This post is dedicated to my husband who recently acted as meet director for his 16th major meet and is already knee deep in planning the next one. This is also dedicated to my friends from other teams who have taken on this noble role. If you are not familiar with what a meet director does, this is the person who is basically in charge of an invitational or championship style swim meet. They play a major role in organizing the meet, on meet day they are in charge of making sure everything runs smoothly, and if any problems come up they are ultimately responsible for finding the answer to the dilemma. Volunteer wrangler, chief security officer, technology guru, coach’s therapist, customer service rep, you name it, the Meet Director can handle it. Think of them as the Swiss Army Knives of swim meets.
Despite all the glamour, the job is not without pitfalls. Below are 11 people that most meet directors secretly despise.
The Conspiracy Theorist
- This guy is convinced that the host team is out to get him/his team/ his swimmer because of some imagined rivalry between teams. In his mind the meet director sits on his director’s throne twirling his mustache maniacally laughing as his minions of officials, timers, and scorers act out devious plots to mess with unsuspecting swimmers. Of course in reality the meet director is actually just hanging out in the hospitality room hoping everyone one will just leave him alone.
The Technology Gnome
- Every meet has them, and they are every meet director’s sworn enemy. The invisible little gnomes that chew on wires, crash computers, break touch pads, and short circuit score boards…all equipment that tested out to be working perfectly just hours or even minutes before. These scamps are elusive little devils, staying in the shadows to perpetuate the myth that the meet director is an incompetent buffoon. Capturing one of these mischief-makers onfilm would rank up there with photographing the Loch Ness Monster, or Big Foot!The Hospitality Crasher
- These uninvited guests (swimmers or adults) eat the most and do the least to earn their treats. By that I mean the only work they do is plotting to get past security so that they can experience the Wonka like wonders of the fabled hospitality room. The swimmers sneaking in we understand, swimmers and food are like moths to a flame…but the adults?…seriously people get a job!
The Deck Invader
- No matter how many times you throw this parent off deck and point them to the spectator area, they will show back up again and again on your deck with a never ending list of excuses to explain why they are a special little snowflake to whom the rules do not apply. After about the 3rd or 4th time our mild mannered meet director starts to lose his patience. Perhaps he missed his calling as a bar bouncer?The cheapskate:
- This bargain hunting parent thinks that admissions and heat sheet prices are up for negotiation. “My kid is only swimming 2 events so I’m not paying full price”…. “The meet’s half over so I should get a discount”…”I only want to look at the heat sheet for a minute”. One more complaint and our poor meet director might suggest this bargain basement shopper look for the 2 for 1 coupons he thinks he saw at the bottom of the pool.
The Wandering Volunteer:
- For this swim meet worker the work is always optional. Giving him a coffee break will eventually require the torches and blood hounds be brought in so the Indiana Jones of meet directing can track down and drag this guy back to his post. Attention spans are not this person’s strong suit.
The Survivalist Camper:
- This is the guy who requires three trips to his car to bring all his stuff in, he spreads out in hallways with multiple chairs, blankets, food boxes, bags, pillows, etc…and always chooses the most obtrusive place possible. Then he’ll argue with the meet director that although he is in the walk way, that he will not move because there is no other place he can possibly sit, and he absolutely needs all 5 chairs and 3 blankets spread out everywhere. Which is right about the time the fire marshal enters stage right.
The Bleacher Bandit:
- The Bleacher Bandit is offended by the idea that he should have to pay to see his own swimmer swim. “That’s MY CHILD, why should I pay to see him?” No amount of reasoning or explanation will convince this bandit that the host team does not owe him a seat in the very expensive pool his child is competing in. Therefore, he will stop at nothing to evade security and save that $4 admission fee! And enter police officer stage left.
The Reluctant Worker:
- You all remember Dr. Imtoobusy…well when the team volunteer coordinator finally successfully drags the good ol’ doctor kicking and screaming to his required swim meet job he becomes the meet director’s problem. Not to be confused with the wandering volunteer, the reluctant worker will whine, complain, and try to make every excuse in the book as to why he shouldn’t have to do anything. It’s not unlike the last time you told your 8 year old to clean his room.The Disgruntled Coach
This coach has the eyes of a hawk, he can see that his swimmer undoubtedly swam 0.02 seconds faster than the scoreboard indicates, he visits the scorers table and complains to the meet director with great frequency. If only he’d use his awesome powers of superhuman observation for good and actually coach his swimmers, then maybe they’d swim fast enough that those phantom 0.02 secs wouldn’t matter so much.The Arguer:
This grumpy swim parent frequently mistakes their kids swim league with the NFL. He thinks the officials are out to get him, and will yell and scream anytime he thinks his kid has been wronged. No one is safe from his hoopin’ and hollerin’…meet officials, announcers, coaches, timers, the guy sitting next to him… you name it he’ll yell at them. Of course we all know who gets to deal with captain maturity? That’s right, drag that meet director out of the hospitality room…it’s time for him to earn his pizza and donuts.The Lawyer
- This guy is always looking for a technicality to try to get their swimmer a higher place than they earned. If the rules don’t fit his narrative, don’t worry he’ll make some up on the fly. Sorry buddy, you’re not Johnnie Chochran and your swimmer’s not OJ, go sit yourself down and tell ‘em to swim faster next time.
So, to the meet directors, administrators, and others who run meets and have to deal with this dastardly lot of misfits, I salute you!
Want to learn how to make sure to stay on the Meet Director’s good side and act reasonably at a big meet? Read How to Prepare for your First Invitational Swim Meet.