Friday, March 2, 2012

Midwest Throwdown:: Year 5

It's hard to believe that this is the 5th year of what started out as a small event to build the South Region. Over the years, the tournament has grown tremendously. This year, we'll host 52 teams, a 400% increase in tournament size.

The planning team is one of the best I work with-- the organizers have a huge vision for their sport, understand the privilege (and responsibility) of being an elite college team, and pay attention to the small things (a detailed timeline of Thurs / Fri / Sat / Sun responsibilities is always included in our tournament planning).

I just finished "The Tipping Point" yesterday, a book whose subtitle is "How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference." While I definitely don't think we've started an epidemic, it is interesting how I can point back to one weekend that has been the lynchpin for this event.

South Regionals 2007

Two very important things happened that weekend.

1. Texas didn't qualify for Nationals for the first time in half a dozen years.
2. After we knocked Wash U out in Semis, I saw one of their captains sitting on the sideline of the Finals taking notes on the game and planning how to take it back to her team for the following year.

So how did those two things lead to the development of one of the biggest tournaments in college ultimate?

1. Not qualifying for Nationals was a humbling experience for Texas. The team recognized that in order to be relevant on the national scene, we needed to build the teams around us. We went to the other top teams in the region and established a collaborative relationship with them.
2. Abby's
display of crazy commitment and desire to improve stayed burned in my mind until I had the opportunity to meet her 6 months later at Harvest Moon. And so began a 4-year partnership with Wash U.

How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference.

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