"Whoever holds the clipboard is in charge." I must have heard that when I was old enough for it to stick in my head, but young enough to not remember the specific who/what/where/when/why of it all. Who said this? In what context was it said? Where was I? When in time was this? And why would someone say that to me? Regardless, it stuck. And so I have had a clipboard for every event and job I've had a hand in.
I carried one when I was a Resident Assistant in college. As someone who was more likely to fade into the background than stand out as an "authority" figure, it was a symbol I was in charge, that I could handle whatever situation I was in, and hopefully that was a welcome and comforting sight for my residents. Bonus: great writing surface when going on rounds and needing to document something (or someone).
When I did my first day-of-coordinating gig back in 2012, the clipboard came with me. Not only did it have all the logistical info on it, just having it became some sort of a confidence booster. There's just something about holding a clipboard. It gives me the extra assurance that I do, in fact, know the answers to anything asked of me during an event. And if I don't, shuffling papers with a pen in my hand gives me time to make something up...even if it's just a "huh...I don't know but let me find out for you!"
Until recently, my preferred clipboard was oversized, which is always fun when packing my Event Essentials Bag or trying to get in into a carry-on. The metal bit sticking up always causes TSA to raise an eyebrow at me. It's traveled with me to DC, Maryland, Virginia, Vermont, New York, Colorado, South Dakota, California, and alll over Massachusetts (where I'm currently based).
And think about it! Who do you typically see holding clipboards? Teachers! Nurses! Coaches! Parking Enforcement! Doctors! All people who are, you know, in charge.
All this to say, there are plenty of times when YOU want to be the one with the clipboard. You want to be the one people come to with questions, the one who is in charge, who has all the answers. But if the days leading up to, day of, or days after a special event of yours is not one of those times, I'm here. 'Cause I love that shit.