Fifth Dawn in England – Head Judge Report

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Site: Colchester, England. (Southern England)
71 players, but no venue !

The Colchester Fifth Dawn pre-release Tournament was one of the most exciting events I have ever run, but not for the usual reasons. I turned up at 8.10 at the Caretakers house, very early for me, so that for once I could get everything ready, and the registration could be done without having to set up at the same time. Tradition says this is not possible, and fate helped keep our tradition, the look of horror on the caretakers face said it all. Again we had been double booked, diaries were checked, rechecked, words were spoken, polite words of course, and I turned, tail between my legs and walked back to the car.

Now I was expecting between 60 and 80 players, it was now 8.30 and we had no venue. I looked skyward, and then fixing my eyes on the road ahead I began to drive, Paul, my fellow judge in the car, finally spoke
"Problem?",
He had noticed, I did not have the important keys,
"Maybe" I replied.
"No venue huh",
"Maybe",
"Going home then I suppose"
"NO! It's a pre-release, I will not disappoint!"
"So..."
"..."
"..."
You could hear the clock ticking, my brain hurt, and it wasn't that 5th pint of Lager from last night. I drove to my last best hope, the old Sea Scouts hut, the venue for the local games club, maybe they can help.
Ahh! My brain hurt a little less,
We turned the corner, and there it was, a venue no longer. The housing developers had been there. A pile of rubble burnt its image on my retina, where were those paracetamol ?
I turned and looked at Paul
"Home then"
"No"

There it was, to my right, just behind Paul's ear, The Colchester Arena, a venue I had looked at, so many years ago.
Nothing ventured...
8.50 We entered
9.00 We had a room
9.10 We had signs and maps on the old venue
9.15 We had another Judge, Martyn Chandler, he had been waiting at the old venue, so he walked the route to the new venue to give us an idea of the time it would take.
9.20 We had tables
9.25 Martyn arrived, 10 minute walk, not too bad.
9.30 We had chairs
9.45 We had a trader, House Atredies
10.00 We opened registration
10.30 I drove back to the old venue and did a couple of emergency runs to get the late players to the new venue.
11.00 We had 71 players in 2 Pre-release tournaments
We started 30 minutes later than planned.
The pain between my ears finally began to fade.

So remember when everything looks impossible and everything is against you, you are the judge, you are the organiser, don’t think of a problem think of a solution. Thanks go to Paul Spurgeon, Martyn Chandler and Jason Taylor for their judging skills, Paul for his patience and words of wisdom, and The Colchester Arena for saving the day. Also A big thank you goes to all the players for their help and patience on a day that could have gone so differently.

Cheers

Colin Smith, Web: www.theplaceforgames.com

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