Debrief on the July 20th, 2021 track meet

Good day, @track-volunteers! Let’s go over the meet while things are still fresh in our memories.

Overall, we did great, but wow, was there some rust-busting going on as we tried to remember how everything works. After 17 months off, and 25 months since our last outdoor meet, that’s to be expected. It will be easier in August. It was also a huge help that the meet was small.

  • Becca helped us find the benches that are often on the infield (the hurdles had disappeared entirely) which was important, since it gave people a hint about where to sit on the infield. Without the hurdles we put out some 2-inch cones that Becca had three feet from lane 1 on the infield to encourage people to stay off the edge of the track (which makes it hard to see lane 1 for timing. It was surprisingly successful, perhaps because there were so few people at the meet, but we might try it again next time too.

  • Eliminating day-of-meet registrations made the lead-up to the meet much less frenetic than usual, and we were able to help the few people who had trouble with DirectAthletics with no problems. A few day-of-meet people aren’t a problem; a lot of them are.

  • There’s something going on with DirectAthletics, and @rebecca-lovenheim is going to send their tech support email about it, since several people saw weird screen-blanking behavior when they tried to register.

  • Bob accidentally got tangled up in the Time Machine cable that controls the big clock and ripped it out of the clock connector. Carl is going to fix it for next month—he’s already resoldered that connector once before for us. The lesson is that we should position the Time Machine table such that there’s no way to walk between it and the big clock.

  • Bringing the times in from the Time Machine to Meet Manager failed on the first try. The fix was to unplug the USB adapter that connects the Time Machine to the Mac and replug it. That caused Parallels to see the adapter and attach it to the Windows virtual machine. We should remember this, since it’s hard or impossible to test this before we have real results.

  • At one point, Bob and I got confused about whether a cross-country finish event had been deleted from the Time Machine (it hadn’t) and we were forced to switch from Event 2 to Event 3 when we started the second heat. We tried changing the event number back manually, but that merged the results from both heats when we brought them into the Time Machine, so we cancelled that import and Dave and Jullien just typed the results in manually. That’s always a backup.

  • With the 400m, we ran the first heat cross-country style since there was no way the little kids could have stayed in their lanes all the way around. So that required using the Time Machine in cross-country mode for the Event 3, Heat 1. For the second heat, which was run in lanes, Bob and I switched to track meet mode, and manually changed the event and heat to Event 3, Heat 2. It worked like a charm. However, it’s worth noting that if we’d done multiple heats of the 400m in cross-country mode, we would have had to rearrange the heats in Meet Manager since cross-country mode only allows Heat 1, not subsequent heats.

  • We kept a close eye on the forecast and radar, and it seemed like the storm was going north of us, so I opted to keep the meet running. Kudos to everyone in keeping things moving along well! However, we had two heats of the mile, and we combined them into one big heat, which was a smart thing to do, since we were able to finish before the rain really started. Jullien and Dave figured out how to move people between heats by typing their numbers into a blank area in the results section, which made it easy to put times in.

  • Having people packing up during that last race was also essential, and we managed to get everything packed up and into the car before the rain really hit. Thanks for that, everyone!

  • Tonya and I talked quite a bit more about whether we should have more formal policies about cancelling for thunderstorms, but we couldn’t see that any formula made sense. (Becca said that the IAC would have held the meet at the first thunder for at least 30 minutes, but that would have meant cancelling well before the mile since the thunder was on the hills quite a bit earlier.) The big difference that we realized is that all kids are present with adults, generally parents, and they’re welcome to leave at any time if they’re uncomfortable. It’s a much more fluid situation than with a school meet, where there are a vast number of kids and relatively few coaches. Anyway, we can talk more about this, but my feeling right now is that the race director should be using a smartphone to track the movement of storm cells and the proximity of lightning strikes and making a decision based on that. We have so much more information than we did in the past to bring to bear in any decision.

Any other comments, thoughts, or suggestions for how we could improve for next time?


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