Just Keep Ya Head In The Game

My week kind of went sideways, so rather than doing any actual dancing this week, I ended up spending way more time than I had planned on doing dance-adjacent activities.

There is this competition that I have volunteered to help out with in the past, and over the last few years the help that the organizers of that competition have been asking me for has been increasing each year. At the same time, the competition has been getting bigger each year as well, so as I have been asked to look at new things to help them with, all of those things have required more work because the scope they cover increases as the size of the competition increases. If things keep going at this rate, next year I may need to ask someone to volunteer to help me out as I help out with this competition!

I was planning on going to normal classes and whatnot this week, but over the weekend I got a call from one of the competition organizers to tell me that there may be an issue with the planned venue for the competition, so they were asking around if there were any studios in the surrounding area that they might be able to use as a contingency plan to run the competition if they couldn’t work out the problems with the original venue. They called me to ask about one studio in particular that they know that I’ve spent a lot of time inside over the years – the Electric Dance Hall.

There would be some issues that I thought of that would come up if they used the Electric Dance Hall for a competition, which I told them about, but they told me they were looking at it only as a contingency plan, so those issues would only be a problem if things with the original venue fell through. For one thing, the Electric Dance Hall was built with just one big floor, and no extra rooms with a dance floor in them. That means that there would be no warm-up floor that competitors could use before going on to dance their rounds. For another, seating is an issue if they expect spectators to come watch. The dance floor is big, but because the studio is one big room, any seating for spectators would end up on the edge of the floor, thus reducing the size of the dance space.

Those were the two big issues off the top of my head that were thrown out so that the organizers knew what they would be getting int. But, no one seemed concerned. Then they told me they wanted to know if I could schedule a time with Lord Junior so that they could go there and look over the place, and ask him about hosting the competition there if they approved of the facility. I’m not entirely sure why they didn’t just call him and ask themselves – supposedly they had his number – but after a bunch of text messages and several phone calls with both parties I managed to help them figure out a time that would work for everyone involved.

I thought that would be the end of it for a while, since the competition isn’t actually until mid-March… but I was totally wrong about that too. On Monday morning, while I was at work, I got some panicked messages from one of the organizers asking me about the program we have used in the past for registration, because it didn’t seem to be working. I tried to calm them down by telling them that the date for opening registration hadn’t actually come yet… so it wasn’t working because it wasn’t actually turned on for people to connect to so they could register. That wasn’t the right answer that they wanted to hear. Apparently someone was already trying to register for the competition, so they wanted it to be open and available immediately.

All this was going on while I was at work on a Monday morning, which was a bit frustrating. I tried to limit this mess that wasn’t part of my job to texts and email so that I could focus on getting things I actually needed to do for work done, but the torrent of messages coming in was too much and people were getting confused. I ended up having to make a long phone call to explain everything, and give them a list of what information I needed in order to get registration open that night, and then explain to them yet one more time that I couldn’t just spend a bunch of time working on this while I was at work, so yes they would have to wait until later that evening when I was at home so that I could fix registration for them.

That night I ended up skipping Latin Technique class to try and get registration worked out. The way that the events were set up from last year wasn’t going to work for this year, so I had to go in and start editing the event offerings in the database to fix it. Once I started looking things over and realized how much work it was going to be to correct all the issues with the setup from last year to make it match the desired setup for this year, I realized that I couldn’t get it all done in a timely manner, so I just fixed all the events for Amateur couples (which is what the people were trying to register early for), and left the other events to finish up over the rest of this week.

Changing all the events around is not difficult, just tedious. The organizers have worked super hard to get the competition certified for events in tons of different categories, but what they don’t realize is that for all those categories that they want to offer, someone has to go and create the events in the registration database for the competition so that people can sign up to dance them. It’s one thing if you want to run an Amateur-Only competition with events in Smooth, Standard, Rhythm and Latin, but then if you want to add in events for things like Solo Proficiency, Mixed Proficiency, Pro/Am, other “fun” dances like Argentine Tango…

To give you an idea – just the normal Amateur competition Smooth, Standard, Rhythm and Latin events for all age groups they cater to – from the under-21 categories through all the different senior age ranges – is over 360 different events. That’s the minimum setup needed before the organizers started adding on all these other event categories… so there are a lot of events that need to be put in.

And all that tedious work? None of the organizers feel comfortable going into the registration system to put that stuff in, so it’s left for me to do. I had to make a spreadsheet to keep track of everything that was asked for so that I could check the various events off as I put them in. It’s A. Lot. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to have everything put in and sorted into the right days on the schedule until some time this weekend. Luckily, based on what events I know had people signed up in them last year, I don’t think many people will be looking for the events I haven’t finished yet, so I should be good if I can get it done by the weekend.
Unless, of course, more random people want to sign up before registration was even supposed to be open…

Sigh… so that’s what I have been working on this week. It’s not really much in the way of dancing, but like I said, it’s dance-related so it’s worth making a note about. A really boring note. Hopefully next week will be more fun in the world of dance once I get this stuff all sorted out. Wish me luck! I need it.

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