By Steve Graf
We’ve all, at one time or another, had those jobs that nobody else wants. Those jobs, where no matter what decisions you make, everyone will not be happy. If you’ve ever run a bass tournament, you’ll find out quickly that there’s not a bigger bunch of whiners on the planet than bass fishermen. If you feed them hamburgers for good performance, they want to know why they didn’t get a ribeye. They really are the most selfish and spoiled outdoorsmen that exist. They like to be catered to and hailed for their skills and abilities to catch bass. Another way to say it…they’re brats!
Without Tournament Directors (TD’s), anglers would be the inmates running the asylum. TD’s are the guys that run bass tournaments for different organizations all across the country and have a tough job trying to satisfy bass fishermen. They don’t write the rules, they just enforce them, even when they know it will hurt an angler or a team. That’s not their intention to hurt anyone, but it’s a part of the job that goes with being a tournament director. Sometimes they have to be the bad guy whether it’s a one-pound penalty for a minor violation, or worst, a disqualification, which is rare. An example of a one-pound penalty would be weighing a dead fish. If there’s one thing that’s really emphasized in bass tournaments today, it is keeping your fish alive before weigh-in. An example of a disqualification would be not wearing a life jacket either during practice or on tournament day.
But without good TD’s, bass tournaments would be a mess. They constantly have to hear anglers complain about this and that including, but not limited to, accusations from other anglers like… they were fishing too close, they were fishing my spot, they ran through a no wake zone, they weren’t wearing their life jackets….and the list goes on and on! Bass fishermen love rules, as long as they don’t apply to them. No matter what the TD decides on a situation, someone will not be happy. But for a fishing circuit or tournament trail to be successful, it better have a good strong TD who’s not afraid to hurt someone’s feelings. Nothing will ruin a tournament trail quicker than a weak director who does not enforce the rules, or even worse, changes or alters the rules the morning of a tournament. This will make anglers load their boats and leave….. never to return. Every tournament trail that’s ever failed, was usually because rules were not enforced with consistency. If things aren’t run the right way, anglers will abandon ship quicker than setting the hook on a big bass.
So today, I salute all the guys who have taken on that role of TD and had to be the bad guy every once in a while. They spend countless hours on the road and away from their families just like anglers do. In some cases, they literally go from one event to the next, loading and unloading, breaking down and setting up. They make sure the polygraph exams are done correctly. They coordinate all take-offs the morning of the tournament and they make sure all anglers are off the water safe and on time. Then they have to run the weigh-in and pass out checks, before packing up and heading to the next event. So, the next time you’re in a bass tournament or following a bass trail, tell the tournament director “thank you” for doing a great job. Till next time, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget to set the hook!
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