The Musings of Two Tournament Directors

Have you ever wondered how much work planning and overseeing a tournament really involves? Ever wonder what drives a tournament director to give up a significant chunk of his or her life to run a tournament? You won’t find a detailed list here on all the things a director handles in running a tournament, as the list is much too long to fit one article, but in reading this article, you will get some insight as to what motivates our dedicated tournament directors and what drives them crazy. You’ll also get a good idea as to just how much blood, sweat and tears are involved in putting together a tournament. Below is an interview with Cheyenne Hayes and Wanda Collins:

Q: How much time would you estimate that you spend pulling together some of the largest tournaments in Washington state?

CH: I spend between 75-100 hours on my tournament [Puget Sound Challenge], counting the weekend of.

WC: It may actually be more than 100 hours. You spend about 50 hours Thursday through Sunday of the actual event, but there are a multitude of hours spent before the event as well.

Q: How far in advance do you start planning?

CH: I start planning 6 months before.

WC: About 9 months prior. Running a tournament is painstaking and many months in the making. Sometimes I think it’s like giving birth. If you haven’t been pregnant and gone through labor, you just can’t understand it. It’s kind of how I describe it to the tournament player trying to understand what it takes to pull a large tournament off.

Q: What is your favorite aspect about planning and overseeing tournaments?

CH: I love running tournaments because it provides an event that many people REALLY enjoy but don’t have the means to run themselves. I love bringing in high quality racquetball to my little club [Olympia Bally’s]. I love to see the sport grow through these events.

WC: Well, you love the sport and want to promote it. There is a great feeling to seeing someone play in a tournament for the first time as well as watching an Open player display amazing athleticism. You have a community of friends. Whether I’m playing in a tournament in Washington or travelling across the US to other events, I see a family of friends and acquaintances wherever I go. After 30 years of playing, that’s a large group of friends.

Q: What’s your least favorite aspect?

CH: My least favorite is when people make nit-picky comments or complaints when you have spent HOURS making sure every single loose end works out to their benefit. I also don’t like the burden that running a tournament puts on my family. My kids sacrifice a lot for it.

WC: The hours it requires. The toll it takes on our club in terms of garbage, messes and inconveniences to all of our other members who would like to be able to shoot some hoops in the gym or just walk down the aisle to the locker room without tripping on a bag. Also, injuries. I hate seeing someone rupture an achilles, get hit in the face, pull a calf muscle, or (God forbid) have a heart attack. I’ve seen them all.

Q: Why do you do this?

CH: Because I LOVE this game, and I know I’ve been blessed with the means to run a tournament. My passion is for women’s racquetball, and to see those numbers grow through events such as these makes me so happy.

WC: I began working at Bellingham Athletic Club once I had children and didn’t want to work full time. I taught lessons and played racquetball when I wasn’t at home with the kids. I love to teach classes and develop programs for the courts. I consider part of my job running tournaments as the next step for players who participate in leagues and club events, and I am fortunate to work for a club that allows me to program the courts as much as I can.


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