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Taking a step back

Nathan Walsh August 26, 2023

I have decided to significantly reduce the amount of content I produce with CrokinoleCentre. More specifically I will no longer write post-tournament reports, and I will likely upload only a handful of videos each year.

I wanted to provide this advance notice to the crokinole community, in case anyone else feels compelled to pick up the baton.

I’m making this decision now because I’ve come to feel a weight of burden, purely of my own making, that I feel with performing these routine CrokinoleCentre tasks. Somewhere along the line I have convinced myself that it’s a necessity to publish a written report and every playoff video from every tournament I attend, and somewhere along the way I came to believe that delaying in any of these tasks was an act of laziness. In recent years I also came to be responsible for updating three other websites (that of the NCA, WCC and crokinolereference), all of which I wanted to do, so again there’s no one to blame but myself on that front.

The accumulation of all of this is that nowadays on bad days I feel annoyed and fatigued by the work, and even on good days I never feel a strong enthusiasm for it.

I’ve mentioned these feelings at times to other people, and I usually receive both positive and productive feedback, which praises the work I’ve done in the past and proposes solutions to current woes. However, mostly I just find the work tedious, which anyone with video editing or website experience can relate. I’ve done many things to increase efficiency, but it still takes me roughly 5 times the length of a video to complete the entire production, and it’s not really possible to share the workload across multiple editors because the video file sizes are too large to transfer. Meanwhile the tournament reports I write are somewhat formulaic in format, but still take a few hours to publish.

I’ve experienced all of these exact challenges before and for many years, but I find myself having less patience for them now. I used to chuckle when two players spontaneously selected a new location for their playoff match, after I had already framed my cameras perfectly to capture the match on a now empty board. It’s things like these that I’ve just grown sick of. I’m not quite sure of the reason, maybe it just comes with age.

I’ve also had it suggested to me that I monetize the videos, but money is not a motivator for me to do the work. I did do this briefly in 2017 and 2018 when a couple of videos went viral, and received about $3000 from it. It was nice to have, but after I used the funds to improve the CrokinoleCentre product (by purchasing another camera, a new editing software, and external hard drive), the videos were earning less than $100 per month and that to me was not enough to justify making the viewer experience worse. Even if the sum of money available increased, it has the potential to cause further tension as players and tournaments could rightfully claim some portion is duly owed to them.

I initially started making the crokinole videos because I wanted a video record of the World Championship match, and I was annoyed I couldn’t ever go back and watch Joe Fulop winning the title. I started the blog in the golden era of the medium, where thousands of well written and interesting blogs were available online to peruse. Mine was initially essentially a copy of a blog my brother wrote about his university cross country team.

But eventually CrokinoleCentre grew into a way for me to ensure that crokinole tournaments wouldn’t pass by and eventually be forgotten. I value the historic record and the ability to share stories about events years after they happened with people who were never there. Additionally it’s been nice to have people express that they’ve enjoyed a particular blog or video I’ve made. I’ve also taken joy from CrokinoleCentre work allowing people analyze and understand crokinole more. There used to be less than a handful of names that people recognized as strong crokinole players, and now there’s a long list. When I was in Hungary I was asked questions about dozens of Canadians that people enjoyed watching. It was heart-warming to know that I had played a part in making that connection.

Crokinole will probably always occupy a part of my idle mind. It used to be a joyful daydream from monotonous study or work, and it’s been fun pretending to be some reporter or columnist or commentator. But recently that part has been onerous; the cause of more work to be done, rather than some excitement to daydream about.

I definitely won’t be going anywhere. I’ll still be playing and volunteering, probably bring my camera to each tournament, and I’ll still make the odd video or blog (if no one else does it I’ll still ensure the championship matches are published at some point). But I want to free myself to do other things in crokinole I think I’d enjoy. “Taking a step back” from the limelight, but still doing my part in sustaining the game. I have accumulated a long list of ambitions, but like finishing your homework before playing video games, I’ve deferred these ambitions due to a feeling that I should finish the other routine stuff first. I don’t wish to defer them any longer.