[Remember California Creativity Regions have staggered tournament dates, but the Team Manager’s Corner is for everyone.  It’s likely your tournament is not in a week — re-read this when it is.]

One week left. Take a few minutes to reflect on what a long strange trip it’s been. The tears; the laughs; the frustrations and the breakthroughs. What an accomplishment to take a group of kids, maybe strangers, and watch them become a team. I hope you got to the point when they stopped looking to you for validation and started to seek it from their teammates. I hope you spent hours with nothing much to do but point out where someone left the duct tape, hunt up another pair of scissors or remind them to clean the brushes. I hope you learned that everyone is creative; including Team Managers. You have done something special for these kids. They can’t comprehend what you’ve done for them and their parents rarely understand the full extent of the sacrifices you’ve made. We on the Regional Board understand and take our hats off to you (no matter how silly). We may be the head of the program, but you are the heart.

Thank you.

My special tip for making sure it’s not my fault if something doesn’t get to the tournament: Set aside a chunk of the garage or living room (tape it off if you need to) and tell the team to put whatever is going in that space. Load the vehicles from that area. If it’s not in the space, it’s not my fault if it didn’t get to the tournament.

My pathfinder tip: Pick a parent (one that doesn’t get lost easily) to plunge into the campus and find the important spots while the team unloads and assembles.

My Super-Secret Instant Challenge tip: Chocolate, 20 minutes prior to IC time. Low blood sugar -> low brain activity

Remind supporters to make sure the batteries for their phones or other recording devices are well charged as you can’t count on outlets around the tournament site to be available. If feasible, stop by and thank your team’s Appraiser for their service. They gave their training days and all day on Tournament Day to the team. They probably are having a really good time, but still…

Take lots of pictures. My favorite picture opportunities include: team talking to the Check-in appraiser, team waiting in the launch area and team talking to the Appraisers after their performance.

Tend to your personal grooming. Parents seem to really like to take your picture when you’re sitting there waiting for the team to perform. Excess stomach acid , too little sleep and the sure and certain feeling that everything is doomed tend to make your driver’s license photo look like a shot from “America’s Next Top Model” in comparison.

Don’t forget the most important part of DI… Have Fun!

Where do we go from here? This is the last Tip of the Week for Regional Tournaments.  The next tips will be for teams advancing to State Finals.  They’ll appear even if your region has not yet had their tournament, since some regional tournaments will already be over.