This June, in Indianapolis, will be my 9th ComedySportz World Championship.* Over the years I’ve picked up a few tips that I thought are worth sharing, to make for a smooth trip and experience.
If you’re attending the 2016 ComedySportz World Championship (CWC), the list is a compilation of things that can come in handy that week, especially if it’s your first CWC. I know the Boston team has TWO newbies going this year – Adi Heller and Dennis Bruno (alongside veterans Danielle Andruskiwec, Joe Gels, Jonathan Barron, and Betse Green). This year we even have a First Time Attendee meeting, on Tuesday evening – go!
If you’ve never been, it’s a peek into what the ComedySportz players do for that entire week. The event is rapidly growing in attendance and popularity, year over year. I believe just a week ago, the update was already 250 attendees. That’s a lot of Us.
Indianapolis is exciting for me to go back to. The last time I was there was for CWC in 2011. I know it’s where I remember meeting player Ben Gartner from CSz Twin Cities (for the first time), and Alex Grindeland from CSz Seattle (for what he says is the second time…but I remember it as the first. (¯\_(ツ)_/¯). Both of whom I now consider wonderful friends. I remember Alex first telling me of his plans to start CSz Seattle. I remember being fascinated; At the time it was inconceivable to me that I could ever take on owning and managing a CSz. That has since changed.
5 Things to Take with You to the ComedySportz World Championship
1. Packing Cubes
Someone from another CSz (i forget!) brought these packing cubes one year and they just made so much sense.
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 that are comfortable to move around in and take workshops in, I also bring:
- A bathing suit. Our hotel this year has their pool on the roof top. ON THE ROOF TOP.
- Workout clothes. Something I’ve noticed over the years is that more and more folks enjoy getting some of their training or a run in. I like to! I feel awesome when I keep up on my fitness because it keeps my mind sharp. It also doubles as down time with myself to collect my thoughts and recharge, which is important, as any good “assumed an extrovert but mostly internalizes as an introvert” will tell you.
Packing cubes are typically for camping, but I use them for most packing scenarios. You can roll and stack your clothes inside, fit your stuff 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 at 4:15 a.m. Sunday morning, 10 minutes before the shuttle gets there to take you for your 6am flight (Buffalo, 2013).
I bought mine from my local sporting/camping goods store in SF but you can also find them on Amazon. An average set will run you $25-$32 for a set of 3-5 cubes.
2. A Water Bottle
It’s hot. I’ve never been to a CWC where it wasn’t (I make no apologies) balls hot. [Indy, 2011…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 Klean Kanteens, for how lightweight and durable they are. I also like LifeFactory bottles – BPA-free and dishwasher safe, with a rubber grip coating on the outside. Both brands offer interchangeable lids so you can mix and match colors/tops/bottles. I got both mine from my local sporting goods store but, again, Amazon is a wonder.
Mine goes with me everywhere. Even a restaurant – if I don’t finish all my water from my glass, 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.
3. Venmo/Square Cash
(payment sharing mobile apps)
Expenses during championship are typically the hotel room (shared with friends) and meals (shared with friends).
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, receive and requests 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. Though, I believe Cash drops the received cash into your bank account directly. (whereas Venmo takes 48 hours on average).
4. Sleep mask/Ear plugs
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 sometimes CWC for me ends up just being the week of “Sleep where you can, when you can. Good luck.”
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.
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.
5. Flip flops & Sneakers
Most if not all of CWC is walkable for all of our main points – to The Athenaeum for matches, the hotel, places to eat, workshops and meetings. For city walking, sneakers are the jam. A pair of flip flops will see you through schlepping around the hotel late at night – or falling asleep while talking in the hotel lobby [Buffalo, 2013].
In CWC’s past, we’ve made good use of our sneakers by getting a group together for a run. (Chicago, 2012, Buffalo 2013, Milwaukee 2014, Quad Cities 2015)
A pair of each makes for an easy week of getting around the hotel and city.
Bonus 6 Thing: TripIt
Mobile app travel/itinerary planner TripIt.
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 email@example.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.
Along with this list, I also have my standard checklist of “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. Plus nothing beats pen and paper. Except Rock.
- Your ComedySportz uniform – I forgot mine in 2011. Double check it.
- Snacks – Not only is it more convenient, but it’s cheaper than eating out constantly. I 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 plantain chips, Tom Toms or Epic bars, nut/seed butter packets (those get past TSA nicely – as opposed to jars), fruit, dried fruit or canned/pouch tuna or sardines.
- Arms – Don’t forget your arms, for hugging and high fives.
If I’ve left anything off, tack it on 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!
* 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)
- Quad Cities, IA (2015)