NewsReturn to Play March Meeting Recap

Notes from the March 8 Return to Play Meeting

LAOUT’s Return to Play Statement:

We are in agreement that we will not be returning to play until the vaccine is available to everyone who wants it.  At a minimum, this means Los Angeles is in the final tier of vaccine access and is not restricting who can sign up for appointments.

It’s also important to us to come back with a good product.  Doing so while balancing safety is going to take time – time to book fields, decide on the new league structure, handle registration, make teams and schedules, and to implement any new safety measures.  We will not have a league ready the minute after LA says it’s okay to do so.

We’re doing the work we can now.  With LA opening up a bit based on the California state regulations, we’re starting to reach out to fields to see what their status is, if there are any new requirements for booking, and when we might be able to make reservations.  This is consistently the most difficult part of creating a league, so we’re addressing all of that now since things seem to be moving in a positive direction.

Information on Covid and vaccines is constantly updating, and we’re not going to try forecasting what’s coming next.  So we’d like to focus today’s discussion not on when we can return to play, but on things like:

  • What are people comfortable with?
  • What do you think ultimate should look like when we are able to play?
  • What can we do in the meantime?
  • Anything else that’s on your mind?

LAOUT’s Equity Statement:

As the LAOUT Board, we have to acknowledge that not everyone in this room has the same advantages when it comes to dealing with the pandemic. As we discuss returning to play, we want to keep top of mind that not everyone in Los Angeles will have access to the vaccine at the same time. Not everyone has been able to keep their jobs and have income to afford to play in leagues in the coming months. Not everyone has an immune system safe enough to be around others right now.

Oftentimes our LAOUT community has to enter communities outside of our own to find available fields. We have to remain mindful of our collective privileges throughout these talks and how we can make it safe for everyone to return to play.

Below are the notes from the breakout groups during our meeting


  • Octimate as an alternative to Ultimate before fully returning to play
    • Offense and defense are separated into zones.
    • You score by hitting the targets
    • No prolonged marking time
    • Occasionally within 6ft but quickly passing
    • Equipment needed: gardening stakes and cones 
  • Modifications 
    • Set marks 6ft away
      • This is hard to enforce downfield
      • What happens with a floaty disc?
      • Is 6ft infraction a stoppage of play? Is this a call you can make on the field?
      • Is 6ft excessive?
      • If we have to modify rules beyond wearing a mask, should we even consider it safe to play?
      • Masks still mandatory even for vaccinated people
    • Playing with masks
      • How do you enforce this?
        • Make like St. Pat’s Hat? If you’re not wearing your mask you can’t get the disc?  Or it’s a turnover?  Does someone have to call a foul?
        • LAOUT will provide masks if we decide to play when that is still required
      • Is there a certain quality of mask we need to require?
    • No high-fives
      • What can we do to encourage spirit in other physical ways?
    • Hand sanitize before going on the field each time
    • Possible League modifications
      • It’s easier and cheaper to restart on Beach
      • Also easier on the joints and less of an injury risk
      • Maybe have larger teams and hockey style subs so people can play themselves back into shape
      • Could do a community beach cleanup day
      • Consider a mini ramp up league.  4 weeks, themed hat league that is purely for fun and to let people get back into things and see their friends
  • Questions
    • Do rules modifications make sense? Does it allow RtP that much earlier or just 1-2 weeks?
    • Do we limit how many people can come to a game?
      • What happens with pick up with their open attendance? 
    • Carpooling?
      • May not be a viable option for people and we don’t want to alienate an entire group of people who can no longer play due to not having a ride
    • Weekly testing is excessive?


Thresholds/Acceptance Criteria

  • Will have to sign a waiver
  • Need to make sure plan if positive case is identified/exposure happens
    • 5 days with no positive test result
    • Having a roster is better than pick up for tracing
  • Vaccinations
    • Availability is a fair place to draw the line
      • Need to define what it means to have access
    • Does vaccination negate testing?
    • Can you mandate a test for unvaccinated? Or those who don’t want the vaccine at all?
    • Equity issue of requiring vaccines
      • HIPPA violation to ask
    • Vaccine expirations are not cutting the line and are okay
  • Reaching out to the community
    • Send survey to LAOUT with optional questions about vaccine 
      • Are you? Will you? Etc
    • Need better marketing for safety measures
    • Need community to be honest about risk/exposure
  • Herd Immunity
    • When do we reach it and what does it look like?
    • Does that mean it’s safe to play?
    • Is herd immunity equitable?
    • If we reach her immunity are the protocols and mods necessary?
    • Is most of the LAOUT community lower risk?
  • The community
    • Concern about people too eager to come back and play – risking others
    • Frustration over people playing and disregarding those who are high risk
      • Especially outside of the LAOUT community, people you encounter every day (stores, appts, etc)
    • Need to focus on getting people back in shape
      • Threshold for injuries
    • What to do about individual concerns about those who do not want the vaccine and potentially risking others
    • If someone is uncertain about returning it’s self selection – you don’t have to RtP
    • Potential for buddy system to help others receive a vaccine
      • Offering rides, etc

BIPOC Discussion

  • More than just ultimate players
  • Cultural aspects of ultimate community
  • Offering a sense of community beyond Ultimate field
  • An opportunity to reset and create a more inclusive community
  • Develop a community that is welcoming to people currently playing
  • Acceptance of RtP diminishes BIPOC realities
  • Ultimate players for Black lives Facebook group
  • Community building based on the fields that we use

Non-BIPOC Discussion

  • Acknowledging our room is much larger than the BIPOC room
    • Why is that when the city we live in is so diverse
  • Need to have conversations with those in the communities we go into for fields
  • Reaching out to BIPOC players personally
  • To recruit more diversity – needs to more of an official effort
    • We want you to play versus you can play if you want
  • Gender equity – has the board discussed the success/lack of success
  • Equity and access matters in the community as well – spread going outside LAOUT players
  • Rules Mods: is the dominant white male group more/less likely to follow rules
    • What are the consequences
    • Will this lead to more drop out from women or bipoc players?
  • Asking captains to lead warm ups to help prevent injuries
    • LAOUT could provide examples
  • If we have to modify the game that means the game isn’t safe for somebody and that is not equitable
  • If we get to a point where modifications aren’t completely necessary (herd immunity) should we do them anyway just for extra protection?

Additional Resources
LAOUT Equity reporting from past years: 

Other Disc Org’s RTP Policies


  • Liverpool

    March 21, 2021 at 9:24 pm

    Thanks for posting this, it was a great read and I’m happy to hear so many great points were discussed. It’s not easy.


  • Sherry

    April 27, 2021 at 1:58 pm

    Quick fact isn’t a HIPPA violation to ask an individual if they are vaccinated it can be construed as rude.


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