When I said “stay tuned” in my retirement post, I was teasing this little project. I like TDing. I’m tired of playing, I did my time as a coach, and I’m finishing out my last season steering the Argo, but writing/podcasting about quidditch and running events are the two things I decided to focus on in the future. West Coast Bias isn’t going anywhere for the moment, but you’re not here for that.
Good tournament direction and the people who usually get stuck doing it is something that’s been on my mind ever since I sat down and recorded a Sass + 1 with Sequoia back in the spring of 2017.
Being a tournament director wasn’t something I sought out; it happened to me. I wasn’t born great, I will never achieve greatness on the pitch, but TDing was thrust upon me once upon a time when I got benched to run SJSU’s first home tournament in my time there, so I rolled with it.
In this first year, I’m not asking for much. A low per-team fee, or travel cost compensation, whatever is higher. I love running tournaments and other quidditch events, but I don’t want that love to put me in the red. (The Bay Area is expensive, guys.)
That’s why I’m so stoked that I get to put my skills to the test for the first time with Norcal by Northwest. I am an unapologetic Pacific Northwest quidditch fangirl, and with the disbanding of NCQC, getting the NorCal community teams some games to help their chase for an at-large bid is as good a consolation gift as I can grant them.
What did surprised me most when I first announced this venture is the interest I got from other TDs whose work I respected. Then again, should I have been? As quidditch transitions more into becoming a “real” sport, whatever that means, we can all agree that “real” and “professional” have a lot of overlap. I’m not the best tournament director in the country, but I’m a good one. My experience is valuable. And so is theirs.
If Barcelos Knows Quidditch becomes a consulting agency in more than just Facebook page name, that’s beyond my wildest expectations.
A quick Q and A:
Why should I pay a tournament director? It’s not required.
Referees get paid anywhere between $10 and $20 for… let’s say an hour of work per game. They absolutely deserve it. They study the rulebook, they are evaluated and certified, and they have to maintain a standard or have their certification revoked. Tournament directors also have to study USQ policy, be certified, and can have their certification revoked.
However, referees only work for that one (though usually many more) games they are scheduled. No prep work before (other than studying the rulebook to stay fresh) and no followup after the game. A tournament director, on the other hand, spends time in advance planning the tournament, is busy all day running the event, and then has to do follow up tasks like paying officials.
Taking that into account, it’s shocking that TDs aren’t paid.
Okay, but why should I pay you?
I’ve been a tournament director since before there was a certification. The first event I co-TDed was South Bay Spookfest in the fall of 2014. I was the nonplaying TD for that event since my co-TD was needed as a player.
Since then, I have been a tournament director at the following events:
- Hella Fantasy 1 (5 teams, solo TD, nonplaying)
- NCQC @ Cal (8 teams, co-TD, playing)
- NCQC @ SJSU (8 teams, solo TD, nonplaying)
- NCQC Community Final (5 teams, co-TD, nonplaying)
- NCQC College Final (5 teams, co-TD, playing)
- Best Coast Classic 1 (10 teams, solo TD, nonplaying)
- NCQC Championship (6 teams, co-TD, playing)
- Hella Fantasy 2 (6 teams, solo TD, non-playing)
- West Fantasy 2016 (10 teams, solo TD, nonplaying)
- NCQC @ Cal (co-TD, canceled due to rain)
- Best Coast Classic 2 (4 teams, co-TD, nonplaying)
- Hella Fantasy 3 (4 teams, solo TD, playing because I’m a masochist)
- Golden Bear Invitational (8 teams, co-TD, playing)
- NCQC @ Cal aka California Classic (co-TD, canceled due to wet fields)
- NCQC Spartan Showdown (6 teams, co-TD, playing+coaching)
- Team USA Tryouts: W/NW (not technically a tournament, but 🤷🏻♀️)
- Best Coast Classic 3 (5 teams, solo TD, non-playing)
- Hella Fantasy 4 (3 teams, co-TD, nonplaying)
So yeah, I have a decent list of events under my belt. Some were more successful than others, but I stand by the events where I stumbled. I learned from those mistakes so you don’t have to.
In that time, I’ve always built up relationships with referees and other nonplaying volunteers, and it is to them that I owe so much credit for my most successful events. By engaging my services, you get to tap into that network and make sure that your event is appropriately staffed.
Did you know about this year’s TD policy?
That is a fair question, but no. As I mentioned before, it’s been on my mind for a while, but I started making solid plans in April 2018 after running Best Coast Classic. (Three years in a row and always on time, by the way.)
I have always been a nonplaying TD at that event, even when my team was playing in it. TDing is something I genuinely enjoy, but I was worried that I would no longer have the opportunity to do so since I’d no longer be affiliated with a USQ team.
I was also inspired by Chess Club Consulting. The idea of taking your quidditch experience and offering it as a service isn’t a new one, but I think it’s a good one.