Some of the Most Important People in Disc Golf
Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.
Recently, I was reflecting on all of the tournaments that I played in 2014. I won’t mention the total number in case my wife reads this. Let’s just say I was fortunate to be able to attend quite a few. Tournaments are an important part of my disc golf life. Beyond the competition, which I enjoy, is a wonderful social aspect. I met so many really great people throughout the year. It’s tough to beat the camaraderie, excitement, and atmosphere of a disc golf tournament.
While the size, cost, and weather may vary from one tournament to the next, they all have one thing in common: at some point, someone made a decision to organize and run the tournament, then put in a lot of work to make it a reality. I’m speaking of the wonderful Tournament Directors, or TD’s!
I really like the idea that people are so committed to this sport and their fellow disc golfers that they would dedicate their time and effort to run a tournament. I appreciate and respect that. More importantly, I want them to keep doing it! If you like to attend tournaments, I think you’ll agree that we should encourage our TD’s to keep up the great work. Here are a few things we can do for them:
- Preregister (if available). Preregistration is the ‘RSVP’ of disc golf. It lets the TD know how many people will attend and gives them time to prepare in advance. That helps them run things in a timely manner. It really benefits us, too, because when things will run smother, we get done sooner.
- Do your part by showing up on time, listening to the TD at the player’s meeting, and keeping a good pace as you play. These are more things that also benefit us as participants. Tournaments take up a big chunk of time, but we can help the TD and ourselves by getting there on time and not contributing to delays.
- DON’T COMPLAIN TO THE TD! We may have issues with how a tournament was run, but complaining is not the best approach, particularly on the day of the event. If we’re angry or dissatisfied with certain aspects of a tournament (players pack, payouts, cost, pin placement, etc.), taking a day or two to think about it or talking to our friends about it might help us realize our issues aren’t as big as we thought. Maybe what we were concerned about wasn’t even the TD’s fault. If we still think it’s something the TD should hear about, we should send them a respectful email discussing our concerns. Most TD’s I know would like to hear ideas for improving their tournaments. By offering calm, constructive suggestions, TD’s are more likely to listen. And, more likely to continue running tournaments.
- Thank the TD! At the very least, tell them “thank you” at the end of the tournament. It feels good, for us and them. At a few tournaments I’ve been to, some of the participants circulated a tournament disc for everyone to sign as a surprise ‘thank you’ gift for the TD. I like that simple way of showing them that we appreciate them and their efforts. They will remember the gesture and be more inclined to do it again.
Disc golf tournaments are a fun part of our sport. Let’s make sure they continue by making life a little better for the people willing to run them. I would love to hear your thoughts about TD’s, their hard work, and ways we can make their lives a little better.