It's Wednesday. The competition begins tomorrow with divisional play but the tournament has been in the works for weeks. Weeks ago some of the crew were on site leveling ground and planting grass. More recently besides setting up the infrastructure of the event the operations crew has extended a gravel road and prepped an area for overflow parking--just in case it's needed. In our little corner of the boneyard all our gear, including all the scoreboards is tucked away. The day before an event is final set-up. For our part it's erecting the field scoreboards and the pit scoreboards, prep for the scorekeeper and wire everything together (including the horn) and then testing it all to make sure it's all working. While that's going on back at the boneyard referee field kits are organized by field for the refs to pick-up in the morning and includes everything they need to do their jobs. Radios and chronographs are counted and checked. Packed with fresh batteries. Ref jerseys (that have been washed) are arranged by size and field assignment and ready to deliver as the refs check-in and collect their assignments. Individually none of the details are a big deal but the accumulation of elements and keeping them organized can become a daunting proposition in no time. For example, the pack for setting up the scoreboards has six sets of cables, connecting dongles, a power strip, the air horn, zip ties, straps, stands (the big one needs to be assembled and broken down each event)--and I'm sure I forgot something--plus an extension cord, two pit scoreboards and a main board. And there's lots of consumables that need to be replaced--like batteries, paper towels and water. I almost forgot--ref lunches need to be arranged, collected daily and distributed too.
And that's just our tiny corner of the event. Multiple that effort a couple dozen times or so. Each of the vendors has a similar routine and equally long list of tedious to-do details in order to be ready when the players show up. And operations is busy with a lot more than simply setting up fields with netting. Here the guys are making a new parking lot--along with being responsible for delivering power to the vendors and each field, setting up the bleachers and the superstructure used on the Champions field and every table, chair and nearly every other odd and end that the event requires.
The checklist of to-do's to run a national tournament is amazingly long. I thought I had a good idea of what it took to make an event happen. I didn't know--or at least think about--the half of it.