I volunteered to work the Cornhusker State Games Karate tournament yesterday, and it kind of felt like they couldn’t have done it without me, because not only were we short on help, but apparently I was one of the few people there who actually understands how double elimination brackets work! That’s because I’ve spent a few years apprenticing under our bracketing guru, Patty, and her assistant, Amy. Patty can be seen at pretty much all of the tournaments that SRSK runs, and she’s been doing it since long before I started training.
The job of bracketing is often a thankless one, and I’ve heard that some wrestling tournaments even put the bracketing table in a separate room, to prevent people from bothering them! I think Patty sometimes hears a lot more complaints than compliments, because if things are going well, no one notices. Last year at the Jiu-Jitsu State Games, I helped Patty and Amy figure out the brackets, and then Joe and Skyler copied them (by hand), so that we could post them on the wall. That significantly cut down on the number of people coming up to the table with questions, and we were better able to do our job.
Most people seem to understand single elimination fairly easily, but double elimination is more complicated, especially if there are large brackets, or byes involved. Our Karate tournaments used to be single elimination, but we had too many people complain that they only had one match, so now they get at least two. Of course, it makes for a longer day, since there are twice as many fights, but everyone seems to agree that it’s worth it.
Patty, and other volunteers like her (especially our directors) devote much of their time before, during, and after the tournaments to make them happen. They don’t receive any kind of compensation, and I wish more people would show appreciation for all that they do. Unless you’ve done it yourself, you don’t understand how hard their jobs really are!
“We’re the bracketeers, you can be one, too! ‘Cause figuring out brackets is the thing to do!”