Friday, March 15, 2013

CFL Grands

We do our CatNats qualifier tomorrow.

This used to be a nightmare of an event, as we ran it with three judges, double-flighted. This required an enormous amount of juggling on our part (JV, Kaz and I are the back-room staff). Each team was required to bring a judge, but so the math works okay, but placement was really tough. The fields were in the low twenties, as a general rule, and after the presets, where the judges usually fell out okay, you would be scraping and scrounging to make it work. TRPC couldn’t do it, so it was all on cards. We’d sort everything out and then just use TRPC as a backup to show that we hadn’t missed something, since it would tell us if a judge was misused. It was painful.

At some point a couple of years ago we demonstrated that the results would be the same with two judges rather than three, that is, the same people would qualify, so we were able to amend the league rules, allowing that 20 or fewer teams meant we would only use two judges. Suddenly we were in a position to single-flight, and instead of getting out at 8:00 at night, we were done by 4:00 or so. We had a habit of shooting out during round 3 for a visit to a local Caribbean deli, but they closed it, which was a real loss, and we saw the benefits of a single double-flighted round for judge conservation, to which we added the incentive of lunch maximization now that we had to go further afield for sustenance, and a pretty good system has developed.

We’ll have 12 and 16 in PF and LD respectively. The way I’m seeing it, we’ll probably have 3 and 4 brackets in the 3rd round, depending on ballot count. Obviously, with no wins or losses—we run on ballot count—there’s no way to really bracket. So we create something on the fly. When there were three ballots, meaning you could have wins and losses, there was always the issue of the high-high pairing of the third round, which is how Nationals is tabbed. Obviously, four rounds, which we have, isn’t five rounds, which CatNats has. Our goal is to be as CatNatty as possible, but it’s easier said than done, as you can see. Every year I spend a bunch of time boning up on the CFL rules and any updates. One must do one's homework.

In aid of my ultimate CatNattiness, I have printed up Nats ballots. And we’ll eliminate the coin flip, disallow tied points (much less LPWs), beg the judges to have no communication whatsoever, and, considering the sponsor, say a few good words about the new Pope. In other words, we will be as CatNatty as we conceivably can. We’ve been doing this all at Stuyvesant since as long as I can remember, back when Greg Varley and RJT used to try to make sense of it all behind the closed tab door. That remains the same. It’s CFL. The tab door is most resolutely closed. So are the rounds. If you aren’t debating or judging, you’re not in the room. If you’re not tabbing, you’re not hanging out in the tab room.

Meanwhile, everyone else in tab is doing the whole Speecho-American thing. We steer clear of them, and vice versa. They're just far enough away that they can't hear our music. And they, of course, have no music, being soulless drones and whatnot. I've been going through my iPod alphabetically, having started at G. I'm now up to H, specifically the Ha's.


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