GP Washington DC

GP Washington DC

Following on from my adventures in Toronto, I made the short flight over to Washington DC for the second show of my North American trip. I say Washington DC but the convention centre for this GP was in Chantilly, VA a pretty long trip out of downtown DC. With that in mind, I had booked flights to Washington Dulles airport and sorted accommodation at the staff hotel by the venue. This information also informed how long I planned to be in the US for this show as we were too far away from DC to squeeze in sightseeing on either of the shoulder days so I actually flew in late Thursday afternoon and back out Monday lunchtime – pretty much what I do for European shows. The flights worked out such that I was actually flying back the UK from Toronto, so my flight out of Washington was to Toronto so the whole thing felt more like a normal GP than I had expected.

Obviously, out of town convention centres are cheaper and often more flexible than their downtown cousins but the downsides often come in the form of them being hard to access or being in the middle of nowhere in terms of food and accommodation. Luckily, the staff hotel by the venue was reasonably priced (for a US hotel) and I had a room mate to split the costs. Extra bonus points went to the hotel being one of my preferred brands so I could pick up some loyalty points too!

After arriving on the Thursday I met up with another couple of Brits that had made the trip and went for BBQ food. It was only a small, family joint but was some of the better BBQ I’ve eaten – which makes sense seeing as we were technically in the South. An early night to recover from the travels and acclimatise to the Virginia heat was the day’s last item on my agenda.

I was on the closing shift for this show, like in Bologna, except that I was working with an almost entirely unknown team. In terms of comfort zone, I think this was actually further out than my experience in Toronto as process and systems are easier for me to deal with and get used to than people. The team consisted of a couple of big characters too, which I often find intimidating. Being late shift helped me on this occasion as it gave me time on that first morning to acclimatise to the team and understand my role and the expectations that these people had on me.

It turns out that my reputation had been built up to the team, so I faced higher than usual expectations and an understanding that I would be a reliable and raised performer. I wasn’t really sure what to make of this label as I still consider myself a learner at this level. I work hard to be as competent as I can be and look to find ways to improve or learn at every show and I pride myself on being a fast learner but this was a daunting expectation to live up to.

Being on the closing shift means doing a lot of jobs for not very long. The first half the shift is covering everyone else’s breaks which gives you a great overview of the day’s activities and means you get to brush up on skills you may otherwise neglect. The second half the shift is holding down the last few events when everyone else is going home. I quite like the responsibility that comes with being the last person on the scene, but I understand that others find it a little isolating.

The two things I took away from this show in particular is that I really do love scorekeeping and that long trips do eventually take their toll. This is the show that I really discovered that scorekeeping fulfils a lot of what I love about events. I get to be involved in the logistics and administration of the event, support the judges with advice and mentorship and have a core position in making sure the event runs as well as possible. It is also the show where I realised I was making some mistakes because I was tired. Luckily, none of the mistakes were serious and I was able to catch most of them before they became an issue.

All in all, I really felt I found my feet at this show and that I am really looking forward to picking it up again in Copenhagen in a few weeks.

One Reply to “GP Washington DC”

  1. “It turns out that my reputation had been built up to the team”

    Probably because I knew you did a good job the week prior 🙂

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