"What we have here is a failure to communicate"
Matter of degrees, definition, and priorities here.
Chad and I do not sit there staring at the cooker and telling people to go away
We visit, we cook snacks for other teams, we visit, we tell "war stories", and we visit. We wander around and admire cookers. We look at the cook sites and support equipment and adjust ours when we find better set-ups.
Within the rules, we help other teams if they need it. Especially during the wee hours on Fri night into Sat AM.
We have even introduced several teams to Fatties and ABT's
What Chad was referring to is the image of teams with a keg who are consuming way too much libations to have any focus on the product!
Folks go to an event (or watch Food TV) and see lots of "team members" getting drunk, carousing, and carrying on. Trust me--those are not the cooks! Those are the "hangers on" or the sponsors-- not the cooks in most cases.
Every cook I have ever met (except two who never win) has stayed sober, stays focused on the goal, and gets every minute of sleep/rest they can muster. Not saying they do not have a drink--just very little if any.
So, let me try one more time:
If you view a competition as a party and if you have "deep pockets" to spend--go and party hard. Absolutly nothing wrong with that
Just realize that booze and fatigue lead to mistakes. Mistakes will cost you $$ at awards time--simple fact of life we have validated too many times!
If you have to save and skrimp to put up the $500 to $1000 to compete--go to win. You still can have lots of "fun" doing it. You just can not "party hard" and win.
And, no, you will probably not win the first few (or many) events you enter if they are larger sanctioned events. There are just too many great teams who have invested a lot of time and effort to get to the top. But, you look at the score sheets for strengths and weaknesses, review your cook notes (you did keep cook notes--right?) and start making changes to place you higher next time.
Chad and I have a lot of fun at events--it is just not a party like a Bash or a Backyard cook
We would never invest the time, trouble, and $$$ if it was not fun
You just have to define "fun"--that is all!
The product we cook at home is good stuff for sure. Competition meat is a whole different world.
As I have said many times--actually judging will give you much better information than just cooking. The two activities fit together to point you in the right direction.
The best way to get started is to just "go do it"