Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Debate: Running things, sort of

In a way it’s rather odd helping out at the Tigger tournament. Obviously I run the tournament at my own high school, which for me means getting as many other people aside from myself to do the work as is humanly possible. Come to think of it, getting out of doing work has been my modus operandi for as long as I can remember. In the DJ it meant inventing all sorts of technical systems that got everybody else out of doing a lot of work too, one of those high tides lifting all boats sort of things. I’m pretty good at systems overall, and I was able back in the day to apply that talent not only to classic bureaucratic bloat but to some burgeoning technologies; putting the two together got everything exactly the way I liked it, and still like it. It reminds me of The Doubleday Cookbook. When I was working at that particular publisher in my youth, they were putting together this classic magnum opus, one of those enormous how-to-cook-everything books. For reasons I don’t quite recall, I was assigned to do the index, something I had never done before or since. I took to it with a vengeance. The end result, lo these many years later, is that whenever I look something up in the index of The Doubleday Cookbook, I always find what I am looking for at the very first try, exactly where I intuitively expect to find it. If you can’t organize the world the way you like it, then at least try to organize the index.

Anyhow, the real point is that I enjoy running things. My daughter calls this going into God mode. I’m good at delegating what can be delegated, and doing myself what can’t be delegated, and knowing the difference. Of course, I really don’t run the Tiggers or the Gem of Harlem so much as guide them along where needed, as needed. It’s different for every school. The Tigs are terrifically well organized (perhaps as a result of their years with CP, but then again, when I got into the Gem, they were terrifically not well organized after the same number of years with CP, so go figure) and all you have to do is point them in the right direction. We put O’C as their guardian on trophies and judge acquisition, for instance. Having O’C as your guide to awards is like having Lance Armstrong as your guide to biking: he does it on steroids. But universities need university trophies, and O'C got the Tigs over the hump of their Dollar Store awards into the real thing. I mean, let’s face it. While a university tournament may offer good competition, most people go because it’s that particular university. There’s an underlying reason why so many Ivies do high school events with people breaking down the doors to get in. They don’t even really need the allure of bids: people just want to walk those hallowed paths and imagine themselves being here in a few years as actual Tiggers (or whatever) themselves. I think it was Bietz’s proposal that all universities automatically get semis bids, somewhat based on this premise.

So we point the students at a school in the right direction, and do some of the stuff ourselves. For me, it’s always running the registration, which I love doing. I love pulling people off the waitlists (it always makes you look like some great hero), matching up judge hires, rapping recalcitrant knuckles as needed, wondering if this year yet against XY HS’s coach will blow off her judging obligations (which is why her school was taken off the waitlist so late) and if YX HS’s parents will pull out all their losers on Saturday night despite the hundreds of dollars of fines imposed on them last year. Have I ever mentioned I have a pretty good memory for tournament shenanigans? Combine that with the number of registrations I run, it’s not a good idea for your school to join in the shenaniganning, if you know what I mean. In any case, running a big registration means picking at tabroom every couple of hours, especially as we get close to finalizing fees. I get a kick out of that. Other people no doubt would find it torture of the worst order.

What will be interesting this time out is using tabroom again for notifications. I have to admit that I have no confidence in my understanding of this from the users point of view, which means that a) I haven’t read the directions in tabroom and b) when people ask me questions I’ll have to make something up. It worked pretty well at Bronx, insofar as notifying people that something was happening, but it didn’t necessarily notify them of the correct thing that was happening. CP, happily unraveling a parli tournament at the Pups that weekend, occasionally texted responses to my cries of help to the tune of, “Oh, that’s not good,” and, “Um, I should look at the data.” I’m not sure where he is this weekend, but I can imagine getting texts from some random gin mill on the south side of Boston telling me that “Oh, that doesn’t sound good.” We’ll see.

The point of all of this is that I do like working other people’s tournaments. Sometimes it’s just sitting in tab keeping the machine humming and pulling out the sausages. Other times it’s getting out front and pushing the random animal parts into the sausage-making machine in the first place. The Tiggers is a Random Animal Parts tournament for me. Which, as I say, I really enjoy.

(I hope that the linguistic abuses in this post don'tt mean I’ll have to turn in my Metaphor License any time soon.)

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