It seems awfully early, but I’ve already begun working on the Pups. This year out we’ll handle the waitlist better, for one thing. We learned to hold off a couple of weeks and not go first come, first served, but instead to divvy up the slots evenly. I’ve never taken to the idea that the reason you get into a tournament is that you have your finger on the button at the right time. In the end, just about every legitimate entry gets in most places. The point of a waitlist is to strain out the illegitimate entries and to limit the legitimate ones. That is, if you have a big team, you can’t register them all no matter how much you want to. A tournament needs to manage itself, and one of the ways it does this is to keep entries fairly distributed. Tabbing small events with unbalanced fields is something I do a lot, and you see lots of pullups and the like, the sort of thing you want to avoid at a major tournament. It’s okay at MHLs or local invitationals, but when you’re talking circuit events, it’s not so all right. People may want to get 10 slots, but that probably isn’t going to happen. Anyhow, waitlist management at the big events is crucial.
Of course there remains the illegitimate entries, and waitlist does allow you to detect who is an official entry and who isn’t. When in doubt, I email them. As often as not, they are legitimate. There’s nothing wrong with a lone wolf traveling with a parent or some other reasonable guardian, provided that it’s done with the knowledge of the school the LW is supposedly representing. No one has any serious brief against that. But at the point where you’re only saying you’re representing your school, which thinks that you took the day off because you have the ague, that’s something else. I’ve gone into that plenty of times here, and the VCA knows my feelings about it. No, you are not born with an inherent right to debate, and tournaments are perfectly within their rights to limit invitations to actual school entries. As for the camps, they’re perfectly within their rights to set up their own tournaments open to anyone under the sun, and anyone under the sun can then go and whoop it up to their heart’s content. Given that my experience with the camps has been steadily negative, I probably won’t be tabbing those tournaments.
And then there’s the new business about conflicts being used as strikes. This is a relatively new one, but we should have it beaten down by the end of next season. It began with honest misreadings of the concept of conflict, but since I now send out a detailed explanation of confliction before each tournament, that won’t hold anymore.
Meanwhile, I’m sure that the community of people looking to pull a fast one will, while we’re looking elsewhere, come up with some new fast ones. They always do. That community is probably seriously pissed that I didn’t go away completely, as I am no doubt high on their enemies list. So it goes. With enemies like that, who needs friends?