"Ringers" won in 2015...private the past two years.
Since late January, it's been harder for some people to enter the United States; I know some of you must like that. Similarly, some fundraiser tournaments now have their own "no-fly" lists. I know some of you definitely don't like that. In the past few weeks, some teams have been refunded or denied entry for tournaments Boston Cornhole has hosted; one of them was even advertised as public (sorry Chad, that's on me). Perhaps you are not aware and probably do not care about the negative feedback I hear when a team who knows nobody at an event (except me) comes in and wins, but I do. Too often I hear "your ringers are just here for the money." And sometimes the prizes are modest, but the complaints are not.
Private or Public?
When hired to host a tournament, the first question I ask a client is "public or private" and I explain the advantages and disadvantages of each option. It's not always an easy decision, but the overwhelming trend is to keep most events private. Private means no outsiders. It does not mean that you can play if you live in the next town or that you can play because you are partnering with someone who does not play regularly. It means you can only play if the organizing group authorizes it. And to be clear, that decision is made by the organization; I do not make that decision. But, if a client does not recognize a name and asks me to review a registrants list, I will happily do that. If a client asks me to post to facebook that a tournament is private, I will happily do that too. Each and every time, my priorities and loyalties are with the group who is writing my checks. It is strictly business, not personal.
It's on EventBrite and Facebook so it must be public, right?
Nope! Organizers use social media and the Internet for its original intent to get the message out and connect with friends. Unfortunately, they are not aware of the unintended consequences of placing the deets in cyberspace. Many organizers cannot comprehend why people that they do not even know would want to join their event. Usually it's to chase cash, sometimes it's just to play. And since Mohegan-gate, the trend of finding private tournaments in the public sphere will definitely continue! I know our top Google connoisseurs usually check with the organizer prior to blindly registering for a secret or private tournament. Probably a good strategy!
Doesn't it seem weird for a fundraiser to turn away money?
Not at all! Yes, one goal of a fundraiser is to bring money in. However, from Whitman to Wayland, nobody wants to alienate a core group of supporters for a couple hundred dollars; it's just not worth it to them. I have seen players such as Tim Grew and Sarge spend plenty on raffle tickets at events. I would never question the generosity of some players. Unfortunately, these are the things that are rarely noticed. In contrast, I have received negative feedback on some players who I know are the most gentlest of gentlemen. The bottom line is that some groups simply will not welcome competitive players and it is completely their decision to make.
Is there really a problem?
In my opinion, demanding to play in a private tournament is no different than barging into somebody's backyard and that is absurd! But, if this is the latest cornhole molehill to be made into a mountain, then so be it. The beauty of the cornhole landscape today is that you can play every night of the week and there are multiple weekend offerings. If you do not like our rules of engagement, go play somewhere else. Boston Cornhole will continue to provide the best service we can and run tournaments based on the preferences of our clients.