I'm a statistics geek. Give me some numbers and percentages and I'm all over it. And as the editor of a magazine that focuses on sports travel, it's even more fascinating when those numbers apply to your subject matter.
That's why I was especially glad to see hard evidence that more kids than ever are playing high school sports. The best news of all? It's a trend that has been going strong for two decades now.
Everyone has a horror story.
I'm not talking about the kind with the zombies and vampires. I'm talking about the kind that event planners, CVBs and others have dealt with. We all have them, and I'm guessing you've had one too.
Maybe yours is about a pipe that burst and flooded the facility that was going to host your basketball tournament. Maybe it's about a school-system-wide flu epidemic that left you with a lot fewer athletes than you were counting on for your tournament. Maybe a big weather event closed the airport and left you unable to get to your tournament -- or maybe it's something else entirely that came out of left field and disrupted your well-laid plans.
It's summer again and chances are good you're working at top speed. Kids are out of school, so summer sports camps, team tours and rec programs are in full swing, as are everything from tennis tournaments to 5Ks to swim meets. It all adds up to a full schedule for planners.
But in the midst of our crunch season, it's essential we remember how we got here, and what (or actually, who) keeps us here: the athletes. We love their ever-developing skill, their enthusiasm and their competitiveness. We love the way they've embraced their sports. And (need we say it?) we love the way they keep us busy.
As the economy ebbs and flows, everyone is looking for incontrovertible evidence that the recession is over. And while it hasn't really presented itself, the members of the hospitality and tourism industry all remain optimistic that the era of the 'stay-cation' (and haven't we all come to hate that term?) is over.
Our focus for the issue is on cycling, swimming and baseball, summer sports that campers and others will be enjoying during the warm months ahead. You can also learn a great deal from Chris Huot's insights into what to expect when working with CVBs (Convention and Visitor Bureaus) and Sports Commissions. Finally, we take an in-depth look at speedways, focusing on their unique attributes for hosting events, some of which might surprise you.
For many of us, sports play a dominant role in our lives. While we may have many other obligations, we still find time to make the game. Whether it's in the form of watching it on television, attending it in person, or actually participating in it, the sports-minded individual makes sacrifices in order to make it happen.