The Eastside Thaw is, more or less, the start of my bike polo season. Held early in March, the Thaw is a chance to meet new players, old friends, and play the game in two of it’s more interesting varieties (these being Bench format and a random-draw team). Alias, who is again heading up the Thaw, was kind enough to answer a few questions I have for him:
I went to the Thaw last year and had a blast–as the organizer, do you think it went well?
It started out a bit touch and go, but eventually I got into a rhythm and things smoothed out. It was my first tournament in a lead role, and while I was pretty prepared for the known-unknowns, a few of the unknown-unknowns got me. I definately had a lot of lessons learned, and I’m more prepared for this year.
What surprised you about running the tourney, and what have you learned from it?
You’ll want to be in more than one place at once, and you’ll panic the most when you don’t have something to do. What I’ve learned is largely about what prep-work can be done beforehand. Attempting to do early morning court setup, and the card draw was a mistake. It took too much time, and cut into play time. The lesson here is to have a check-in event the night before. This year, we’ll have evening access to the courts on Friday until 10:00pm. We’ll do the card draw then, and it will have the added benefit of encouraging players to arrive on Friday instead of early Saturday morning. I think adding this sort of feature to an event gives me as an organizer an administrative buffer to catch any details that slip throu… are you still awake?
What can we expect to see changing this year (and give a little run down on how it worked last year as a point of reference if you can)?
Like I said, card draws on Friday. This will speed things up on Saturday. I also have a better plan for how to do the bench team draft. This should make it easier on the captains.
We are at two identical inline hockey courts, so there’s a better symetry in all the games–no more dead boards. The courts are very large, so players that are used to tennis court games will find that the games will take more out of them. This will matter a lot more during the bench games.
What do you think are the essentials for putting on a good tourney?
A good relationship with your parks & recreation department/office (or whatever host location you are using). No event exists without a place to play. Everything else is icing.
But let’s talk about icing. There’s a structural benefit to providing food at the court. It keeps players close and ready to play. Additionally, I’m providing bike valet parking for security reasons. Bikes have been stolen from Frederick at past events, so I wanted to provide this as a service/conveniance. It also looks better than a grass plot littered with bikes.
Lots of what I’m able to provide comes from local bike-shop support and partnership. Involvement with your local shops goes a long way.
The Thaw is a pickup tourney on day 1 with a bench format tourney on day 2. Do you see this as a great way of getting the best of both worlds? Which part is your favorite of the two? Read more