Words of Wisdom for League Commissioners
Anarchists Never Avoid Real Challenges Highly Inspiring Self-righteous Tirade
When Cusi challenged me to write an editorial and something about tourneys, I couldn't refuse. But I couldn't help myself and I had to give it that special A.N.A.R.C.H.I.S.T. twist. Hence the column title and format.
FUMBBL is a fantastic site but you may soon be craving something more than playing games in Open. Thankfully, FUMBBL provides ample support to run all kinds of wonderful tournaments. I've run a few and have had the privilege of participating in several really fun tournaments. I'm going to share with you some of my insights and hopefully inspire you to run a successful tourney.
Thematic. A good tourney should have a coherent fun theme. Who would want to play in "8 Team Knockout Tournament" run by JustACoach when they could enter "Mama Says Knock You Out" run by MC_Mama where all the teams must be named after bad rap groups. Provide your tournament with a story and you'll have a leg up on the competition. Special rules and other gimmicks will also help you stand out from the crowd and help you in recruiting coaches.
Organized. Do some planning and research. A well-run tournament is always a well-thought-out tournament first. Don't try to run a tournament on the fly or you'll find coaches flying away from your tournament. Draft some rules and a schedule. Get some feedback from some coaches who've run successful tournaments before. Then present your well-thought-out tournament to the public. You'll look much more professional then the "let's make up the rules as we go" tournament organizers.
Unambiguous. Be clear about the purpose of your tournament. If you want to run an Elfbowl Tournament, state it up front. That way coaches can make informed decisions about which tournaments to join and with what teams. Be clear about your rules. If you've got special house rules or scoring systems, state if up front. Unexpected decrees from tournament organizers tend to leave everyone a little shell-shocked and disappointed.
Realistic. A 160 team tournament broken down into racial pools with a regular season and some playoffs might seem like a really cool thematic tournament, but it's not very likely to be completed. You'll need too many dedicated coaches with a long-term vision to complete a tournament like this. It's probably not going to happen. When it comes to tourneys it's quality not quantity that counts. Your better off running a small, well-thought-out tournament with people clamouring to get in than a massive monstrosity that never gets completed.
Nimble. Humans make mistakes. Rules that seemed reasonable prove to be completely unbalanced. People have lives. Coaches drop out. No matter how hard you prepare for your tournament, chances are something unexpected is going to happen. You'll have to be flexible to come up with fair solutions to these kinds of events. If you are graceful in handling these disturbances, coaches will return to your future tournaments because they know that you'll handle things justly.
Enthusiasm. Nothing attracts coaches more than an enthusiastic tournament organizer. You'll need enthusiasm to sell your tournament. If it's contagious, you'll be well on your way to a successful tournament. On the other hand, if your heart is not into running the tournament, it will show and your tournament will suffer.
Yahoo! Most importantly make it fun! There can only be one champion, but everyone in the tournament can be a winner if they had fun. Your tournament should be about more then just winning games. It's the little extra touches that promote fun for all the participants. Pay attention to these other little details and you'll have more than the champion returning to your next tourney. And that's the best sign of a successful tourney!
Challenge: If you think your tournament meets the above criteria, send me some FUMBBL mail with the details of your tourney. I'll review the entries and announce the winner in my next column.