Have you ever wondered how we at Hoopfest manage to put together hundreds of brackets in just a matter of weeks? Like most, you may imagine tons of people spending countless hours attending to this large task. Giff Marleau is the amazing woman that works with a small group of volunteers to do all of the tournament bracketing. Giff has been working for Spokane Hoopfest for 15 years. In combination with all that she does, she may have the most important job to some, when you take into account that she is in charge of doing all of the bracketing for every one of the upwards of 6,000 teams that play at Hoopfest, equating to over 14,000 games played. She truly is part of the magic behind the scenes.
To work her magic, Giff uses Hoopfest’s personalized computer software to help categorize the thousands of entries. She says, “Age, height, experience and frequency of play are all major factors in sorting through the teams.” Giff, with the help of a few volunteers, then carefully reviews each team to make sure they are in the right level of competition. Since software cannot fix everything, she enjoys tackling one of the largest obstacles in the bracketing process, making sure that all of the information that has been submitted is correct. With only a staff of six, it makes this task incredibly hard to do. Countless hours must be spent between Giff, and her volunteers, carefully going through each submission making sure every bit of information is correct, to help the bracketing process. The attention to detail is what allows teams to be bracketed fairly.
Giff explains the hardest brackets to construct are the family divisions. Even with the software that she uses, the teams within the family division have so many varying factors that they have to be built by hand. In other divisions, data is sorted by similar grade levels, ages and experience. No other brackets will have 50-60 year olds playing with high schoolers, offering truly a unique experience. This is why Giff and her team make sure to take into account each factor to ensure that each bracket as fair as possible so the tournament is a fun experience for everyone.
To help her complete this incredible feat, Giff reiterates the importance of getting registrations in by the early deadline. She explains, “It is beneficial for both players and the staff at Hoopfest.” For players, it guarantees their team a spot in the tournament and saves them money. In addition, it makes sure that everyone is placed in the most appropriate bracket. Hoopfest wants teams to have the best possible experience without turning anyone away. Registering late makes it far more difficult to do so.
The bracketing process is one that most would think is done by many, and yet, it is only done by a few dedicated individuals. In a matter of only a couple of weeks, hundreds of brackets consisting of thousands of teams are put together all with the thought in mind of making it the best Hoopfest experience for everyone. It is truly amazing how all of these pieces come together. When fans and players come to Hoopfest they see all of the hoops and courts set up throughout downtown Spokane, and are in awe of all of the work it takes to put something so large and spectacular together. Their work behind the scenes brings everything to life. The time and effort they dedicate to putting on the best basketball weekend on earth, is truly what allows so many teams to enjoy playing in Hoopfest.
Currently, the bracketing team is working furiously to finish placing the thousands of team submissions. We will be reaching out to you midweek of Hoopfest to let you know when brackets will be out.