Thinking back, GP Minnesota 2001

Earlier today GP Madison attendance passed the number of participants at my 1st GP in Minneapolis, almost exactly 14 years ago. It was a fair number for the time, especially considering the world trade center had been brought down just over 2 weeks before… many people opted not to make the trek. Here we are, a decade and a half later and attendances continue to grow. I am staring at the likely hood that for the first time in my career I will have to enforce the attendance cap. I hope to be able to increase the cap a little with a room layout redesign. But even considering I can do that, historical comparisons indicate this event would top 2300 if the registrations continue in the pattern of the last roughly 2 years of my GP events.

Last weekend I ran my 2nd to last GP. It’s possible I could be brought back, but for the foreseeable future… This is it. Madison is likely to be the last hurrah. 2 months ago when the 2016 GP schedule was made public I felt an outpouring of support that left me emotional more times than I care to count. I am humbled and honored so many of you have shared your opinions and appreciate what I do and have done over the last 18 years as an Organizer.

I spent a lot of time talking to folks in OKC last weekend. They wanted to thank me for years of events, show me their support, and wish me well. It was touching and occasionally tear inducing and I thank each of you for your time and good will.

I’d like to share the thing that hit me the hardest at OKC, the first moment I had to step away to collect myself. When we open the doors (I open doors at 2pm) there is usually a bit of a crowd outside. For the last several hours inside the room we’ve been getting everything in place and getting ready to, as I usually say when its door time, “release the hounds!!!!!”.

I gave the word and the doors were opened and the players streamed into the GP hall. They almost always hit the stage in a bit of a crush and the staff wheel, flow and give instruction as we try to bring the players into the appropriate lines and get them served quickly.  And there is always that moment, I would argue it is the most perfect moment of the whole weekend, that moment when the initial surge is settling in. Players have sorted into the appropriate lines and the staff are starting to chew through the lines, helping the players, registering them, answering questions, moving them along and then it just… Gels. It’s almost like a “snap to grid” setting in drawing software. It’s a perfect moment in time when the initial chaos has been brought to heel and order has taken over and the lines begin behaving like lines should and the staff all have their rythem.

I don’t always get to see that moment. Sometimes I’m called away to solve an issue or finish up a last piece that didn’t quite get done before the doors opened. But its my favorite moment. And I’m sure to be watching for it at GP Madison.  It gives me goosebumps even just thinking about it. And I look forward to seeing it one more time from the stage at Madison.

See you all real soon!


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