Page 18 - FIS World
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Organizing a Tournament
Hosting an athletic tournament requires a detailed game plan
In mid November last year, FIS hosted two major sports tournaments on the same weekend: ISST cross country, and SCIS JV girls soccer. These events brought an
impressive 250 athletes and over 35 coaches from all over Europe to our campus within a span of just four days. A little insight is captured below to reveal how much e ort is required behind the scenes to make tournaments like these such smooth running shows.
Preparing for tournaments starts with the board of the ISST and SCIS a year, or sometimes even two, in advance. Typically, each participating school takes responsibility for organizing at least two tournaments per year. The on-campus e ect compared to a regular sports weekend is multiplied in that it is not just one school, but up to ten schools visiting at the same time.
“The event starts to come alive about three months before it takes place, when I send out the o cial welcome letter to the teams we will be hosting,” FIS Athletic Director William Moncrief says. “This letter gives details about scheduled games so team coaches can start working on their travel arrangements. Some teams travel by bus; others may come by train or take a  ight and require a pick- up from the airport or train station.”
Visiting coaches usually check in at a hotel near the school, but visiting athletes stay over at the homes of FIS athletic families. Here is where the FIS Athletic Booster Club (ABC) comes into play. Typically, the ABC Housing Coordinator starts reaching out to our athletic families about six weeks in advance. Families are expected to host at least two guests, but sometimes take groups of up to six students.
“Hosting is a very easy job to do,” said Wendy Fochtman, ABC President. “Athletes are usually at school for their games from early in the morning until end of the day, so what is needed is just a bed and a shower, breakfast in the morning and a dinner in the evening. And it is such fun,” Ms. Fochtman adds. “The kids tend to be very appreciative. It’s quite a privilege to support these kids on their independent journeys away from home. And I have witnessed lifelong friendships being formed between students from the di erent schools.“
Tournaments usually run from Wednesday or Thursday through Saturday. For the Athletic Department it’s all hands
on deck. O cials are recruited from local German clubs and the American Department of Defense schools to referee the games, and medical support is ensured, too. Volunteers and students are gathered to supervise the gyms and sports  eld, scorekeeping, collecting balls and sweeping the  oors in between games.
The Stroth Center’s new concession facilities are managed by the ABC group and are fully equipped with both an indoor and outdoor grill, microwaves and refrigerators, and a grand co ee machine, which produces the whole range from regular co ee to cappuccino. The menu is mouth watering, with the grilled hamburgers and freshly baked cookies being the long-standing top hits of the list. Stocks are supplied well in time before the tournament starts, and anywhere from 35-50 parent volunteers are around during the tournament to have all the wonderful dishes and drinks prepared for hungry and thirsty spectators.
FIS has an outstanding reputation for how well organized our tournaments are.
“FIS has an outstanding reputation for how well organized our tournaments are,” said Mr. Moncrief. “Teams and their coaches always look forward to visiting FIS. Our concession stand is a show stealer by itself. And we add personal touches like arranging a coaches’ dinner on the  rst evening. We’ve even had occasions when visiting coaches have been invited for an evening at our Head of School’s home,” he adds.
Clearly, both the Athletic Department and the ABC pour their hearts and souls into making each tournament a success for everyone. And they welcome all FIS families and school sta  to come out for games, and be part of the great team spirit. “Even if you don’t have kids that play, we love to have you as a volunteer, “said Ms. Fochtman. “There is a role for everyone and it is a great way to meet new people. Unexpected conversations have formed part of my biggest take-aways of events like these,” she adds.
All these enthusiastic stories about tournaments at FIS made me think back on a friend’s son whom I met in the United States last summer. When I told him our girls would be joining FIS, his eyes started glistening. As a former student of the American School of Paris, he had the best of memories of the sports tournaments he enjoyed at FIS.
I now very well understand why.
Corrie Korink-Zoetekouw FIS Parent
Join us for our
next tournament: ISST Varsity Girls Basketball, 9–11 March
16 FIS World February 2017

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