5 Things to Take with You to the ComedySportz World Championship This Year


Buffalo 2013 – Indianapolis vs. San Jose (Strange David Fuller, Joe Ottaviano, Allie Murphy, Eryn Bowser; Tara Paulson, Kelsey Wagner, me, Sam Bowers)

This June, in Quad Cities, IL, will be my 8th ComedySportz World Championship.* As such, I’ve picked up a few things along the way that I thought are worth sharing, to make for a smooth trip and experience.

If you’re also attending the 2015 ComedySportz World Championship (CWC) in Quad Cities, IL the list below is a compilation of things that can come in handy the week of, whether this is your first time or you’re a seasoned pro.

If you’ve never been, it’s a small peek into what the ComedySportz players do for that entire week of what some gleefully refer to as “summer camp.”

I’m looking forward to being back in the Quad Cities – I always love the more quiet and small locations we end up in for CWC. While the CSz Worldwide league has expanded quite a bit in size, and these past 10 years have added a variety of activities to suit different interests, the overall theme remains the same: We’re here to hang out with each other. It’s just easier to do that when everyone’s not getting pulled in 1,000 different directions for different tourist attractions.

5 Things to Take with You to the ComedySportz World Championship This Year

1. Packing Cubes

I’m a chronic over-packer – I don’t know why, because as Dick Chudnow pointed out to me once, “You know, they have these things called stores here that you can purchase stuff if you forget.” Well played, sir.

On top of regular clothes (shorts, some light dresses, a bathing suit), I also bring an extra workout outfit or two + socks + sports bras, in case I can fit a workout in or run with some teammates from other cities (Chicago, 2012, Buffalo 2013, Milwaukee 2014). I like being prepared because running out of stuff to wear is gross and I don’t enjoy it.

Someone from – I want to say CSz Indy or maybe CSz Sacramento – brought these packing cubes one year and they just made so much sense.

packing cubes2

Roll, zip, and shove into suitcase.

They’re typically for camping, but I use them for most packing scenarios. You can roll and stack your clothes inside, fit most things in a more organized way, and unpack/re-pack neatly. It’s also helpful to separate dirty from clean during the week.

It’s even more helpful when re-packing to go home. You know, like at 4:15 a.m. Sunday morning, 10 minutes before the shuttle gets there to take you for your 6am flight (Buffalo, 2013).

packing cubesI bought mine from my local sporting/camping goods store in SF – the Eagle Creek brand will run you about $25-$32 for a set of 3 – but you can also find them on Amazon.


2. Venmo/Square Cash (mobile apps)

Expenses during championship are typically the hotel room (shared with friends) and meals (shared with friends).

CSz Indianapolis team having breakfast!

CSz Indianapolis team having breakfast!

The reality is that not only does everyone want to eat, everyone wants to eat together. Our group is notorious for taking the city by storm, and then crowding around tables during the hour-breaks between workshops and meals before matches. While some establishments can usually split up payments between cards/cash, it will take a while, because they’re human and the POS systems can only do so much. If you’re in a hurry to get where you need to be, you probably don’t have that luxury of the time it’s going to take to split up the bill.

Also, the hotel will do the best they can, but sometimes “split the bill between X people” gets lost in translation and people get charged multiple times. It happens. (Indianapolis, 2011)

If you keep a cash swapping app on your smartphone, you can easily send and receive money, that way in case you (or someone else) picks up the tab, folks can easily get you back via the app.

In my experience, this is easier than the exchange of cash/getting to an ATM, and there is no dealing with “I owe you,” and no getting stuck overpaying your part of a bill.

I like Venmo, mainly because of the emojis (and by “mainly,” I mean “exactly”) you can use in the “What for” area.

However, if you use Square Cash, they give a $5 kickback to both the referrer and the referee when the new person signs up. It’s not nothing, so it may be worth it for you. (To learn how to do that, go into the app after you download it)

Here’s access to Square Cash (iOS & Android): https://cash.me/
Here’s access to Venmo (iOS only): https://venmo.com/

3. Sleep mask/Ear plugs

Take every routine and healthy schedule you stick to when you’re at home, and promptly throw it out the window.

As much as I’ve tried to get enough sleep per night, and wake up early, I botch it every year – I end up staying up late in the Games Garden (an area in the hotel reserved for folks to pool and play games that others bring) or talking with an old friend or talking longer with a new one. Some are better at this than I am, but CWC for me ends up just being the week of “Sleep where you can, when you can. Good luck.”

Stephen Bennett (CSz Houston) - "sleeping"

Stephen Bennett (CSz Houston)

Regardless of who you are, you’re most likely sharing a room with a couple of folks that all have different sleep habits and emit various noise levels, as do their devices (sorry about that phone alarm and text message ding, Lucinda – Milwaukee, 2009)

Pack a sleep mask to block the occasional 4 am “I’m going to turn the light on because I can’t find my shirt,” (every year) and ear plugs if you need quiet to get to sleep/stay asleep or take a nap. It can make all the difference between being on time for your first workshop and…not.

4. Flip flops/Sneakers

Footwear isn’t a huge deal because it’s not like you’ll find yourself on the side of a mountain all of sudden [Maui, 2035!!?], but it’s helpful to account that you may want to do city walking or need a quick pair of flip flops while schlepping around the hotel from room to room late at night – or falling asleep while talking in the hotel lobby [Buffalo, 2013].

Bit courtesy of David Pijor (CSz Richmond)

Buffalo 2013 – Courtesy of Dave Pijor (CSz Richmond)

We made good use of our running shoes by getting a group together for a run. This year, there are actually two events where there will be running/walking – the 5k and a round of Hashing, led by Micah Edwards (CSz Richmond).

A whole lot of got to run together this year! (Milwaukee, 2014)

A whole lot of us got to run together this year! (Milwaukee, 2014)

A pair of each makes for an easy week of running around the hotel and city.

5. Water Bottle

It’s hot. I’ve never been to a CWC where it wasn’t, pardon the expression, balls hot. [Indy, 2012…dear, sweet Lord]. Stay hydrated. Don’t wait until you get to a lunch break or finish a walk back to the hotel to get water.

  • Dehydration = Headaches, lethargy, getting sick, etc.
  • Hydration = Healthy organ function, improves digestion, absorb water-soluble nutrients, like vitamin C and B12.

In addition to just helping cut down on bottled water waste (kudos to Bill Cernansky from CSz Portland, for championing this cause), it’s just easier. I get and keep my water bottle on me all through the week. (Regular, common sense tip: Keep it empty until you get past airport security, then fill it up from a fountain)

I’m a huge fan of LifeFactory bottles – BPA-free and dishwasher safe, with a rubber grip coating on the outside. They have interchangeable lids with a flip top, or you can mix and match colors/tops/bottles. I got mine from my local sporting goods store but this is where you can also find/buy them.


Mine goes with me everywhere. Even a restaurant – sometimes i don’t finish all my water from my glass, so I dump it into my bottle and take it to go. (Californians are in a drought, so this makes sense to not leave water on the table – but you can do this without a drought!)

If you need help drinking more agua overall, try this blog post on 7 Tips to Drink More Water.

There is also an app to keep track, but I prefer the rubber band system.

Bonus 6 Thing: TripIt

Mobile app travel/itinerary planner TripIt. (FYI I’m about 99% sure it’s iOS only).

All of my trip information is organized here. The single biggest reason I use TripIt is because as long as I just forward all confirmation emails to plans@tripit.com from my email account, it all gets collected here and then I don’t have to search emails for airport names, car rental information, flight confirmation numbers, hotel info, etc.

Plus it sends you exciting updates.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 2.01.31 PM


Along with this list, I also have my standard checklist of “Don’t Forgets!”

Don’t Forgets

  • Notebook and pen – For note taking in workshops. Yes, a device can do this, too, but I find this distracting and easy to get distracted on
  • Your ComedySportz uniform – Yes, I forgot this in 2011. It seems like a no brainer, but double check it and you’ll be glad you did
  • Snacks – Not only is it more convenient, but it’s cheaper than eating out constantly. Plus I just like having food on me at all times, either for me or a friend in need of a snack. If the hotel room has a fridge, I keep hard boiled eggs, greek yogurt, and cut up veggies. I also like Tom Toms, nut/seed butter packets (those get past TSA nicely – as opposed to jars), fruit, dried fruit or canned tuna/sardines (that last one may be something only I do, because dietary restrictions make allergy-free food hard to come by, but it’s convenient!)
  • Arms – Don’t forget your arms, because hugging is a fantastic thing at CWC, and there’s lots of it.

If I’ve left anything off, feel free to add it in the comments.

If you’re returning, I can’t wait to see you all in a few weeks! If you’re new, I can’t wait to meet you. If you’re my mom, thanks for reading my blogs!

Pool + freestyle rap (Milwaukee, 2014)

Pool + freestyle rap (Buffalo, 2013)


* Past ComedySportz World Championships I’ve attended

  • San Jose, CA (2006)
  • Quad Cities, IA (2007)
  • Milwaukee, WI (2009)
  • Indianapolis, IN (2011)
  • Chicago, IL (2012)
  • Buffalo, NY (2013)
  • Milwaukee, WI (2014)

2 thoughts on “5 Things to Take with You to the ComedySportz World Championship This Year

  1. Games! Gotta bring at least one game, ideally something that packs in your carry-on for long or unexpected layovers. Small card games are perfect… Fluxx is a great option.

    Oh yeah, it should be the responsibility of the host city to provide a copy of Cards Against Humanity in the Games Garden… even thought CSz is officially “family friendly”, I know how you all *really* operate behind the scenes, and CAG is perfect for your twisted minds.

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