Monday, September 11, 2017

In which we discuss something fairly momentous in the region

Scarsdale, Ridge and Lexington will no longer be offering housing at their tournaments.

What took them so long?

Housing, on face, enables schools to attend more tournaments further away from home on the cheap. After all, if all you’re paying for is registration, there isn’t much difference between a tournament down the street and a tournament a four-hour bus ride away. Having a host tournament’s families throw open their doors for a night meant that folks got to go to a lot more events than they might have otherwise. It all seems very humanitarian and Kumbaya by the campfire.

Except that, depending on the size of your tournament, and the size of your team, it could be a bloody nightmare.

I used to offer housing at Bump to all comers. We ended up with 150 to 200 slots. That’s a lot of people to put up at approximately 2 or 3 or 4 at most per clip. That uses up a lot of resources. It’s really hard to do. I used to dump the job on whatever parent I could find who wasn’t fast enough to disappear when I was handing out the tournament assignments. If they could read a spreadsheet, they were in like Flynn. More often than not, while this did result in beds being distributed for all those people, it took upwards of an hour to sort out all the warm bodies. The fustercluck that is the average housing assembly boggles the mind. We did this in the Northeast for decades.

As my team shrank, I start limiting housing to those schools that housed us. It was still a nightmare. And I’ve watch everyone else do it. At the point where you’re sending out hundreds of students into the night, how can it be anything but an organizational nightmare?

That, of course, is when all is going well. For years, we talked among ourselves of housing hanging by the thinnest of threads. All it would take would be one incident, nature unspecified, to bring the whole thing tumbling down. Every year, tournaments were courting catastrophe. Over the years, some administrations, coming to the realization of what was happening at tournaments, banned their schools from taking housing (although on the dubious assumption that hotel accommodations were safer and more controlled).

Will this have an impact? Probably. If you have to pay the same amount of money for every tournament, with the only variable being transportation costs, and you are unlikely to get more money from your school to run your team, you have to start making different and difficult decisions. But, well, we live in the real world, and have to act accordingly. Doing housing was intrinsically a veritable nightmare, and potentially a horror story. It was going to go away sooner or later. And now sooner or later is here.

It was a good idea while it lasted, but it hasn’t been a good idea for a while. Whether smaller tournaments will still offer some slots remains to be seen. I guess it all depends.



pjwexler said...

Alas, my dream of a system of . mutually preferred hosts or mutually preferred guests is crushed like velvet.

pjwexler said...

Though I do think it might have a reasonably significant impact on registration. I understand why offering housing may not be feasible in 2017, It likely will keep some less well endowed schools from attending certain contests, or fewer students FROM endowed programs, attending but so it goes. It is even possible I suppose that in some cases people will go to local tournaments (if any are still around) instead.

Things haven't been the same since before the war.