While you're correct that you learn the most playing stronger players, I'd rather learn in practice games. If I enter a tourney, I prefer to at least be competitive. Plus there's a cap on the gap between two players, probably 200 elo max at the amateur level, up to which you can learn from the loss. Above this cap, it's more brutal than educational. I've played a 19xx or two, and I can assure you I learned next to nothing, and it wasn't fun either...!Also I encourage all players to come out and play in the bigger tournaments, my opinion is that while winning is not likely there's a lot to be learned playing higher level players. We also do a top vs bottom draw so you either get a really strong match to learn from like a 1900+ player (rec games will show fun build orrders i think) and/or you can play pretty competitive in first round with middles groups all probably between 100 pts of each other.
What's a top v bottom draw, btw? Where everyone is seeded, so the top players face the bottom players in the first round? This is obviously best for the tournament, but not really a selling point for weaker players.