Are secret tournaments a problem in MA?
I recently had a potential client ask me for suggestions on attracting people to a tournament. My response was to anonymously post it online and then don't mention it again, never! Obviously, the client was a bit befuddled, but if you've been in the cornhole game long enough, then you realize that this may be a legit strategy. Introducing the secret tournament, an under the radar event, usually with a cash prize, that may not necessarily be known to the cornhole community. And the higher the stakes, the more likely a secret tournament monger will keep things under wraps. Is it anyone's responsibility to help others find tournaments? No, but in my opinion, the collateral damage caused by excessive sneakiness, undermines the growth of the game and causes dissention among the ranks. Let's not pretend that playing in secret tournaments is a cardinal sin, but here are some reasons why you may want to think twice...
1. Winning isn't everything....except when there's $200+ on the line! Growing up, we are taught that winning isn't everything, preach that to our children, and then throw it all out the window if there's a chance to make a quick buck by tossing bags. The secret tournament is all about limiting competition and winning. Secret tournaments may make you feel like a winner, but play in enough of them and others may think you're really a loser!
2. Drama and more drama...the one thing that every bag tosser can probably agree on is that there is too much drama in cornhole. Nothing screams cornhole treason more than seeing your "buddies" championship pose stream across your news feed. But, there's an easy fix to this...if it starts out a secret, keep it a secret! Boasting on facebook won't double the prize money!
3. Research shows that the prevalence of secret tournaments and the number of shitty 80s hair bands touring New England are directly related. We need to keep tournament money out of the hands of the people who like this music! If you find a tournament, share it!
4. Competition is needed to improve....ironically, the biggest perpetrators of secret tournaments seem to be the best players. Those that can handle the competition, often prefer not to have it. How can we improve if the best don't want to play the best? I'll be the first to say "I told you so" when the Southerners come to Fenway next May with their awful grammar and eat our lunch again!
5. Charities...are for charity, not a cornholer's part-time job (well, it's my part-time job), but you get the point. The majority of the weekend tournaments are fundraisers. It's great that you are willing to spend a day playing for charity, but it would be better if you brought 20 of your cornhole friends with you to support the cause. I have yet to see life-changing money be awarded at a charity event, but the work some charities do may very well be life-changing. Think about it...