I can hold the weight of worlds
If that’s what you need…
I’ll be your everything…
As usual, I tried to stay quiet and have found that I really can’t…
I really wish that yesterday I could’ve been crying tears of joy… especially when amazing things happened like the HUGE donation from Marcus to Jay’s set at the Celebrate Remember Fight Back Top DJ Competition for Relay for Life of Second Life. But at the end of the competition, I honestly felt more deflated than I did anything else. And for something Relay related to make me feel THAT bad… I know something has to be wrong. But before I get into that… first… a little bit of background information.
First of all… what is the Celebrate Remember Fight Back Top DJ Competition? It’s a team event of the Relay Rockers, which is a Relay for Life of Second Life fundraising team. It’s an event that is open to 16 DJ’s from across the grid, no matter what team you’re from or if you’re on a team at all. There’s an application process and from what I understand, spots are first come, first serve, 16 spots. After those 16 fill, sorry about your luck, regardless of if you’re an amazing DJ or not. *Chuckles* Which makes sense… you really want to do something, you’ll fill out your cards early. Because it’s a relay event, all music has to be family-appropriate… and it’s been emphasized in the past that that means no cursing, at all, whatsoever. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel I had enough music that fit that criteria… not that I have a bunch of dirty raunchy music in my library… because not everything that curses is bad… but I didn’t have enough clean, family-friendly music to participate… so all three years I’ve heard about it, I have chosen not to participate.
Now. Preliminary rounds take awhile because they only do one round per week, and each round is 2 DJ’s… so you’ve got 8 preliminary rounds over the course of the first 2 months of the competition. Each DJ gets 1 hour to spin and raise funds for Relay for Life via a specific kiosk. That kiosk is rezzed by the competition host right at the beginning of your time, so that you are fundraising from L$0 and they can have an accurate total. One thing that’s important to mention here that apparently a few of the contestants were unclear on is that your totals do NOT carry over… so if you make it from Preliminary competition into Elite 8, then your total starts over for your Elite 8 round. And if you make it from Elite 8 to Top 4, your total starts over again. Same for Top 2. A few contestants seemed very disappointed that their high totals from preliminaries were discarded when it came time for them to fundraise for their Elite 8 round. Because I didn’t choose to participate this year, I didn’t read over the information card thoroughly, so I can’t speak to whether it was lack of being informed, or lack of reading the given information that lead to this misunderstanding between organizers and contestants.
It should also be mentioned here that this competition is not set up in a true ‘bracket’ style competition. You would think, like most DJ battles I’ve seen in SL and even in RL, that if you’re going to pit someone ‘head to head’, then the winner of that round would move on. Especially with 16 DJ’s going 2 at a time. But with this particular contest, all 16 DJ’s go and then at the end of everything, they look at the Top 8, and those are the ones that move on. So who you go ‘against’ for preliminaries really doesn’t matter. Like, for example, the very last preliminary round was the 2012 Top DJ vs. the 2013 Top DJ. The 2013 Top DJ raised more money than the 2012 Top DJ, so in a true bracket style competition, that would’ve eliminated the 2012 Top DJ. However, in this situation, since both of them were in the Top 8, they both moved on, regardless of being in a heat ‘against’ each other.
Oh, yes… did I mention that there are no judges in this competition? Where you rank is based on how much money you raise in that kiosk that is rezzed by the competition host. So, if I have to look at this objectively, it’s really not a Top DJ Competition at all, as it has nothing to do with your skill as a DJ. It’s a Top Fundraiser competition, which is super awesome and can be super effective. Think back to Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts where the top cookie seller got a bike or something. It’s a good motivator. But calling it a Top DJ competition is a little bit of a misnomer, just in my personal opinion.
The other thing that should be mentioned here is that all the kiosks, regardless of what team the DJ is from, are set to the Relay Rockers as the host team… so any money that a DJ raises goes to benefit that team (and subsequently the Relay for Life). Up until this year, that totally made sense, because the Rockers are the host team, so if they let a DJ come up and set their kiosk to their team, then they would gain nothing from the event they worked hard to organize. HOWEVER, this year, there are now Dual Team kiosks… which allow you to set a single kiosk up to benefit 2 teams. For example, my Team Captain participated this year, so with a Dual Team kiosk, it could’ve been set up to benefit both the Rockers as the Host team and our team as the DJ’s team… because the DJ is doing a lot of work as well… they are bringing in the donators, they are spinning the tunes… they should benefit from this as well. How the Dual Team kiosk works is it splits the money evenly… so in a situation like mentioned above, if someone donated L$1,000… then L$500 would go towards the Rockers team total, and L$500 would go towards our team total. This way, everybody who is doing the work is benefiting, and Relay for LIfe as a whole is benefitting.
Now, before someone goes sour on me and says, “What about ONE TEAM, Tivi? If we’re all ONE TEAM then why should it matter which team is getting the credit for the donations? It’s all going to help Relay, right?” I agree with you whole-heartedly, imaginary other half of this conversation. But I have to ask the same question back to you. If this is ONE TEAM, then why were the Dual Team kiosks NOT used. If the linden totals were not important, then why was the host team insistent on getting full credit for every donation? If it all goes to the same place, Relay for Life and the ACS, then why weren’t Dual Team kiosks used? Just a thought.
Now, there are a couple of other things that I hold issue with in this situation, and I’m going to try my best to be as polite as possible… because I really do love Relay for Life… but situations like this sour me on RFL of SL as a whole and make me want to just stick to RL Relay sometimes.
For starters, past winners are allowed to enter again. Now, there is a difference between asking a current title-holder to defend their title and having a past title-holder come back and try to win it again. We all see in the fashion and modeling community how ‘contest humpers’ work… people who go from contest to contest and are not competing for a title because of what it actually MEANS, but are simply gunning for that title because it’s something of importance. That’s why I like competitions like Miss Virtual World… once you compete once, no matter where you placed, you had your run and you don’t get to compete again. This opens doors for more people to have the opportunity to have that growth and bonding experience. Otherwise, I’m afraid we’d see what we see in all these “Face of…” competitions… the same models competing, and the same models winning, snatching up titles left and right and leaving no room for new models to grow and potentially gain some recognition. So with something like this that has so few spaces available to begin with, why allow past winners to take a space from a potential new person who is looking for a way to get involved in Relay and thinks the contest looks like fun?
I’m all for honoring past winners. In pageants like Colour of Couture and Miss Virtual World, the former year’s winner is allowed to make a final walk, and is given the opportunity to present the new winner with their title. Maybe for a DJ situation, allow the Top DJ from the previous year the opportunity to play a farewell set before the awards ceremony. I don’t know. But I’d like to see some way of giving them the respect and honor they deserve while not taking away the opportunity to compete from someone new.
Secondly, there are things done that are just plain shady. I’m all for challenges… I pose them for people myself that I want to win… but I’d like to see competition organizers stay neutral. Like, when I organize dance competitions, I don’t sit in and judge them myself as well. That’s a conflict of interest. And especially when some of the competitors are of the organizing/host team, I have to sit back and make a face when I see contest staff working harder to promote one DJ over another. Like in the Top 2 yesterday, I watched the contest staff work so much harder at promoting the DJ who eventually won the contest… and barely promote the DJ who became the 1st runner up at all. Standing there watching, the lack of promotion is what made me step up in the end to try and get some match challenges going to boost his totals in the last 15 minutes because no one else was doing it. They were perfectly content to watch that 1st runner up DJ finish out with whatever number, low or high… and it even seemed that they’d prefer it low, because it would be easier to beat.
Yes, I used the dreaded beat word… in a competition like this… it’s supposed to be friendly competition used to motivate stronger fundraising. Again, after all, ONE TEAM, right? However, during the 2nd set of yesterday’s Top 2, the phrasing was actually used, “Can ___ beat ___?!?” I don’t like that. That’s not in the spirit of Relay, in my personal opinion. (And yes, I’m really trying my best to not use names to protect both innocent and guilty parties… so I apologize if the vagueness is confusing.)
Then again… when I think “Spirit of Relay”, I think things exactly like what I said on my Facebook yesterday… genuine, passionate giving from your heart… no matter if that’s L$1, L$1,000, or L$100,000. It shouldn’t be about a title.. it should be about what that title means. How much was raised for Relay in an effort to fight the battle against cancer. It should be about more birthdays… not “how high can we push OUR team total”. It should be spreading the love to all teams and leaving people with a generally positive impression of Relay. Make people WANT to fight the fight with us.
That’s the thing that bothers me the most. For this competition, a lot of times, people are tp’d in by friends to listen, hang out, and help their favourite DJ by voting with lindens. A lot of them have never seen Relay before. So I’m most afraid that some will see situations like this… and the politics that went on behind the scenes… and the 2012 winner coming back to take the 2014 title from an amazing DJ with a heartfelt story who truly just wanted to Relay, who would’ve been setting a precedent as the first DJ from the Gorean team to win the Top DJ Competition… and who deserved it SO MUCH… When I get IMs like, “We should’ve known that we couldn’t beat the home team,” and “Did that seem like it was set up to you,”… when I see these heart-breaking, negative experiences, I have to wonder how many of those people who are having negative experiences are first-time relayers… and I have to wonder, the even more horrible question… how many of them are now last-time relayers and will not return? “If this is what RFL is about, then I don’t want to be a part.”
It’s reality folks… even I found myself asking, “Is this what RFL of SL is? Just more politics? I get enough of that elsewhere in my SL…”
I’m just so afraid of how many more birthdays will be lost… because of how many relayers may have been lost over the 3 years this has been running. I’d personally like to propose changes, but when I, even as a committee member, am met with responses like, “Good luck getting that to happen without a fight,” or “Good luck proving it wasn’t fair, even if I don’t disagree,”… I’m left to wonder if it’s just another hopeless case.
ANOTHER hopeless case.
*~* Be A Good Machine… *~*
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