The Dish was in Austin, TX this past weekend for the 2014 Texas Shootout to witness one of the most baffling displays of bracketing we’ve ever seen.
The final pool play games ended at around 1:00 pm central time on Saturday, May 3rd and with a tentative 3:00 pm start time for some tournament games teams, managers and supporters were anxiously awaiting the release of bracketing information that would set the stage for everyone at the fields for the remainder of the day/evening.
This is where the waiting started, stopped, started again, stopped and started again and then finally ended. A few hours went by after pool play and still nobody knew when and where they were playing in the double elimination tournament. At first teams were annoyed, then laughing it off and then just plain angry with many managers swearing that this was their last trip to Austin and after all the shenanigans it seemed that the Texas Shootout tournament committee was trying a little too hard to live up to Austin’s popular motto “Keep Austin Weird”.
So, what does this mean for the future of the Texas Shootout Tournament? Absolutely nothing. Mistakes are made and no tournament is perfect. Stuff like this happens from time to time when you run a major regional tournament, which is what the Shootout has become. Regardless of this bracketing snafu the DD predicts that the Austin based tournament will thrive for many years to come. For one thing, the weather is absolutely beautiful for early May, which is just one reason why it is such a draw for teams from around the country as the tournament boasted teams from 6 states and pick up players from many more. The tournament tried something new with a Home Run Derby and registration party at the complex on Friday night which was met with mixed reviews, but the DD gives the tournament committee kudos for trying something new.
On a serious note, the DD actually thought that the brackets themselves were great. It was just the issue of getting teams in the correct seeding order to begin the tournament that was the problem. The Texas Shootout had two huge banners commissioned with the brackets printed on them so that it was in large print making it easier for everyone to see where they were headed and who they would be facing.
Wrapping up our follow up coverage on the Texas Shootout, the DD would like to give a special shout out to Texas Shootout Tournament Director Brad Nicholl who posted a heartfelt and genuine apology on behalf of himself and the entire tournament committee about the glitches with the bracketing. The tournament brass could have swept this issue under the rug and hoped that it would just go away, but instead they addressed it, owned that mistakes were made and invited everyone to come back next year to take part in the tournament again. It was a classy gesture and the right thing to do and it deserves to be recognized accordingly. Here’s to Brad and the tourney staff for an outstanding job well done this past weekend overall.
Here is the apology that was posted on the Texas Shootout’s official Facebook page:
To all teams, players and attendees of the 2014 Texas Shootout Open Division Tournament, thank you for your participation. The Texas Shootout has taken pride in our tournament’s reputation over the years. Unfortunately, we had some issues this past Saturday that are a stark contrast to what everyone has come to expect. I acknowledge all of the arrangements that every team made to be here this past weekend, and apologize that the tournament was not 100%.
Simply put, things went wrong with the seeding and brackets for C and D-Competitive Divisions on Saturday. In hindsight, we rushed to get them out and that is where the problems ensued. The true failure in all of this was the lack of communication to the teams. We all know from other tournaments, communication is key, and I did not communicate effectively at all. I take full responsibility for this and have and will deal with this now and moving forward.
In the coming weeks and months, I can assure you that the Texas Shootout Committee and Softball Austin will take the events of this past weekend and learn from them. We will document what happened, what was done and what was not. We will review that and we will make sure that all steps and precautions are taken to ensure that they are never repeated.
Huge kudos to everyone who volunteered hours this weekend. Their tireless long hours from planning to execution of this event were why we were able to host the tournament at all. Also, thank you to our Softball Austin board members, current and past who stepped up and help address the bracket issues and complaints at the fields.
Again, I apologize for the events on Saturday and the inconveniences that it brought on all players, coaches, managers, friends and family. Thank you to all the teams who came to Austin as well as our own local teams. We look forward to making the necessary changes to earn back your trust and our reputation.
Simply put to Brad and the tournament committee…….you don’t have to earn back trust because your acknowledgement of the mistakes that were made along with realizing certain items need work for subsequent tournaments has already earned back trust across the country.