View RSS Feed

Meet Director's Path to Tranquility

I'm Late, I'm Late for a Very Important Date

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.
"Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow."
-Mark Twain

The meet deadline is about seven weeks away, and so far there are two entries. From past experience, one half of all entries will show up in the week before the meet. Since we make the best attempt to treat our swimmers to their benefit, we select a deadline as close to the meet as possible. Our deadline is determined by the deadline for tee shirt orders, which is Monday before our meet.

If we did not have tee shirts, I would set the deadline for two days before the meet. It takes one minute to push the computer button to seed the meet, and half a day to copy the meet program at Office Depot. I never understood why local meets have a deadline two weeks before the meet.

We send our tee shirt order in Monday before the meet. The shirts are ordered and delivered to the printers on Tuesday. The shirts are printed on Wednesday, and ready for pickup on Wednesday or Thursday. That leaves a day or two for unforeseen problems:
  1. Washington has seen some snow at that time of year. Everything shuts down here and people freak out at the thought of snow (from someone who grew up in upstate New York) And, there is a possibility that we could get a real storm.
  2. The printer could make a big goof and need additional time to make the shirts right.

One year I sent in my entry to the local Albatross Open. I got a call from the meet director that went something like this:
MD: We received your meet entry today, but the entry deadline was yesterday.
ME: Sorry; it was mailed a day or two ago. Is it a problem?
MD: Yes, it was a day late. You need to deck enter and pay an extra fee at the meet.
ME: Did you do the seeding yet?
MD: No.
ME: So what is the problem? Why can't you enter me in the meet?
MD: Because your entry was received past the deadline.
ME: But if you haven't done anything yet with the entries, why is it a problem entering me in the meet?
MD: It isn't, but you are a day past the deadline, so I can't.

I did not attend the meet that year or the next. The MD returned my check. It was obvious that conforming to rules was more important than getting swimmers into the meet.

I vowed not to repeat this attitude in our meet. Of course there are a few entires that trickle in after the deadline. I just enter them, and hope that if there is a tee shirt order in a late entry, we have an extra shirt ordered. Sometimes, a few people will contact me to ask if it is too late to enter. I tell them no, but don't order a tee shirt and I get an entry received WITH payment before Friday when I do the seeding.

One year, I got a call from someone's mother pleading to let her son into the meet late. (CUBU swimmer, 18 y.o.) Sometimes I get overnight entries sent by Express Mail. Sometimes Santa (or the meet fairy) drops entries into my home mail box overnight (entries go to our team post office box.) I have also had entries personally delivered to my office during the day. In all, about five entires out of 150 arrive late. I can handle that.

I enter swimmers into the meet database the day their entries arrive. There is too much to do days before the meet without becoming a hermit monk frantically holding and then copying all entries into the database at once. We also need to keep a daily tab on the number of entires in our 500-free, since we limit the entires and update the count daily on our web site meet page.

Be real. Lose the attitude - it's easy to find one as the deadline approaches.

Submit "I'm Late, I'm Late for a Very Important Date" to Digg Submit "I'm Late, I'm Late for a Very Important Date" to Submit "I'm Late, I'm Late for a Very Important Date" to StumbleUpon Submit "I'm Late, I'm Late for a Very Important Date" to Google

Updated December 6th, 2009 at 11:40 PM by Rnovitske



  1. The Fortress's Avatar
    I think it's nice that you're willing to be flexible. The goal is to get people swimming!
  2. tjrpatt's Avatar
    More people at the meet means more costs covered. Nice story.
  3. jroddin's Avatar
    First I will guess it was a long time ago you had the issue at the Albatross. Ever since I've been doing entries we've bent over backwards to accommodate swimmers. The only exception I can think of is we don't add people if it means adding a heat but we at least offer them to pick a different event that may not be full. Like you, as long as I haven't seeded the meet it's usually not a problem.

    Even saying all that and admitting I let in people after the deadline: you really can't put fault on the meet director for not taking your entry if you in fact missed the deadline (the meet director didn't miss the deadline - you did). Try getting into Nationals after the deadline. In Austin there were two swimmers who tried to get into the meet the day after entries closed: Ed Moses and Eddie Reese. They were both rejected by the host. Not because their names were Ed, either! A deadline should be respected, even if you personally disagree with their reasons.
  4. Rnovitske's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jroddin
    First I will guess it was a long time ago you had the issue at the Albatross. Ever since I've been doing entries we've bent over backwards to accommodate swimmers.
    Yes, it was somewhere around 1998-2002 time period, and you were not the meet director.