To Answer Your LoBP Question: You Are A Brat


On February 26th, a post went live on LoBP (All Hail) which discussed a recent tourney in Arizona (DPI 6). The gist of the post (I invite you to read it here and scurry back) was that the writer expected lots of prizes to be handed out in a particular way, and that didn’t happen.

In particular, many of the items that were given by sponsors to the organizers were raffled away, with the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams getting only a few of the prizes overall.

The rest was raffled to whoever wanted to enter for tickets, which resulted in items going to some players, some fans, and a few local folks, too. This frustrated the writer of the post (I don’t know the person other than their handle, Ghabe), as he states:

I recognized a problem and would just like to get to the bottom of it.

I know it seems a bit like I’m being greedy and ungrateful, but come on. It was the first time I podium’d in a tournament. I was looking forward to some sick prizes.

I enjoyed the tournament. I enjoyed playing in Arizona. I enjoyed socializing with fellow southwestern players. This is just something I thought should be brought up.

Was this an actual problem that needed addressing? Or am I just a brat?


I’ll go ahead and help you out here: you’re being a brat, and an ungrateful one at that. 

I realize that’s a hard line to take, but I can’t sell papers without being provocative, so just deal with it.

Now, if you want me to build the case, I’ll be happy to do that, too.

You’re going to win, not to win prizes.

champsphTo start with, you are going to a tourney to play in a tourney. Prizes should be the last thing on your mind. Point in fact, if you’re looking forward to prizes more than reaching the podium, I think you would be better served by:

1. saving the money to enter tourneys, buying yourself cool bike stuff

2. giving that bike stuff to your friends

3. having them, randomly, throughout the year, knock on your door and say “congratulations! You reached the podium for pooping in the morning! Here’s a Paul brake lever!”

4. high-fiving yourself repeatedly

Bike polo tournaments have a weird expectation of giving away stuff, and I am likewise happy when I get free goodies, too–but I’m not indignant if a tourney doesn’t have anything other than a well run tourney where I get to hang out with my friends. That’s what I’m paying for: for the experience, to play, and to challenge myself against others. 

Tournaments cost SO MUCH MONEY to run

Oh my God. Oh my God. Do you know how ridiculous it is to run a tournament and expect that you’ll make money off of it? It’s almost unheard of in bike polo.

And that’s not right–not in any way. Tournament organizers should be making money. Otherwise there’s really no good reason other than generosity that pushes them to do so. Furthermore it shows there’s no money to be made in our sport, which is a great way to stop it from growing.

The LoBP (All Hail) forum post says:

It seemed like AZ took away from the players that worked for podium, for a chance to earn money off sponsor provisions.
Now I know for a fact that isn’t what they intended to do. But unfortunately that’s what it looks like they did, and I’m very curious to why they would take such a weird approach to handing out prizes.

And I hope as hell they did do exactly that!  THE SPONSORS AREN’T SPONSORING PLAYERS. THEY ARE SPONSORING THE TOURNAMENT. The organizers can do anything they like with what they get, and it seems like the folks putting on the Invitational are some of the lucky few who understand that and tried to cut their losses.

If the tournament organizers wanted to get everything that was given to them by the sponsors, put it up on ebay, and use that money to offset the costs of the tourney/make a bit of profit, it’s well within their rights to do so.

If they wanted to get all of those things, put them in a pile, and burn them it’s in their right to do so. 

Not very smart, maybe, but it’s theirs. Unless a tourney sponsor says directly “you can only use what I’m giving you as prizes for teams that finish in the top 5,” the organizers aren’t obligated to give you anything–anything–but a fair tournament to play in.

Don’t confuse the relationship

butlerBike polo tournament organizers are generally, you guessed it, bike polo players. They are not professionals and are not doing this for a living. They have clubs, they have expenses, they have lives outside of this thing they are spending time and money on.

They are not, surprisingly, getting much out of throwing the tournament. Sometimes organizers are so swamped that they don’t even play in the tourney they’re throwing. It’s their choice, I get that, but  I think sometimes that people who go to these tourneys forget one very important thing: they aren’t your servants. They aren’t your mothers or your fathers (probably). They are other people who are doing you a service and, typically, not getting paid to do so.

So treat them as such. Don’t have expectations other than what they have already laid out. If they don’t say there are awesome prizes to be awarded to podium players, don’t assume there will be. If they don’t tell you they have housing, don’t figure you’ll be looked after. Everything they do outside of putting on that tournament (forming brackets, running the games, recording outcomes) is strictly a plus. Recognize that first and everything else will seem like a bonus to you.


I hope this helps answer your question.

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One comment

  1. […] This also seems like a decent alternative to avoiding the sort of prize debacle Brad linked to in this article. […]

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