me to sideline it, so I picked up playing cornhole. I gotta tell you, there’s nothing more fun than being in a bar with 20 or 30 teams playing, you know, that’s basically 40 or 60 people, and everybody is just having an absolute blast. And you gotta have a beer in your hand, you play, there’s all kinds of strategic moves and throws that you make. As far as golf goes, I think it’s 100% a sport because that takes a ridiculous amount of focus to get your swing down. And what was the last one…oh, bar games. You know, I guess if you’re really gonna define a sport, it’s gotta come down to, “Can you be competitive in playing it? And can it be administered as a competition?” And I gotta tell you, I have seen some bar games that have played out better than a World Cup in the long run, they’re definitely a lot of fun.

Kyle: Some oohs and aahs?

Ian: Oh, of course, man, that and people cheering, full on cheering. I’ve seen people cheer on at giant Jenga game that went on like probably four rounds further than it should have, and an entire bar got enthralled by it. It was amazing to watch.

Kyle: Yeah. You know, I’m not trying to disparage golf or the bar stuff, like, I listen to the Bill Burr podcast as well, and his thing is like, you know, “If beer is strongly associated with performance and the sport?” You know, so I was like, “You got to play golf.” Usually, there’s beer involved or some cocktails, cornhole, obviously, flip cup, etc., etc., etc.

Ian: True, very true. Have you ever watched ESPN2 before?

Kyle: Mm-mm.

Ian: It’s kind of like watching, you know, the movie, “Dodgeball,” on The Ocho. That’s a bold strategy, cut and let’s see how it plays our form. They actually do have national cornhole championships. Nobody drinks at ’em, I mean, it was on ESPN2 like probably about six months ago, and our website got killed by people that wanted to play cornhole. So, yeah. You have your competitive side, I think, in any sport.

Kyle: That’s true. It’s not flip cup, but they even have like competitive cup stacking?

Ian: Yes.

Kyle: Like I’ve seen videos of this on YouTube. It’s…

Ian: I have.

Kyle: Yeah.

Ian: I mean, we’re always on the hunt for new events, for corporate events, and you’d be amazed how many companies, actually have requested speed stacking as an event.

Kyle: And the Rubik’s Cubes. Some kid just broke that record, I saw, like, ridiculous.

Ian: Those people amaze me. There is just no way I could ever even light a candle to what they do.

Kyle: We’ll go with their sports then.

Ian: At least in my opinion.

Kyle: There we go. What one problem do you wish that you could solve right now? When I ask that, usually, most people go like world hunger or something like that. More like, is there one thing that you wish that you could do here at Club Sports?

Ian: I always joke around, you know, when you’re coming out of college and you’re looking for a career path to follow, I always like to joke around that nobody knows what they wanna be when they grow up, and part of that journey is finding something that fulfills you. I was a corporate recruiter when I came out of college, and finding people jobs was very fulfilling for me, but it got a little bit… What’s the word when, you know, it’s just the same thing over and over, it’s like “Groundhog Day?”

Kyle: Repetitive.

Ian: Repetitive. Thank you. So, one of the things that I love about Club Sport is that it does offer people the opportunity to get together to create a melting pot of different ethnicities and people to get together. I think one thing that we’re seeing in our country right now is just a real lack of unity and a lot of divisiveness, and sports has always been something that I felt has been able to bring people together. I will say that having my hand in disciplined action, there are some people that like to use whatever sport or competition they’re in as a way to blow off steam from their workday, I’d say it’s a safe bet that if some people didn’t plan our leagues, there might be a lot of domestic issues that happen because they’re not blowing off that steam, so…

Kyle: It’d be the police handing out the red cards.

Ian: Yeah, instead of our referee and me having to make a phone call at the end of the day. But I think, for the most part, one social issue that I’d love to see addressed would be that unity in America right now, and I think adult sports, as corny as it sounds, I think they’re a great way to do that.

Kyle: Yeah. And that’s true because like we were talking before we recorded that like once you cross a certain age, you know, like you get out of college, your friends start getting married, it’s really tough to like just get out and like throw a game of anything together, it’s even hard just to get like four guys together to go play golf, or girls for that matter, to go do something. So, the nice thing that you all do is you all actually provide a structure and an environment to do that, so you can go out and meet new people, and play against them, probably argue with them a little bit, but have fun while doing so.

Ian: That’s’ really the beauty of it. Whoever created the adult sport in social industry back in the day, I don’t know that they necessarily realized all of the different benefits that would come of it, but one thing that I can tell you that I’ve seen after, I’m coming up on my 10-year reunion here pretty soon, for working for the company, is just how many new people get to be introduced to a group, how easy it can be when the right people are put on the same team or the same field for that matter. And it’s definitely a big benefit, I mean, when you’re brand new to an area, you don’t know anybody, maybe you don’t know where to go live, you don’t know where the cool stuff’s happening, it’s a great way to source a new network of people and do so in a way that, you know, doesn’t really drive a lot of pressure. When you go out and you play on a sports team, you show up, you put your boots on, or whatever equipment you need, and you go out there and you try and play and have fun, and a sidebar product of that is meeting a new group of people.

Kyle: There you go. And all you guys, all you Moisties, y’all are pretty all right my book.

Ian: You found a good group there, man. That’s an awesome name.

Kyle: Yeah. We were just a bunch of sign-ups. None of us knew each beforehand, and we just called Club Sports and we’re like, “Hey, we wanna play on this field,” and y’all threw us all together and somehow we’ve made it work for almost three years now.

Ian: I like to call that the free agent sweet story, man. When you have a team full of randoms, which we call free agents, you know, they’re signing up individually, and then they get placed on the same team, it’s really powerful, it’s special to me when it works out well like that.

Kyle: Yeah. It usually works out pretty well.

Ian: We have those little half and halfs, you know, where maybe half the team really likes playing together and the other half decides to hit the reset button and come back trying something different, but for the most part, it works out typically well.

Kyle: So don’t be afraid, just call ’em up, sign up, or go to the website. Any details you would like to divulge about the next venture coming up for you all?

Ian: The next endeavor, so Club Sport turned 21 this past year.

Kyle: So they can drink? Awesome.

Ian: That’s right. we’re finally of legal age. The company, we’re in our 22nd year now, basically, and we finally found our own commercial venue to buy and have our own space in. Some of the neat attributes of that venue are that it has enough land where we can build a small 5E5 6B6 artificial turf soccer field on property, we can build out two sand volleyball courts with lighting at night to be able to play, and then we have enough room to open up our own beer and wine bar, which is called the Wreck Deck, and it’ll be an opportunity for us to completely control the social experience that we want for our players. So, we’ll be able to host indoor cornhole leagues when it’s raining outside, when your games get rained at, you have a place to go in and we can listen to music, play board games, play a number of drinking games, you know, Pop-A-Shot, skee ball, things of that nature. So that’s coming up, and, hopefully, we’ll be open in early 2018. We’ll be able to play all kinds of different sports out there as well as manage the leagues that we love to run so much.

Kyle: And location for that?

Ian: It’s right off of Gandy across the street from Derby Lane. It’s actually at 380, 105th Terrace North East 33716. I got it memorized already.

Kyle: There you go, you got it. So, those of you all that don’t know, it’s basically down like Gandy Boulevard, it’s on the Penilla side of the bridge and across from the dock truck there behind Barney’s, right?

Ian: Behind Barney’s. Yeah.

Kyle: So, the bridge is not that big of an obstacle, Tampa people just… It’s not that far, it’s only like a mile and a half, or something. So, just get on the bridge, come on over, and have a good time early 2018.

Ian: Early 2018. It should be in full swing, if not, a little bit earlier, but I like being conservative on my opening dates.

Kyle: There you go. Smart man.

Ian: The name is called The Wreck Deck, and I believe the website is recdecstpete.com or R-E-C-D-E-C stpetecom.

Kyle: So, anyone who’s interested, just open it up here and the podcast that you’re watching, or it’ll be on the show notes on our website, or YouTube, or any of that stuff. That kind of leads into the next question, where do you all see yourselves in five years from now?

Ian: Oh, man. We’ve been working on pulling all the good benefits out of the Tampa Bay area that we can for people that are participating. And also, on the event side, I’d really love to see some of our events increase in size even more. Right now, we run about 40 or so weekend events a year not counting corporate events.

Kyle: And when say events, could you give us some examples of those?

Ian: We have charity-oriented events like Field Day, where we normally have about 400 or 500 players come out to a day of wacky games that they play, but it raises money for one of the good local charities we work with, past couple of years it’s been Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Kyle: Yeah. They’re good.

Ian: Oh, they’re awesome.

Kyle: And it’s just like sort of how you’re remembering grade school, right?

Ian: Exactly.

Kyle: Like the events that you have there or so.

Ian: Yup. Lots of relay races, dizzy bat, and then some new stuff that’s a lot of fun, we have giant tricycle races with adults on ’em, the rubber ducky launch, you have…it’s like a giant human slingshot that you hurl rubber duckies down a football field with, and, the last round, a player has to catch a rubber ducky with like a fishnet on a pole, which is kind of fun.

Kyle: Serious. Serious competition sounds like.

Ian: That’s right. You got that stuff, and then you got like the cherry pie hunt, you know, where you got people shoving their face in a team full of whipped cream and trying to dig out cherries, so…

Kyle: Fun stuff, fun stuff.

Ian: Yeah. So that’s side, and then our other side are our typical sports tournaments. So, we’ve got your softball, your soccer, volleyball tournaments where you compete against people from all over the Bay area in a one or two-day format. And then we’ve got something unique in extreme mud wars, nine mud-field pits that you go head-to-head against other teams in, which is a lot of fun. It also raises money for charity. And then we have our social events. So, you have players’ parties, your championship parties where champs get to drink free.

Kyle: Yeah. We have not made it to one of those and, but soon we will get our Tervis cup.

Ian: That’s right, we’ll get you there, we’ll get you there one way or another. And then we have pop crawls and socials like that. And then we have our outdoor events. I think you and I were talking about this before we started recording, but we pulled out just under two tons of trash from Weedon Island in one of our cleanup events that we had, and that involved a big sand bar party with Tampa Bay Fun Boat and Miller Lite and Leinenkugel’s who were a part of it. So, it was fun. We got to clean up nature around St. Pete and then go out on a party barge and go hit the sandbar and have a good day with fun and games.

Kyle: Always good times with that. So, the next five years you’re looking to maybe do a few more of those special event sort of things.

Ian: Definitely to build them up. We have a great following for social events, we have done New Year’s Eve parties for the last several years, but I love to get those events bigger and larger and offer more opportunities for our participants to have fun. Additionally, we’d love to get into, you know, possibly doing food festivals and things of that nature just to kinda round out our portfolio on events.

Kyle: There’s a ton of stuff that goes on around here.

Kyle: Oh, yes. Tampa, St. Pete, there’s something to do every weekend, I swear.

Ian: It really is. And that’s kind of the beauty of the area, though. I mean, St. Pete and Hillsborough, Tampa Bay, in general, has been blowing up for the past 10 to 12 years. It didn’t always used to be like that.

Kyle: Oh, no, no. I remember I used to be real sleepy, especially over in St. Petersburg.

Ian: That’s right. It used to be referred to as “God’s Waiting Room” back in the day.

Kyle: Yeah. I used to work over here just over Roosevelt like ’99 to 2000 and there is not much.

Ian: Now, I mean, downtown is just blowing up, and you’ve got the EDGE District and you’ve got what I refer to as West Central that’s doing really well.

Kyle: Yeah. Like I knew a lot of you Tampa people don’t make it over here that often. St. Petersburg is basically built with like restaurants, shops, and other cool stuff like that all way from the downtown waterfront three or four miles down Central Avenue like all the way down to 19 basically. So it’s like you could spend a whole day just going in and out of those shops. It’s really impressive.

Ian: Have you done the artwork tour to look at all the murals down there and?

Kyle: Does PedalPub count?

Ian: That’s right. PedalPub totally counts. I actually get to do one of those next Sunday, I can’t wait.

Ian: Sweet. Yeah, that guy is killing it too. He’s on my radar, he’s gonna be on our future interview. He’s doing crazy good. I interviewed The Dog Bar owner a few weeks ago. He said they have 12 to 14 peddle pups through there every weekend, like every Saturday.

Ian: They’re insanely busy. I mean, we did one for someone’s birthday that’s a long-time player for us, and we had an absolute blast balancing between breweries and we did end up at The Dog Bar, that was one of our last spots to go and…

Kyle: It’s a good spot.

Ian: Yeah. It’s a really, really, cool location. I mean, they have that and they have Salty’s out in Gulfport. It was actually Dog Bar and Charlotte too, so he’s got both of those locations.

Kyle: There are some things rocking and rolling down there.

Ian: Yeah. St. Pete’s blowing up, it’s turned into a really cool town.

Kyle: And Ian is a native, so he would definitely know.

Ian: I was born and raised here so it’s been interesting to see it go through its growth phases.

Kyle: What success do you feel, personally, is your favorite or has had the most impacts on your life?

Ian: You know, with Club Sport, it’s kinda hard. I can’t claim any of Club Sport’s success as my own, but we have had some really cool partnerships that have come about that have enabled us to do some neat things. We’re a part of a national industry association, and with that comes collaboration with over 70 different sports and social clubs throughout the United States. It’s called the SSIA or the Sport and Social Industry Association, and I’m most proud of getting to work with those fine people in the other clubs around the United States. And we kind of look out for each other, when there’s opportunities we make each other aware. It’s just a really great way to leverage our teamwork concept but around good knowledge sharing and good collaboration to do things better, and, hopefully, bring more value to your end participant in the long run. So, our participation in that is something that I’m most proud of, I would say.

Kyle: Any particular failures that you’re proud of that might have led to success down the road or something that blew up so spectacularly that is just a great story?

Ian: So, I will say, another one of our cool partnerships that kind of led to… And I’ll only speak of our personal failures because I can’t really speak to the rest of our employees here in the company, but we ran Corporate SportsFest for a good 9 to 10 years. And when I say we ran it, Dave Bollmann who owns that event, he subcontracted us to run tug of war, cornhole, and volleyball. And it’s a really, really cool event out on St. Pete beach where they get 5,000+ corporate people. And Dave said, “Hey, you guys do such a great job of running this, how would you feel about, you know, franchising it and taking it to another market?” And we, of course, you know, jumped on that opportunity, but I was mainly in charge of it and it was pretty spectacular failure on my part, unfortunately. It just had to do with coming in and setting a date at the wrong time. When you work with corporations, you know, they have a certain budget period in order to earmark dollars for an event or for participation in an event, and the timing just wasn’t right. We ended up not being able to run the events in the market that we were going to, and so I ended up being on the hook for a decent chunk of change, I wanna say it was something around $20,000 for a partnership that we established down there, but it was really funny. The partner actually ended up letting us come down there and applying those dollars to another event that we ended up running. And so it was a failure on my part, we learned a lot from it, but at the same time, those dollars didn’t go to waste, which was a good thing.

Kyle: Yeah. Organizational logistics and like project management are things that a lot of people think are ridiculously easy or should be but get really complicated really quickly.

Ian: They definitely can. That was an oversight on our part, but being eternally optimistic can sometimes work against you.

Kyle: Yeah. We’ll figure it out, we’ll get it done.

Ian: That’s right, exactly. And it did in that case, but honestly, the gods smiled upon me for that one. It didn’t work out to be too much of a crusher in the long run.

Kyle: And very generous of the partner to…

Ian: I’ll tell you what. You know, there’s one thing that doesn’t change no matter what business you’re in and that’s keeping good relationships really helps you out in a lot of different ways and that partner was really awesome in trying to maintain that relationship, and we’ve ended up doing stuff with him in the future, so it actually worked out pretty well.

Kyle: Yeah, just be friendly, be civil, and be understanding. You know, like stuff happens, things go wrong, people are people, we’ll make mistakes, so, you know, just kinda work through it. I’m also an eternal optimist, so…

Ian: Amen, they’re good. It’s better than being the opposite in my opinion.

Kyle: Yeah. We get annoying on occasion, but it’s good. What’s the one thing that you wished that I would have asked you today?

Ian: Oh, man.

Kyle: Yeah, that one’s tricky.

Ian: That one’s real tricky. You know what? The one thing I wish you would have asked me about was how the company started. Chris and Tracey Giebner, who own the company, actually are the second owners. The first owner, a gentleman by the name of Harold, started this sport and social league based off of what he saw in Atlanta, and so he came down to the Tampa area and started it in 1995. After a while, Harold and his wife, I believe we’re about to have their first child, and I think his wife kind of nudged him a little bit and said, “Hey, you’re about to have your first kid, it’s time to grow up and get a real job.” And at that point in time, Chris and Tracey had actually been placed on the same soccer team. She came over from Texas and Chris moved back down from Ohio. And so here this couple was placed on the same soccer team, didn’t know anybody, they’re brand new to the area, they ended dating…

Kyle: The leagues are actually coed, so there’s all men, and all women, and then there’s coed leagues as well.

Ian: There’s men’s and then there’s coed. We do have occasionally, you know, women’s leagues, but for the most part, coed tends to be the most popular, and I think it’s just because it’s easier to fill the teams out when you have the ability to add both sexes. So, Chris and Tracey got placed on a coed team, and they ended up dating, and getting married, and having kids, and they were huge believers in the company because, I mean, that’s how they met. And so, Harold approached them first when he was getting ready to get out and Chris and Tracey ended up buying the company, I believe, in late 2001, early 2002, and from that point, you know, it went from being run out of a home office to, I think, now we’re on our sixth location once we move into this new building.

Kyle: There’s quite a few people in here and quite a bit of hustle and bustle.

Ian: Oh, yeah. We’ve got 10 full-time employees now. Some of them are focused on social media, some are focused on being league directors and actually running particular sports, and then we have people that are in charge of our corporate’s events as well as our youth leagues, and we all kind of work together as a big, happy family to make sure that the company keeps growing.

Kyle: And then you also have the reps that go out to the fields and just kinda monitor the things that are going on.

Ian: Yeah. You mentioned logistics, you didn’t mention staffing. That’s always a tough one to keep up with. At any given day I think we have about 60 or 70 part-time employees that actually work and they’re out there in the field running leagues.

Kyle: Yeah. And your leagues vary from day to day, some are all times during the week. I know, personally, we play on Wednesdays. Basically, any day of the week there’s going to be something in Tampa Bay to do. So, if somebody is interested in signing up for Club Sports, how would you tell them to do it?

Ian: The easiest thing is just to go to tampabayclubsport.com, or if you’re down in the Sarasota, Bradenton area, it would be sococlubsport.com. Check the leagues out. If you have trouble finding a league that’s a good fit for you, then just call the office. We’re pretty good at being able to direct people and we kinda have a list of questions we’ll go down through, you know, “Which night’s available? What times can you play between? What sports are you most interested in? Are you interested in men’s or coed, in being a free agent or do you have a full team?” And they’ll kinda guide you as appropriate. There are nuances to everything because the sports and social industry is in a perfect one-size-fits-all model, everybody has different preferences, and in order to fill a team out, you need a specific number of people. So, logistically, we just work on perfecting those numbers by adding people in where we can and doing our best to accommodate everybody.

Kyle: Us, personally, we don’t play a full pitch, we play half-fields, the goals are small, and it’s seven versus seven. And then there’s requirements for having girls out there so you’re not running…you’re still running, trust me, but it’s not full pitch, you know, it’s not that crazy. Although, personally, I think that I would run less on a full pitch because I could play position more than having the hustle to try to get somewhere, but, yeah, that’s neither here and over there.

Ian: Those short sprints will you get you, man. I know. The 66, 77 is tough for us tall guys. I mean, you gotta… those short bursts of sprinting can really wear you out.

Kyle: Yeah. So, check it out all the details will be in our show notes. Come out and play and come out to the Rec Dec.

Ian: Awesome. Thanks for having me, Kyle.

Kyle: All right. and I would like to thank Ian for taking the time to do that interview with me. We actually did it quite a while back, but just with hiccups in scheduling. There’s a lot of stuff that happens in the Tampa Bay area between like February and April. It might have something to do with how good the weather is, but that seems to be when a lot of events and other sorts of things go on. So, yeah. So, this episode just getting moved back, moved back, moved back. So, Ian, sorry for the delay, but here we go. You’ve finally been released to the world. Coming up next, we got Segment 2, “Your Facts.”

The oldest living tree ever found was 5,067 years old, and that was according to measurements by Tom Harlan. Unfortunately, we know it’s the oldest tree because he cut it down and then he counted the rings and was tremendously heartbroken to learn that he had chopped down the oldest tree known. There are other similar bristlecone pine trees nearby that might be as old, maybe older, but let’s just say that after this little mix-up, that people aren’t really too eager to start pulling rings or chopping these things down to find out exactly how old they are. All right. don’t you feel like that is totally useful information for you, like, that’s something that you’re definitely gonna use every day in your day to day life? I think so.

So, anyway, my name is Kyle Sasser. This is “Great Things Tampa Bay.” I would love to thank you for tuning in. I’m also a realtor, and if you’re looking to find your own great place in Tampa Bay, I’d love to help you find it. You can reach out to me at the website greatthingstb.com., that’s G-R-E-A-T T-H-I-N-G-S tb.com, and there’ll be a link up there at the top where you can reach me for real estate related matters. Also, if you just wanna share your preferences or experiences, if you wanna argue about something, if you disagree with something I said, just go to the website, greatthingstb.com, and there’s plenty of contact forms, links to social media where we can interact. And I’d love to hear from you, I promise. Plan is out today. We got Christopher Coleman, Bastard Son, and it’s pretty rock and tune, I definitely liked it when it popped up on the radio and that’s why…Not on the radio but on my, you know, phone tied to Bluetooth, to my car, which it doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well as radio, but there you go. So, this is Christopher Coleman, “Bastard Son.” And here you go, thanks for tuning in and be sure to share us with your friends. Thank you. Bye.

But before we get to that, I do have a little bit of paid advertising today. So, kind of our first for “Greats Things Tampa Bay,” but hopefully, the first of many. So, here we go.

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So, funny enough, my wife and I, we were recently talking about, you know, doulas and stuff like that, so it is kind of a, you know, a little bit of an interesting coincidence that the advertisement is for The Happiest Doulas this week. We are gonna have links to their website as well as the promo code in our show notes. So, if you weren’t sure on the spelling on some of that, just go to the show notes and the links will be there. And, again, thanks to The Happiest Doulas for trusting “Great Things Tampa Bay” with your advertising. So, if you know somebody that’s in the process of birthing a human being, check ’em out.

Bastard son
Pull me down and I keep rising
You can’t, don’t, was born to shine

Bastard son
You can’t, don’t, was born to shine
Pull me down and I keep rising

Spinning jaws, you’re going nowhere
Digging my grave warmed you down there
Feeling like I just don’t give a shit
Remembering dreams of once lived nightmares
Walking in my sleep is my fare
To keep on hearing with a grip to go dance

Calling me Bastard son
Pull me down and I keep rising
You can’t, don’t, was born to shine

Oh, Bastard Son
You can’t, don’t, was born to shine
Pull me down and I keep rising
Pull me down and I keep rising

Every word, your souls do [inaudible 00:36:20]
The [inaudible 00:36:20] pressed our bases
It drives me harder when I hear them say

Calling me Bastard Son
Pull me down and I keep rising
You can’t, don’t, was born to shine

Oh, Bastard son
You can’t, don’t, was born to shine
Pull me down and I keep rising

Yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah

Pull me down and I keep rising
Pull me down and I keep rising
Pull me down and I keep rising
Pull me down and I keep rising

Bastard son
Pull me down and I keep rising
You cant, don’t, was born to shine

Oh, Bastard son
You can’t, don’t, was born to shine
Pull me down and I keep rising
Pull me down and I keep rising

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