My opinion is that the (super) state representatives should not participate in their state finals.
While the prize money is an exciting new benefit to qualifying, it is also now going to be a legitimate “issue” that has to be dealt with in a professional manner. There are many decisions being made leading up to the tournament that affect the outcomes. I’ll just comment on the ones I feel have the most impact.
Venue Choice: TD has the ability to pick the location that may play to his/her strengths. Games in the location that may favor their play style or oppose a specific person’s play style, an environment that they’re more comfortable in that others might not be,
Game Choice: TD has the ability to remove any games they dislike. Maybe bring in outside games that favor their playstyle.
Game Setup: TD has the ability to set the games up in a way that is advantageous to their playstyle or disadvantageous to someone else’s playstyle.
TD Ruling: I think we are overlooking a few things when we say “It is ok for a TD to participate in a tournament as long as someone else is there to make a ruling if the TD is one of the involved players.” A tournament director who is also participating, whether they admit it or not, will have certain biases that might affect their decision making processes during a tournament. If they know a player might be a potential threat to them in a later round, will they be fair in a ruling involving that other player’s game? Will they take the time to make sure they are making the right decision while they are distracted by their own game?
There are plenty more examples that can be brought up. All of these issues in a perfect world don’t exist. I know some highly respectable people who would not take advantage of any of these possible scenerios for their own gain. My point is to take these issues out of the equation altogether and find a TD who actively chooses to not participate. I know that in states that are not as active, these people are not easy to come by, especially when finding enough players to fill the bracket is difficult. However, a state that has gained the status of being a superstate has been done so by building their scene to a point where one is likely to find a motivated and knowledgeable person who is either not competitive enough to qualify, or is a highly competitive player who chooses to run the state finals and not participate.
While I have no interest in lobbying to make this an official ifpa rule, I still feel strongly about this and would like to encourage any state reps to actively decide to not participate, or seek out another trustworthy and knowledgeable state rep who will not participate in the state finals. I think it sends a good message to their community about transparency, fair play, and professionalism.
I think it’s possible for these issues to arise in ANY tournament where the TD is also a player. Being from a state with a smaller scene. there are very few players experienced enough to run a state championship. As you pointed out though, super states might be different.
Often, the only people willing to step up and run a tourney are also avid players and competitors. That seems to be the case in my area and in the surrounding areas I’ve traveled to. In the case of large circuit events, most TD’s don’t participate, but if they did I don’t think I would have an issue with it.
If you don’t like playing in events that directors are also participating in, I would suggest not going to those events.
As far as I’m concerned, any director spending tons of their time and/or money running something for the rest of us to enjoy, should absolutely be able to play in the event no questions asked. And this especially goes for larger events, where the level of effort is exponentially greater than “casual tournaments.” Tell everyone that commits weeks of their life, vacation time and tons of their personal income, to INDISC that they can’t participate because they have some sort of hypothetical advantage, and the tournament ceases to exist. Who wants that?
I think the key here is that Pinball is not a professional sport. No one does this for money but because it is their hobby. For many, it is a 2-3 people organization of love, the thought of not participating would pretty much drain all motivation.
You’re right it’s not, and it might not ever be. But…
“The objective of the International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA) is to elevate the awareness and visibility of pinball across the globe and generate media coverage and corporate backing to bring the sport of competitive pinball back into the spotlight.”
I’m speaking specifically of IFPA States. If the goal of the ifpa is to move in this direction, which translates to me as someday being professional, then I think this is the way to go. If IFPA forbids the state rep from participating (in a super state) I do still think these states will find someone willing to do it and do it well. Like I hinted at in the initial post; though I feel strongly about this for the positive message it sends to the local community, I personally won’t put up a fight to try and get this “passed into law.”
And now we’re injecting thousands of dollars into the SCS. As I sad for smaller casual tournaments I have no problem, but larger pinball is trying its best to be more of a professional sport.
If they don’t like not playing in tournaments they’re TDing then I would suggest they don’t host important big $$$ tournaments
Spare me the ‘if you don’t like it don’t participate’ crap. We’re trying to run+promote a national championship here, not a weekly bar league or something. And even then, you don’t just ignore people’s complaints out of hand. Sure I could (and do) skip random events throughout the year because of stuff like that, but it’s a state championship, it’s about as official/professional as pinball can get. There’s no way you can’t find a single person in the state not in the top 16 who’s willing to spend a saturday making the occasional ruling
There’s another thing that seemed weird to me. We don’t have official ‘elections’, or whatever, to choose state reps? (maybe other states do…) What if people don’t like their rep? They just go and complain to Josh? None of this is ‘bad’ per se as long as you assume good intentions but if we’re trying to be professional and project a good image there needs to be better systems in place for all this stuff
Hear, hear. It pains me when I play in a tournament and the TD voluntarily opts out of playing because of fear they won’t be able to act impartially. I trust that my local scene has enough integrity that this is never an issue. Plus, it can be mitigated somewhat by deputizing enough assistant TD’s so that any TD is never directly involved in a ruling.
I wonder if it would be feasible to establish guidelines for a ‘TD Order of Succession’ – something to the effect of “tournaments should designate ($group_size+1) individuals to act as TD at the onset of the tournament”
I’m struggling to think of many tournaments that would be unable to come up with a 2-3 ‘deputy’ TDs for each meeting.
If you don’t feel the State Rep is “representing” the players appropriately bring it to my attention. I don’t hesitate to get involved when needed, and have on multiple occasions over the years.
I’m playing in IL SCS every year and running it, while also playing in the IFPA WC every year and running it. All this fear of not being taken seriously by the outside is a big DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT. Again this year we had over a dozen media pieces hit. TD’s organizing their State Championships, TD’s even winning their State Championship. The amount of awkwardness brought up by the local media in any of these circumstances was once again zero.
I agree that the role of the state rep is becoming more significant, but I disagree with your conclusion. In most cases, the current state rep is the person with the most experience in the tournament scene, and that experience don’t come easy. Unless you are advocating for paid, trained referees, then I think the player/director is here to stay for the forseeable future.
What I do think needs to happen is that state reps need to really amp up the transparency and communication with their player base. For instance, this year around September I sent out a group email to the current top 25 discussing options for where we should hold the event. I had an idea, but after discussion with the group I went another direction because I realized it was the wrong choice. As we led up to the event I was extremely communicative with my players about what games were going to be used and why, what games wouldn’t be used and why, what our backups were, how they would be chosen should the need arise, what the settings would be for each game (I even made a spreadsheet with exactly what settings would be changed on each game.) I gathered opinions from people I trusted about choices and bounced ideas off them. I would be willing to guess that at some point my players were like … enough already with the emails!
If you want to reduce the appearance of impropriety, just go completely overboard on the transparency and communication. Leave absolutely no doubt about what is going on.