Wednesday, March 16, 2016

What Does Centex Mean To You? (Part VI)

Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IV, Part V

Most people who attend Women's College Centex have no idea of what happens behind the scenes.  We meticulously plan for six months and try to execute every last detail to run an awesome tournament for our friends.  We order bagels, scrounge for volunteers, borrow / rent / purchase equipment, recruit teams, immerse ourselves in format and seeding discussions, line fields, quadruple check our task list, and then cross our fingers that Mother Nature will cooperate.  Planning Centex is one of the most challenging things I've ever undertaken; part of it is the sheer number of moving pieces, but the more overwhelming part is the number of people I know are relying on us.

No one really takes notice when things run smoothly (and we're thrilled when this happens!), but sometimes, like last year, everything falls apart and you have to re-do six months worth of work in less than a week.  This story is from someone who stepped up in a big way to help us make last year's tournament happen.  From college headache to trusted organizer, Kyra shares what it was like to get thrown into the chaos headfirst.  When we saw the forecast for the week, Kyra offered to come with me to Austin.  We packed my car in North Carolina, drove for two days, and started picking up the pieces...

My first Centex ever was also my first time in Austin. Within the first 5 hours, we managed to get 2 rental cars towed (for $260 total) and pulled over by cops. I still have an outstanding parking ticket from the City of Austin 3 years later. The next day, I forgot my cleats at the fields. I told my teammate about this, and she made me feel guilty and gave me Michelle's number so I could text her about my cleats. I didn't know Michelle at the time, but, as a formerly dumb college player, I thought she had so little responsiblity that she must have randomly found my cleats at the fields in her free time. She responded to my text quickly and was very nice about it (classic) and extremely helpful (classic x2).  Looking back, I know that I am one of the reasons she coined the phrase "college headache."

The most recent time I went to Centex was last year. It will probably be the most memorable tournament I'll ever be part of in my entire life, even though I didn't play in it. I helped Michelle and Melee prepare for the impending mudtex, which included a field site change, several format revamps, a last minute Mass Gathering Permit, a lot of that famous Austin brisket, and a little bit of rain. I thought asking Michelle about my lost cleats 2 years earlier was a bad idea, but I got to see what other nonsense she deals with. Some examples are listed below:

  • Team dropped out because of the rain (so we had to rewrite the format)
  • Team questioned their seeding and tier placement on Saturday morning (despite the 2 weeks of seedings/format feedback prior to Centex)
  • Team requested a first round bye the night before (they were sleepy)
  • Team wanted to know when lights were going to be turned on in the morning (the sun)
  • Teams asking to switch to less muddy fields (hilariously impossible)

I must have proofread and edited the format a half dozen times, which is a pretty difficult undertaking for a 44-team tournament (and not to mention having to deal with score reporter). At one point, I had to put my creativity to use and make a fresh field for the finals that maximized the remaining grass. But there were a lot of good things, too. Every single player was caked head-to-toe in mud and, through it all, still ate BBQ and danced their butts off in the headlights of idling cars among the cheers of their opponents on Saturday night. Even though it was wild while it happened and sometimes seemed like a crazy dream, I'm glad I was there.

For those of you lucky enough to play at Centex this weekend, take it all in. And don't forget to thank your Organizer aka that lady with all the free stuff aka Michelle Ng for all the work she's putting in to making your Centex a magical, fun, and once in a lifetime experience.

Kyra Catabay
Current Team: North Carolina Phoenix
College Team Attended With: University of Florida FUEL
Years Attended: Player 2013-2014, Organizer 2015

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