I mentioned on American Billiard Radio last week (we talked about the crowd), I could discuss every single week of the year a topic related to running a tournament. Seriously, lol. Yes, my bucket of Tournament Director topics is definitely full.
Today I thought I'd share something that maybe others may not have thought of before.
A couple of years after starting the Omega Billiards Tour, a player contacted me about signing up. I had major reservations and was apprehensive to let him play.
I contacted the sponsor of the Tour to ask him, "Can I not let him play?"
You see, as a Tournament Director, we really do have the final say on who can play or not. This is easier to enforce if you have rules and guidelines that you can point to, but if you think about it, all TDs have this final decision - whether running a Tour or a weekly tourney. And it can make for sticky situations if you have an opinionated TD or a vengeful one. As you can imagine, it helps both sides if there are guidelines in place that the TD or players can point to.
The Omega Tour had no such guidelines in place at the time. Just normal 9-ball rules and suggested no sharking examples on the website.
Going back to this player - I am ashamed to say I didn't want him to play on the Tour. I was too green to understand that his past should not affect his participation. You see, he had been running a monthly tournament and it was found out he was STEALING from the break and run pot, and he was also not paying out what he should in the regular payout. The players were very upset with him and when I verified the accusation with a friend of his ("Melinda, I wish it wasn't true," he lamented), I just didn't want this dishonest guy to play.
After sharing the background and my thoughts with the sponsor he tells me, "He should be able to play, Melinda. It doesn't matter who he is away from the Tour, you can't tell him he can't play just because he has acted this way."
I have to say I have ALWAYS appreciated that I could have great discussions with sponsors. Not only the Omega Tour, but the sponsor of the OB Cues Ladies Tour (Royce Bunnell), too. They both have a business mentality and both been around pool their whole life. They have great perspectives and it was comforting to be able to have a meaningful and productive discussion with them on topics that would come up.
And in this situation, Mike Hoang (owner of Omega Billiards Supply), it was no exception.
And he was spot on. I can't just forbid a guy from playing because he was cheating others somewhere else. I had to let him play. Obviously, if he somehow stole from the Omega Tour, that would be different.
So, I told the player how to sign up, and here I am 4 years later writing about it.
And let me tell you that he has turned out to be one of the biggest proponents of the Tour! He bids on people, plays good and finishes well, always promotes the Tour, the players like him etc. While his errant ways was over 4 years ago, the players don't bring it up or even think about because he's not running the monthly tournament anymore (he was removed). He was always a well-liked guy, just happened to get in some trouble.
I was definitely taught a lesson here. :)