By Mike Garrison
A Moment with Mike is a weekly opinion column where LiveRC’s Mike Garrison gives his take on hot-button issues, general topics, and conversations within the RC industry. The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of LiveRC.
I recently was contacted by a LiveRC viewer asking my thoughts about online and social media “roll calls” for upcoming races. At first, I didn’t really understand the question, and was confused as to why someone would or would not like roll calls? He went on to point out that roll calls are designed to boost an event and get a head count of racers attending, but often the people who respond aren’t the ones that are attending, but rather the ones who are not attending – the total opposite of what a roll call is designed for.
After thinking about it, I scrolled through social media finding various roll calls from races around the area, and he was right. There were very few replies of people saying, “I’ll be there!”, but numerous replies of people going to the lake, doing other activities, or the worst of all saying they are attending other R/C races.
To be honest, this is something I had never really noticed or thought about, but now that I have it is EXTREMELY frustrating to see.
The question posted for 99% of roll calls is – “Who IS attending this weekend’s race?”
Read the question again. What are the keywords? The keywords are “IS ATTENDING”. If you are sitting in a classroom and the teachers ask, “Will everyone who watches baseball on TV please stand up?”, are you going to stand up just to reply, “I don’t watch baseball, I like football better.”?
If you answered yes, you’re THAT guy – DON’T be THAT guy (or girl). The same goes with online roll calls for R/C races.
Or another example would be if you make a post asking who's coming to your party Friday night, and the only responses listed are people saying all of the other parties they are going to instead - what good is that doing for your party? None. Same for R/C car races. Again - DON'T be THAT guy.
What is the one thing that ALL R/C car racers need in order to race? Tracks. What is the one thing that ALL R/C tracks need to survive? Support. A roll call is designed to support the track by showing all of the people who ARE racing. If you can't attend a race that's understandable, but if a roll call is full of comments from people who are not attending, do you think that will make more people want to attend? No. Less people attending = less support of the track = less tracks = roll calls are hurting R/C racing.
As an R/C racing community the idea is to grow the community on all levels – local, regional, national, and global. We have already determined that there are too many “big races” taking places every weekend, and it is certain that at some point the race your attending will conflict with another. We also know that there is life outside of R/C car racing, such as going to the lake, watching your kids play t-ball, racing full-scale motorsports, and so on. If a track or a racer posts a roll call for an upcoming event – DO NOT respond with all of the reasons you aren’t attending. Respond ONLY if you ARE attending.
By responding that you are not attending you are not helping the event, the track, or the hobby to grow in general. Be mindful, support your local tracks and events, and share your weekend plans anywhere else – but not in an R/C event roll call.