Playing a tournament can be exhausting. Running a tournament can be just as exhausting. Playing a tournament that you’re running at the same time…extremely exhausting. I can’t seem to learn that lesson.
Yesterday was one of those dual role days, and unlike my last tournament, I was full on into both roles not just on tournament day, but in the week or so leading up to the event. All the work paid off, at least on one side of the ledger.
I probably should have seen it coming when pre-registrations for the Thorndike Memorial exceeded the field we saw at last year’s tournament. 21 total players last year, 26 players signed up in advance this year. But even with that hint of what was to come, I was overwhelmed to have another 33 walk-up registrants in the morning for a total of 59 players.
Now that may not seem like a lot, but historically the Thorndike is a small tournament, having never exceeded 34 players in any of its previous12 years. And with small tournaments, it’s not too difficult to handle running the tournament and playing in it at the same time. I’ve done it a bunch, even winning the Thorndike six times while simultaneously being the TD.
The warning signs were there. I have repeatedly told myself that if any tournament I’m running exceeds 50 players, I should drop out and concentrate on being the TD. I didn’t follow my own advice, but only to my own detriment as a player.
I didn’t really play horribly, just not up to my own standards. I finished just a throw out of the money at the end of the day, so apparently my standards are getting high. But from the first throw of the day, my head wasn’t in the game the way it felt it needed to be.
I missed a birdie putt on the first hole of the first round (yay for not bother to throw one warm up toss), and then didn’t find another par until the 11th hole of the round. I traded off birdies (5) and bogeys (4) until I finally settled down on the back nine. Two birdies on the last four holes allowed me to finish with a reasonable score of 52 and four throws behind the leader.
Second round started off worse than the first. Par on the first hole, then an OB drive and a bogey putt cutting through the chains to spit out the backside on the second hole. Then I picked up with the birdie-bogey pattern again on the same stretch of holes as the first round. Except when I got to the part of the course where I settled down in round 1, I picked up back to back bogeys to dig the hole deeper.
I managed to stop the bleeding as quickly as it started with a birdie on hole 14, then pars through 18 and a birdie to finish the round on hole 1. Final score of 56 and a 108 total score. As far as I’m concerned, it is borderline miraculous that I didn’t fall down the standings at all. I began the round in 7th and finished in a tie for 7th.
Enough about my misery (which was short-lived and self-contained). The real story of the day is that the tournament itself was a HUGE success. In addition to shattering all previous attendance records, we raised $830 for the tournament’s designated charity, the Maine Childrens Cancer Program. 50% of the ace pot and a bunch of raffles supplemented the donations included in everyone’s entry fees. Everyone went home with something…players packs, CTP prizes, raffle prizes, door prizes, cash for the pros. A great day all around.
So it might be the last time I play the Thorndike, as if it continues to attract this kind of attendance next year I will most certainly bow out of playing. On the plus side, doing that means I can make it an even better event and experience for the players than I can if I’m “distracted” with the nuisance of playing. That would be worthwhile.
Next event, and the next to last tournament of my year, is the biggest road trip on my schedule. The annual trip to the IDGC and the Director’s Cup is just a week away. Judging from the registration list, it should be the biggest one yet. I can’t wait.