To add some more general thoughts to what Neeraj said, it really is best to be up front with people about issues like those this tournament had. From the communication in this thread, it seemed like the only reason for delaying the tournament was the prospect of a relatively small field that soon turned out to not be the case. I know we'd have been much more understanding of a postponement if you guys legitimately didn't think the set could be finished on time and said that (though obviously I cannot read minds and perhaps you guys did think you could realistically finish it, only to have that not work out as intended). It sucks to admit that you can't deliver a promised product, but I think everyone would've been much more understanding of a postponement for that reason than unexpectedly playing the partial set we got yesterday.
This thread may not be the best place for this, but, if it could possibly be of some help to anyone out there, here are some things that didn't happen at either this tournament or the main event that all TDs would do well to at least keep in mind:
1. Have someone or a few people working closely together to be centrally in charge of logistics (someone to post and update an announcement here, someone for teams to register with, someone to take money and buzzers and make buzzer assignments the morning of, someone to be responsible for having a schedule, etc).
2. Email teams about your tournament. Asking Eric for contact addresses for all the people signed up for Penn Bowl, at minimum, would've helped eliminate the concerns this tournament initially had about a small field. Teams that don't check the forums, or, in the case of this tournament, the trash forum, regularly or even at all that would quite possibly like to attend your tournament are infinitely more likely to do so if you contact them directly.
3. Have scoresheets with you when you get to the tournament, or at least enough to get through a round or two while someone runs to a library or something and prints more.
4. Know for certain how much staff you have available and recruit staff if you know you may have issues. One of my teammates decided he'd rather staff the night before PB Trash, and without him and one of the GMU players, this tournament may not have been able to run at all. Always know that at least one staffer per room is going to show up. The time to be calling Penn players to see if they could come was as far in advance as possible, at the worst Saturday night, not when the tournament was supposed to be starting. Never assume that someone will be there if you haven't confirmed it.
5. Have a question set and an efficient means of distributing that set. Over email tends to be the fastest way to send out packets for an electronic tournament, but it's fine to use a flashdrive if you manage to do so expediently. As soon as staff arrives in the morning is a good time to work on that. I understand that it's not always possible to have a set completely done and polished and ready to go before a tournament starts (though obviously that situation should be avoided whenever possible), but getting the packets out more efficiently would probably have shaved 30 minutes off this event.
6. Get as much of the stats entered in advance of rebracketing time as humanly possible. When we got back from lunch, the scoresheets were unattended in a stack in 214. At at least one of the tournaments I ran at Gov, I ate lunch in 15 minutes or so to make sure all the remaining stats got entered before we'd need them. I know it's not always possible to have a dedicated statkeeper, but someone entering stats while waiting for teams to arrive in his room and/or catching up during lunch would also have saved a lot of time.
7. Have some semblance of a schedule in mind when you arrive. I've run 9 tournaments in my career and I'm still pretty bad at making schedules, so I know from experience that there are people out there willing to help you if you need it. Even if you don't necessarily have an experienced TD to personally contact, just a post on this board can garner some help. Dwight Wynne once made me a tournament format back in the day long before we'd met because I was stumped and posted here for assistance. Having schedules for the number of teams you think you'll have and a few backups for fewer teams in case of drops saves a lot of time and stress.
8. Printers are awesome and useful to have around if you can manage it. They can fix all manner of issues, including "oops, not enough scoresheets" and "uhoh, we need a new schedule". Asking people to write their schedule down can work, but it's much more prone to error and time-wasting than being able to hand people printed schedules when they arrive.
9. Clearly communicate when teams are supposed to be back from lunch. A specific time is much more helpful than "in an hour", for instance. I'm not sure if this tournament ran into any problems that way, but it generally helps to tell people "lunch will be after round x" during round x-1 and then tell people during round x when to be back in their game room for round x+1.
10. Have someone clearly taking money/writing invoices/distributing schedules. This person should be at the tournament HQ before teams are and should manage teams as they arrive. This cuts delays and makes sure you actually get paid. This person should also be verifying team-provided buzzers and staff and assigning them rooms.
11. Have people setting up buzzers as they arrive. I saw way too many Penn players hanging out in the hallway before the main event for it to have been ok for us not to have a buzzer set even placed in our first round game room when we got there and were ready to start.
That's all I can think of at the moment. This tournament seemed to be as unpleasant an experience for the Penn folks involved as everyone else, and I'm sorry we reacted so poorly to your announced postponement. However, I hope you can understand the importance of being clear about your situation, and I hope that this list can help someone prevent overlooking something important in the future.
Maggie Lena Walker Governor's School for Government and International Studies, Class of 2010
VP of Tournament Direction, PACE
Middle School Mythology Subject Editor, NAQT
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