I resolved early this year that I was going to make a point of distancing myself from competitive Warhammer. I realised that competitive tournament play was not really what I was interested in, and that making a conscious effort not to get sucked into it was perhaps the best way to ensure that other things got more attention.
The majority of the regular Warhammer players at our club play competitively at tournaments. Actually, nearly everyone who has ever played Warhammer at the club has also played in tournaments, but those who have persisted with it as their main game (rather than keeping it as an occasional game and focusing on something else) tend to focus very heavily on attending events and trying to be competitive. As someone who has retained Warhammer as my primary game, I tend to get somewhat pulled along by this. I ended up attending several tournaments last year (6 if you count the ETC), as well as running one. This was slightly busier than normal, but for a very long time I would have been attending 4 or 5 tournaments every year.
For all that I have been attending plenty of tournaments, it's been quite a long time since I was going into an event looking to perform really well. I no longer make lists with the intent of winning the event, and when I get solid comp scores it's normally because I've just entered a list that deserved it (I'm not one of those trying to “ride the comp train” by sliding through a list that's sneakily tougher than it looks). Winning Axemaster last year was basically an accident, brought about by my list gradually toughening during the year as I painted more stuff that worked together to make the list better (many of them new toys that appeared with the current incarnation of the Empire army book). If had already had Demigryphs painted and no Spearmen, you probably would have seen my list getting weaker as I kept painting, rather than the other way around...
Anyway, some people probably don't understand entering a tournament without trying to do especially well in it, but from experience I can assure you that there are plenty of people who approach events with this mentality. Some people are just looking for a weekend full of gaming, and a bit of socialising. There was probably a time when I didn't really understand such people either, but now it seems I am one of them.