This morning I woke up bright and early with the intention of tweaking a USPSA Stage Design that I submitted to Southern Chester recently. While waiting for my Kuerig to heat up and dispense a steaming cup of black gold, I grabbed my phone and began checking email. At the top of my inbox was a disappointing notice from the now former Match Director at Southern Chester Practical Shooters, Graham Smith.
From Graham Smith:
The matches at Southern Chester have reached to a point where it’s well beyond my ability to manage things. It has, quite frankly, turned me into a nervous wreck.
Therefore, I am resigning as match director effective immediately.
Anyone wishing to step forward and take over the job should contact Rob Harper via the club.
I knew that Graham was under a lot of pressure as match director but I wasn’t aware of how bad it had become. Since the 2012 USPSA Season started here in PA, I have been volunteering my time at Southern Chester. Once per month I was responsible for helping with the design and setup of a single stage. This worked out to be a couple of hours infront of my computer and roughly 3 hours prior to the time the monthly match got underway.
While it may not seem like much, my part was a fair amount of work each month, and I was part of a group of four to five guys that routinely helped with setting up the 50 yard Range. I can only imagine how much more work Graham had to face overseeing our small group as well as dealing with the design and setup of six other stages.
During conversations with Graham, I learned that the physical work didn’t stop there. In order to make each match happen, he had to arrive at the club the day before and pre-setup. This involved getting all targets organized and on sticks, in addition to getting all required props on each range.
I felt terrible for telling Graham I couldn’t help with the pre-setup. I just couldn’t manage the 45 mile commute (each way) on a Friday afternoon. I don’t know how much help Graham was able to recruit for the actual labor portion of the match, but it would seem as though it wasn’t enough when coupled with all of his other duties.
Speaking of those other duties, I’m under the impression that Graham was also responsible for Pre-Registration as well as Scorekeeping. I don’t know what else is involved in running a USPSA Club, but you can already see that it is a monumental task for one individual, month after month.
I can understand why Graham decided to resign and I don’t fault him for it. In the short time that I have been shooting at Southern Chester, it has become one of my favorite places to shoot. Matches were always fun and challenging. For that, I am grateful of Graham’s time and effort.
I received the following email about seven-hours after the initial email from Graham.
From Rob Harper via email on 7/14/2012:
Please disregard any previous email about the matches at Southern Chester County being postponed or cancelled. The matches will continue as scheduled.
The July match will take place next Saturday, July 21. The match is 6 stages, around 136 rounds minimum.
Setup starts at 8:00 AM, walk-through is at 10:45 and shooting starts at 11:00. New shooters need to arrive and check by 10:00 for safety checks.
If you pre-registered for this match you are still pre-registered. A limited number of walk-on registrations will be accepted.
I apologize if you are receiving this more than once. If you receive this email and wish to be removed, please let me know.
See you Saturday.