Seattle is known for many things, but two of the biggest are its love of sports and being a tech industry hub. What happens when you combine the two? You get the vision of Steve Mayeda, a semi-retired tech entrepreneur and rec league administrator of the Information Technology Sports League.
Modeled on traditional recreational leagues, Mayeda’s IT league begins this summer with co-ed softball, and he plans to extend the efforts into the fall and winter with soccer and basketball, respectively.
You could argue that people like Mayeda should encourage members of the IT industry to join leagues that include other industries. Tech companies can sometimes be known for being exclusive in more ways than one.
However, the IT industry is also highly competitive, no matter the niche. Companies are not only competing for clients, they are competing for talent. Mayeda wants to encourage the competition among the teams as well as camaraderie. There might be more unintended benefits for the members of this IT league.
One byproduct of this league could also be a chance for members to network for new talent or a new position. There will only be eight teams, and they will only be playing once a week, but according to the Frequently Asked Questions on the league’s site, “playing softball, having beers after the game and meet(ing) other people in the IT industry” is encouraged.
For Mayeda and his partners in the endeavor, the Seattle Parks Department, Bellevue Parks Department, and the Northwest Baseball Umpires Association, the league is meant to also encourage wellness among IT professionals. We all deal with stress in our workplaces, but many IT professionals deal with their stress by internalizing it.
Mayeda’s efforts to create this league will go a long way in dealing with one of the biggest myths about workplace stress: that it’s everywhere and you can’t do anything about it. This will give like-minded members of Seattle’s IT industry an outlet for their stress.
While it is not an inexpensive league in which to blow off some steam, with team registration costing $1,500, the fees may be worth it for the benefits, tangible and intangible. Smaller teams cannot only band together to afford the fees, but the cost covers game balls, a game bag, a catcher’s mask, and a scorebook for the season.
Not the Only One
There are other competitions like this throughout the country. Wall Street has its own competition: the Decathlon. Started eight years ago as a friendly bet among 11 friends, the Decathlon has grown to include more than 30 highly athletic and highly competitive financial professionals.
One is a former Penn State safety, Mark Rubin, who has won the Decathlon the last four years. Rubin and his rivals have raised more than $6 million for cancer research. The Decathlon is expanding to cities throughout the country this year, including Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Houston.
With its emphasis on both athleticism and charitable giving, this type of industry-specific is set to go international in 2017. Look out, Seattle. It’s likely the Decathlon will show up in your city soon.