Ever get a case of the pre-event jitters?Published 9:46am Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Column: Pothole Prairie
Have you ever organized an event? Then you probably have had a case of pre-event jitters.
It’s the feeling you get when you wonder whether people will show up. You consider all the means you have publicized the event and wonder if you need to do more to spread the word. You look at the daily and hourly forecasts. You study the radar and even look at the key that explains what the colors mean. You go over and over in your mind all the things you need to have done. Check. Check. Check. Oh yeah, need to do that. Do it now. OK, check. You intend to go to bed a bit early the night before but end up going to bed a bit late.
I organized two events the past two weekends. My heart was in both. One didn’t work out. One did.
The first was on May 14, that Saturday when it rained all day. For the first event for the Walking Moai’s Sample Saturday Series, I was to give a clinic on how to play disc golf. I waited in the parking lot at Bancroft Bay Park an hour early, hoping the rain would stop. Walking Moai co-director Loyal Leas showed up, and we called it off. Bummer.
The second was the Bancroft Bay Open on Sunday. I knew that disc golfers play no matter the weather, but I also knew that good weather produces more players. Rain fell before the start, which surely scared some people to stay home, but enough came out to give us 40 players. That’s a nice turnout.
More rain fell around 12:30 p.m., but it happened to be our lunch break. So despite the intimidating weather, no rain fell during play. However, we did battle some strong winds, which only makes hurling plastic saucers more interesting.
There is always a feeling of success after an event is finished, and all of the things I were worried about at the onset seem to not matter so much afterward.
Publicity helped turnout, but what also helped was that the Bancroft Bay Open had joined the North Iowa Tour this year. All the tour’s tournaments are run the same, and these tournaments are run very well in a manner popular with players from an array of skill levels and fair to each host city. That equality creates a following. The North Iowa Tour is a good product.
Let’s get to my point. I have worked in newspapers for 16 years and have been an editor for 10. I cannot tell you how many times event organizers have decided to hold me accountable for their event’s turnout. Most of the time it was from organizers to which the newspaper had given plenty of ink, such as a preview story and a calendar listing, maybe even a mention in the Weekend Planner, too, but they would feel these measures weren’t enough.
Often, I explained they were merely having a case of the pre-event jitters, and I have been there. We all have been there.
Sometimes, that’s good enough for them. Sometimes, they demand more. I explain what we have given them, and, if the situation calls for it, I even remind them that the publicity we gave them was free of charge, just part of the community service we perform daily. If pressed, I say there is a limit to what we can give away because other groups in the community want our focus, too.
Publicity is valuable, by the way. It is very valuable. Ask any paying advertiser. But event organizers and business managers also know they have to deliver a good product to keep people coming back for more.
So if you get the pre-event jitters, remember to relax. At some point, life works itself out.
By the way, isn’t that events calendar on Page 3 just the best? We have had a lot of positive feedback from readers on how convenient it is. I encourage all event organizers in town to make sure they are on that calendar. Just call us here at the Tribune. Community Editor Danielle Boss runs the calendar. Her number is 379-3436.
Tribune Managing Editor Tim Engstrom’s column appears every other Tuesday.