Mike Fieldhammer is this month's PoolSynergy host and he choose this topic for us to write about: A Great Tournament Experience.
Obviously, the best tournament experienced is one that you win! Ah, just kidding! Although.. that is an extra added bonus! :) haha
Ironically, Mike wants us to "write about any aspect of an event that you enjoyed and appreciated." Well, for me, the best tournament experience is one where I feel appreciated and respected. That goes a long way to make the perfect tournament experience for me!
It might sound selfish, but let me put it into perspective.
I have been to tournaments where the Tournament Directors (TDs) don't listen to the players, the waitresses could care less if I need a drink in the middle of the match, the one bad table isn't taken out of the line up even after complaints, the Player's Meeting is not started on time, etc.
These may seem minor, but appreciation helps one's mental game. As a competitor, I am there to focus on playing my best. If I have distractions, I wont be top form for my matches. And if I have distractions that are preventable or not taken care of, it makes for an even POORer tournament experience. It goes a LONG way when Tournament Directors show appreciation to their players and provides them the best atmosphere to play in. That is the great tournament experience for me.
Further, as the caretaker of my Mom, little things go a long way to feel appreciated. I take care of everything in my life; But a good TD makes me feel taken care of, and to me that leads to being able to play pool distraction-free!
Appreciation is the biggest compliment to me. Not just in pool, but in my life.
Sure, go ahead and use me for my entry fee and green fee and registration fee. As long as I'm felt appreciated, I will gladly come back and donate!
On the other hand, take advantage of the players by being rude, taking out money not advertised, change the format after the tourney starts, etc. and you will lose players.
I have been to tourneys where the A/C was not working properly in the middle of the Summer in Texas. The Pool room owner gave us all free bottled water. Talk about appreciation!
I appreciate when the Player's Meeting is started on time. Just the other weekend I raced to an event because I was told the meeting started promptly at 10:15 but it really didn't start til 11am. :(
I have been to tourneys where the TDs got in verbal arguments with their players. Talk about distracting and rude!
When TD's enforce the rules, it's also much appreciated. I like it when everyone has to follow the same rules. Don't bend them for favorites. Guess what? We all see when you let that one player slide more than the 15 minutes and you don't forfeit them, or you allow that other player out of dress code, or you wont step up and tell one of our opponents to stop sharking, or you let the audience interfere with matches, etc. I understand that TDs have a thankless job, but the rules are in place for a smooth tourney experience for all involved.
I appreciate when a pool room shows their appreciation to the players that are there in their pool room. It reminds me of watching bands live in concert. When they stand onstage and genuinely thank their fans for paying to watch them perform, it gives us a sense they sincerely appreciate us. Same for pool room owners that leave the bar tables open for free or provide extra food (as examples).
Some tournaments have surprised the players and added extra money to the event. We will always remember those pool room owners!
The TD's that start the matches on time and keep the tourney moving along are top notch in my book.
I went to one tournament held in a convention center and the event was non-smoking, but the TD's were smoking at the TD desk in the room! Really??
I love a tournament that advertises exactly what the green fees, payouts, etc. are. Trust is key.
So, while I could mention a specific thing that makes for a great tournament experience, it's the tournaments where I feel appreciated that I cherish the most. Distraction-free is the perfect atmosphere to get my mind in gear for playing good pool! And the best way to achieve that is for tournaments, tournament directors, and pool room owners to show appreciation to the players through respect, appreciation, and gratitude.