Awesome invitational 2018 a Club Leaders view

It's been a few weeks since the invitational now and like many of you, my attention has shifted on to other things. But lets rewind a little and reflect on the awesomeness of March 4th this year.
As a club leader, it was absolutely AWESOME (never without its issues, more on that later) but lets appreciate what we created here. We ran an event that (we think) is like no other. We’ve baked in some real unique points - coaches being able to prompt the gymnast during their routine if they need it, a whole group fun warm up to music (which the spectators chose the music for!), clubs working together to help all the gymnasts compete well and extra superstar awards nominated by anyone.  These things aren't 'usual' at gymnastic competitions and I'm proud that the vision of creating something different is well received.
Also, that our event is accessible for gymnasts who maybe only attend one class a week.  With the elite progression of our sport, most events aren't accessible unless you train a lot of hours. We have gymnasts training one hour a week at our event - we know they LOVE gymnastics and deserve an opportunity to show that outside of their class time.
For me as founder of Affinity, it was incredible just to take it all in:

379 gymnasts enjoying their sport and smiling through the challenges and comfort zone stretching that is performance and competition.
800 spectators cheering on, enjoy the performances and supporting their family members.
60 staff shining at what they do well – coaches, scorers, judges, door staff, organisers, photographers.
8 clubs coming together to make the experience positive for the gymnasts.
But the best bit for me was the positive, fun and friendly vibe in the room. It’s got to be fun and we've got to enjoy it and appreciate each other.
Hey I know it's not perfect. Far from. But the intentions are good and we learn from it.
Each time we improve upon the main issues from the year before and I’m proud that we look to the challenges as something to benefit from in future and not a terrible 'problem'.  Last year the main two challenges were the amount of time it took to get the spectators in the room and the mic not working which impacted on our organisation of the gymnasts as well as the communication with the spectators.  So this year we sorted those by introducing ticket sales ahead of the event via a ticketing app.  We got nearly 300 of you out and almost 300 new spectators in within 20 minutes between rounds 1 and 2 so I’ll take that as a win.  As for the mic? We did extra sound checks a week before and also had back up equipment – which we needed(!) - so it meant it wasn’t a problem.
This time round, I'd say the biggest issues were not having the time to take over the awards ceremony (as we had a lot of gymnasts in during each round, ideally we'd have less at a time) and spectators blocking each others views. There's several other things too we’ve learnt but these are the biggest two. So we'll fix this for next time.
So what's next?
We already know the invitational in 2019 will involve more than one day and we're also scheming a display event….. watch this space!
Did you attend the invitational?  We'd honestly love your feedback - if you didn't like something or think we could improve on anything, please tell us - it may be something we're unaware of.  Or maybe you and your gymnast simply enjoyed the event, it's nice to hear when things have gone well too.  Just pop us an email to

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