I really like the current setup of 3 Championships - Junior Nationals, Nationals and Masters Nationals. There's one event where the focus is on schools and juniors, one where the focus is on the elites, and one where the focus is on the older age groups.
They all offer all courses so anyone can go to any of the events and participate, but it makes sense to me that many people will target one of the three events that caters to what they care about.
I am re-posting from another thread:
In reading the comments about championship events, I keep thinking that the "classic" format is something that should come back for all age classes. If juniors are racing in a championship, parents should be able to, also. If parents come for a master's championship, then juniors should be able to race in one, too. This is much more "family friendly" and the cost of extra medals would most likely be off-set by more participation. At the last Masters, only about half a dozen "families" were participating. There were about 40 entrants under the age of 20 but about half of those were West Point cadets.
With regard to the differences between S/M/L courses, I really wonder if there are different techniques. Yes, you have to learn how to read a sprint map as there are different symbols but then you have to deal with route choice. You have to deal with route choice on the other courses but the symbols are more familiar to older orienteers. The difference between a sprint course and a long course have to do with endurance or speed. If you run fast, sprint may be your forte, if you have endurance, the long may be better.
Another thought is that two day events (for those who can race both days) show consistency. You have to be good two days, not just one. It may be that in a single race, you were lucky (might have seen someone leave a control or whatever) but you have to be lucky two days or just good to win a two day event. It might be noted that PGA/LPGA tournaments are four rounds of golf. You have to be good for a number of rounds, not just one.
Sandy, and other folks, yes, the big 3 satisfy our ideals and constituencies, but is it working?
How do you rate the current state, and sustainability of each event?
Sandy is better connected than I am, but what I notice is dwindling attendance and enthusiasm (with the exception of Juniors?), no significant sponsorship or publicity, and sanctioning having to resort to "outside the box" measures like 2019 Champs in 2020, trying to entice organizers.
Currently no single event is the undisputed US Championships, which would offer the best possibility for publicity/promotion, attendance, sponsorship, and therefore real incentive/return for host clubs.
Presumably if we have an event and terrain that can accommodate sprint, middle, and long for open classes and/or TT and/or juniors, how hard is it to set two so-called "classic" courses over a weekend for the old people who want it?
There may be some middle terrains that aren't superlative for "classic" but most can be accommodated. Not enough room is another consideration in situations where you have a small, separate middle terrain, but that is not normally the case.
Setting aside the terrain considerations (rather solvable--but happy to be be proven wrong) the course setting aspects are very solvable.
Voila--one US Championship. What's wrong with that??
On the other thread, I suggested two championship events
1. The 'open' championship. Only two championship classes: M and F21. To be combined with team trials in forest WOC years. Result: one meet to determine the US champion orienteers. Non-championship races for other classes.
2. The 'age-group' championship. Championship classes for every age class except M21 and F21.
This keeps the field as strong as possible in M21 and F21 at the open championships (because all those fast 18s, 20s, 35s, and 40s can race without giving up the chance to earn their own age-group championship). And it ensures good races at the age-group championship - because this is not the national champs in M21, no need not to run M35.
Two meets, done. Any age class: only one national championship.
But part of the Junior Nationals is the school competitions that are really important to many of the juniors. This requires that juniors need to run certain courses to be eligible for the team scoring. Which means they can't run M/F-20 or M/F21. I would be really against getting rid of Junior Nationals.
I think what feet is suggesting is one meet that's the Junior Nationals, combined with the Masters. Nobody is eligible for both of those things. Then another meet that's the Open Champs, that has only two Championship categories, and "everybody", irrespective of age, shows up and runs M21 or F21. It's certainly a model that's used by other sports.
Are there practical drawbacks?
- There's a bunch of extra headache in the Junior Nationals because of the team scoring, which might be too much burden if combined with the Masters, but that's a problem that should be fixed or outsourced anyway.
- You likely can't have just two courses at the Open Champs/Team Trials, because you won't get enough attendance, so you have to set the other courses, but they're generic A-meet courses, not championships. If you're not worried about the attendance to pay the bills, then just two courses is fine.
- The M21/F21 categories at the Junior/Masters event are likewise generic A-meet events. That might require some time for some people to get their head around.
- it's perfectly legit for somebody to win a championship at the Junior/Masters, and also win the Open Championship. That's as it should be.
Is it a better outcome to marshal resources to have the best single national championship possible, or have another separate event just so the older and younger folks have a chance to double-dip and try for two championships? That seems unduly complex.
Again, the juniors can have their own courses under my scheme; they just can't try for another championship at another event. Because there is just a single US Championship.
Obviously, no one would go for this parsimonious solution as the tug of multiple championships and granular age groups on top is too much to resist. And so, we devolve.
But I re-read Sandy's post, and I see what she's saying: this basically kills the M/F20 championship category, because at the Junior Nationals you have to run a lower course for team scoring. One option is to add M/F20 to the Open Champs. Or... is there a separate JWOC Team Trials that could serve as the M/F20 Championship event?
Too many special interests to serve, it's these details that end up derailing this kind of reform effort every time it comes up. Guess I'll get some popcorn and watch it happen again.
So is it only the juniors participating in teams that have to run different courses than M/F20? Why can't all the M/F20s run the same course? Sorry for the obtuse question.
Basically, the team concept has everything dumbed down a little so that you can have people who aren't top-notch still able to participate. If the team courses were geared toward the best competitors, too many of the participants wouldn't be able to complete them, because the event draws a larger than usual number of inexperienced orienteers.
That's what I suspected. I guess it would be prohibitive for M/F20 to be contested on a dumbed-down version of their normal courses?
I may be in the minority here, but I don't think our national championships are the single-best means to prepare athletes for international competition, but I am sure that would be one rejoinder to this idea.
Just to confuse things a bit:
In 2019, the Jr. Nats format was M/L, with a separate sprint event for those participating in JWOC trials. That is also the plan for 2020.
In both cases, the High School Varsity and College Varsity competitors run the same M/L courses for JWOC trials purposes, but receive awards in their classes for Jr. Nats. Scores (not raw times) for both days count toward individual and team Jr. Nats totals.
I am for MORE championships! I miss the Long-O champs! I miss the Relay Champs. If there are fewer championships, that makes it more likely there will not be one nearby (depending on how you define that). The present 3 championships do not exclude anyone that I know of (maybe wrong here), I ran at the Jr champs, the SML champs and juniors were at the Masters.
As a competitor (ex), I am for more championships as well. Who isn't?
But somebody has to put them on, and this isn't happening, at least in my world. Events can't simply be decreed by a central government or philanthropy, which it appears we are learning the hard way. There needs to be incentive/reward for the organizer, and a recognition of market realities.
I am encouraged by the comments mentioning "single US Champs". I think this is a step in the right direction, although obviously many details remain to be addressed.
One of the issues with the UNO Masters was that few juniors showed up. Lots of volunteer effort went into the event but only about 20 juniors showed up. Why would they. It was during a school year and there were no medals available. Probably meant that some parents didn't come either because the kids didn't want to go. Make the event one that has medals for all. A classic event means that you need to do well on two days. It also means that if you have a small mistake on one day, you can make up for it. If we want families to be involved, they need incentive to be there.Do we want less incentive to go to meets or more?
My junior didn't go to the UNO Masters because it conflicted with the XC county champs. If it had been almost any other weekend, he'd have been there. There will always be conflicts with *something* for some group of people.
Maybe it's just a simple awareness thing though: perhaps a lot of juniors/parents of juniors didn't realize they could compete in a regular NRE event at Masters, just like non-juniors compete in NRE races at Jr. Nats.
Medals or no, an event that is on a 2-day weekend and is distant from an airport isn’t a good draw for families with kids in school that are outside the immediate area. Think of the timeline for someone flying from the west coast. With the time zone change, you’re taking Friday off from work and school. And then there’s the cost of 3+ trans-continental tickets. That might be worth it for someone aiming for JWOC, or someone with parents who drag them to every orienteering event possible, but not a reasonable expectation for normal families for an NRE. High-quality regional events might be a better focus.
I’m not opposed to combining championships, although I personally prefer S/M/real L to classics. But our current structure provides at least 3 high-quality events in a year, and hopefully at least one will be worth traveling to for those who are not as crazy about O-travel.
I bet NAOC will see some good numbers across all the classes!
As EricW has pointed out, our biggest problem is finding hosts for our Championships. It is not clear that this problem will be solved by changing the Championships structure. I am dubious about that. I would like to hear not what events you would like to compete in, but what event would your club be interested in hosting. Whatever the formats are, we need to find people to put on the meets. Who wants to put on a meet that includes not only the schools champs, but also Masters age groups and JWOC Team Trials? Will we find hosts for this?
If we go to a single Championships event that includes team trials, it will need to occur in a very specific time frame. Will clubs be lining up to host in that time slot that don't usually? Or will we just end up in Cincinnati every year? Will the teams be happy if the host club terrain isn't representative of that year's WOC terrain?
I'm not averse to changing the Championships structure. In general, I like that we've reduced the number of our Championships. I also think this discussion is premature. We haven't used the current system long enough to really understand whether it will work or not.
NAOC will see GREAT numbers across all classes.
1) because it is preceded by great series in Canada and the Bay area
2) because it is followed by the World Rogaine Championships
so the two big markets in our navigation sport set get a two or three-for-one
and 3) their terrain has been on many bucket lists for many years. One of my 1970s introductions to orienteering was a filmstrip and cassette set produced by Silva and on the box cover was a young orienteer studying his compass while overlooking a lake in the same type of alpine forest terrain. Since then I've always wanted to compete there.
But to the point. The previous Board did a good job in consolidating championships but part way through the job they seemed to considered it done. Too bad.
They needed to develop a schedule to rotate the three events around the country.
They needed to tell clubs that they want certain existing events to be certain championships in certain years.
They needed to make it easy for those clubs to say yes.
Only after the championship rotation is going with existing events will the new Board be able to encourage other clubs to 'step up to the plate'. For instance the Junior Nationals will be in Washington State this year. Cajole GAOC to make their Navigator Cup the Junior Nationals next year and perhaps Chicago or OCIN in 2022 then look to LAOC or SDO to be those hosts in 2023. And on the rotation goes.
I sure don't envy Jon Torrance that the old Board left the new VP of competition holding the bag for finding hosts for any 2020 Nationals. That must suck when he could be spending his time finalizing the hosts for 2022 and beyond.
"How do you rate the current state, and sustainability of each event?"
Here's what I see. Others may have better informed opinions.
NAOC- clearly stands on it's own. Nothing to mess with here
Junior Nationals- I believe this event also stands on its own. Yes, this as a sacred cow, but I believe it has always been economically viable (under previous names), and seems to have current momentum. Yes, it is full of issues, but they are best addressed internally. ...and no problem with these classes double dipping with championship awards.
Masters, Nationals- sorry, this is a damn mess, and the lack of hosts proves it. As others have commented, these are little more than regular A meets, Neither of these can attract the attention, focus, and ultimately attendance dollars and potential for publicity/promotion that a single "US Championships" would/could/ should, and has done in the well documented past. Granted, the numbers might be shrinking due to factors beyond our control, but the least we can do is to utilize the sinlgle best tool available to us.
Team Trials- This is another sacred cow, and a "must do" above all the others. It deserves to be prioritized, but unfortunately, unlike the Junior event has no economic viability, and never will. The numbers are not there. In addition it comes with high quality expectations and usually additional schedule constraints. This is money loser, a charity event. I think my record shows that this is my favorite charity O event, but we can't expect host clubs to do this out of the goodness of their hearts. If this event can be attached to a specific event proposal, all the better, but I think it is very problematic to include this event in this discussion, trying to package this with an event proposal that needs to be economically viable above all else.
I think feet's proposal, and other posts are headed in the right direction. The concept of a single 2 day event having the possibility of different formats for different classes is very useful. The main problem with feet's proposal is in the #1 event, having the "US champion" for M/F 21 associated with the poor attendance/money loser event. Who would want to host that, except as a charity. Sorry, but the #1 event seems like an overly complicated, and unnecessary distraction in this discussion. Do I understand correctly, only in every 2nd/ forestWOC year?!
If feet's #2 event is titled "The US Championship" and includes M/F 21, and incorporates formats to be negotiated, I can support the concept wholeheartedly, and encourage thread leader PGoodwin and others to run with it.
In addition I'd like to introduce he concept of letting the host organizer have input on the formats, partly as related to the terrain, but also to empower the host club to decide what is in their best interest.
As a practical matter, OUSA is not in a position to offer multiple premium quasi championship events. Its all we can do to get one. Please, lets offer the best incentive we can to support that event, and if we end up with two competing proposals, we have a problem to celebrate. If this ever happens, then we can debate what additional championship events we can add (Relay, Ultra long Night...)
what would it take to merge 35 and 40 age categories? Maybe it's doable.
I wonder there is any value in establishing windows on the calendar when events could be held during the course of the year. For many years the Ontario Championships has been held on Canadian Thanksgiving weekend in October. ROC always knew to leave that weekend open so our members could attend. West Point and the Billygoat are also examples of meets held about the same time each year that have survived for years.
I understand this might limit the participation of certain clubs due to access and weather conditions, but it seems like we need to start someplace.
Perhaps the US Championships in the Fall and the Jr. Nationals in the Spring.
Once we have established the windows we could start to recruit clubs to host.
If exceptions are made to allow a club to host at another time of year i.e. Florida/Texas etc. there should adequate notification a year or two before the event.
Without some agreed upon structure and calendar it seems like we will be "spinning our wheels" forever.
If I understand feet's proposal, the M/F21 event, which would serve as the Team Trials, would be constrained in scheduling every other year (when there is a forest WOC), and should ideally be in relevant terrain. In the intervening years it would be held, would not be a team selection event, and would be unconstrained. That's not so bad.
I believe that the Rules provide enough flexibility that the event could either have just two courses/classes, or a full complement (or anywhere in between, actually), depending on the circumstances of the host club. Having a full NRE would bring in more income, having just the two elite classes could present less of a logistical challenge.
I don't want more championships. While I was coaching, it was easier to travel to national events. But with a job and the cost of traveling around the US, I would have to skip multiple championships if we made more, not to mention the European races I need to compete at to reach a higher level.
Not a proposal, just another comment to feed the brainstorming:
As an M21 who is currently working to compete at the highest level, NAOC is the only championship in North America I care about. I wish this weren't the case, but that's where it stands now.
As Gswede says: if you have fewer championships, you will get a better field at those championships, and they will mean more.
Yes, my proposal was as jjcote puts it two posts above. You are going to have the team trials run anyway in forest WOC years, usually with the strongest M/F21 field of the year. Why not admit that and call it the championship in those open classes?
And then have a single event which is clearly the championship for other classes?
In particular, no duplicate Masters champs and Individual champs which both serve as championships for classes above M/F21.
And no duplicate championships for junior age classes. If interscholastics needs to be protected, then return to 'interscholastics and intercollegiates' for the name of the (combined) meet now called junior nationals. And then put the actual individual championships for junior age classes at the same event as the masters.
Rather than going back to "US Interscholastic and Intercollegiate Championships" (IS/IC), how about renaming the Junior Nationals as "School Nationals" or "US School Championships" (I think DVOA might have used the latter when they hosted the IS/IC in 2015)
Agree with these last three posts totally. But in addition the major events need a great campsite/amenable climate so families can spend the weekend together. This year in Europe reminded me why Orienteering holds an important memory in my childhood and why I enjoyed the sport. I've never been to a US event where there's an event campsite. (Not been to NAOC but I've noted on entry there isn't one). Kids love playing with other kids. Especially on campsites. Even teenagers like hanging out around campfires. Every Major Championship has this feature. Just $20 more in a farmers fallow field would suffice. From my own experience, my kids would be desperate to be at the next event.
(Maybe not ideal for a schools championship. Too competitive and stressful for the chaperones)
Ah, back in the days of the Rocky Mountain 1000-Day... especially when we were all camping behind the corral at the town park in Lake George...
NAOC 2016 had camping adjacent to the Middle venue.
Most Rogaines have camping available.
Not all O venues in the US have a "farmer's fallow field" nearby. In fact, I'd guess most don't. Too much private property in the US.
Yep. Sorry. Terrible idea.
one big scary word any farmer in the US would probably think about: liability
1) What you really, really, really should have is ...
A single 3-day US Championship for all AGE classes that includes:
* A Sprint for all age classes
* M+L for M21/F21 and younger
* Two-day classic for M35 and up
2) What you should also have (if you feel like it) is ...
i) A two-day SCHOOL-based competition called Interscholastics/Intercollegiates or some synonym (but not Junior Nationals because "Junior" is explicitly age-based and doesn't include many college athletes).
ii) A team trials event (together with US Nationals or not depending on the selection needs).
The current over-abundance of US Championships for a given age category dilutes the field strength, makes the events less appealing, reduces the value of winning any of those championships.
Don't dismiss the campsite idea. It is an important feature when it can be arranged. Temporary campsites have proven popular at Ottawa OC's last two major events and have helped sell the events to host municipalities who have provided the campsite grounds and I assume profited from our presence. In return the municipalities have been generous in support of the championship coming to their community.
It hardly needs be said how important camping facilities are to many orienteers balancing cost vs benefit of attending an event.
Is it really important to have a fixed format? Given the realities of US orienteering (few clubs willing to organize large events), wouldn't it make sense to be as flexible as possible? Hold one championship a year and let the organizing club decide on the format based on their preferences and available terrains. Some clubs may not have terrains suitable for true middle or long races or urban sprints, for example. Perhaps specify a few different formats and a scoring procedure for each to determine a single champion in each age group and let the club choose between these formats. Most good orienteers are good at all kinds of orienteering anyway, so as far as determining the best, the format does not really matter, at least below the world championships level.
I think we see so few juniors at A-Meets and other Ranking Events because Rankings were removed as part of JWOC selection criteria..
I do like current Championships events structure.
I enjoy Classic 2 Days the most.
Most good orienteers are good at all kinds of orienteering anyway, so as far as determining the best, the format does not really matter...
Maybe, but the right question is: do they care for all kinds of orienteering?
Re the Champs, the only real one is the two-day Classic.
It seems like this thread is dying. The last two posts are what I completely agree with. Can't we go back to the individuals and the classics? Oh, with the Junior/Scholastics thrown in?
? Isn't the exact problem that the individual champs and the classic champs are different, so that it is not clear which one is primary and therefore the field is split between the two. ?
So feet described the problem in having both and I fully agree with him.
For me the de facto US championship is NAOC. No other US Championship brings together the highest level of competition nor carries the importance necessary to make tapering seem worthwhile.
On another note, I think the whole purpose behind this thread represents a larger problem in the sport in the US. I'm all for discussions about the pros and cons of different options in a small forum. But if this is serious, shouldn't we survey the entire OUSA membership?
Of course you survey the membership and help the Board take action.
Just accept Attack Point for what it is: a great sounding board, nothing more.
If I read that someone on the O-USA Board was saying to the others "I read this discussion on AP. We've got to change our championships structure again." I'd be very disappointed.
If you want great opinions (and not so great opinions) go to Attack Point.
If you want action go to the Board.
While Canada doesn't have the 'issue' of multiple championships like the US, it does have the issue of the Canadian Champs often being hosted at times that conflict with the international elite orienteering schedule. For example this year the Canadian Champs are a direct conflict with both WOC and WUOC. As such, not all of Canada's best will be at the Canadian Champs.
Co-ordinating a better race schedule is, in part, why I started the NorAm elite orienteering thread late last summer. In that thread the idea of an annual split NAOC (sprint odd years, forest even years) was discussed as a way to increase elite participation and also double as a team trials (or a major part of that TT process) for the following year WOC. It could also triple/quadruple as the US and Cdn elite champs though that may or may not be ideal.
I've often wondered if a (non NAOC) champs weekend in North America would be 'more interesting' if it followed the Troll Cup format (also used in some Ottawa O-Fest weekends) with Saturday being an interval start race and Sunday being a chase start. By calling the Sat and Sun races 'time trial' and 'pursuit', respectively it gives more latitude to alter the winning times to better suit the different age groups (for example is there much difference in middle and long for juniors under 16?). Having middle and long for age groups between 17 and 49 and two days of classic for -16 and 50+ might work better. Maybe, maybe not? If the answer is yes then you solve the problem of multiple US Championships. My $0.02
I'm at a loss for what to add to feet's point. If you have two championships, then neither one is The Championship, and won't generate interest. If this wasn't clear in the abstract, check the evidence.
I don't expect a survey will yield a different solution. I accept that the current two (three?) champs situation is a genuine reflection of popular opinion, which is not significantly different than the array of preferences voiced on on AP.
The current multi-champs lineup is already a perfectly good, well intended, political compromise.
Unfortunately the situation requires more than that, most importantly the recognition of the supply & demand shortcomings of trying to promote "separate but equal" championships.
Scheduling and format issues are interesting, and need to be addressed, but are secondary in importance to the demonstrated need to (re)establish a single Championship event.
We need to ask our leaders to look beyond person preferences, and political expediency, and think about what will actually work, what will generate proposals to host, and what will generate optimal attendance which are directly related.
I disagree with Eric. The individual championships award the person who is fastest in the spring, the middle or the long on a one day event. The classic says that you have to be good for a longer period of time. Luck is less of an issue, you don't happen to see someone go into a control and therefore win. It is less probable with a two day championship. These are different events! As I said before, they have the pro golfers play four days of 18 holes. You can't get lucky on one day and win.
Pretty unlikely that seeing somebody go into a control is going to give you a victory. This is a game of skill. If you win by luck, then your category was soft to begin with.
Why reopen this debate again? I have attended many of the National Champs in the past few years and my sense is that the current championship lineup is popular with the competitors. Instead of continuing these multiyear long debates, why don’t you all lobby your clubs to host a championship? The complainers need to stop complaining and start organizing.
The competition format is fun to discuss, but the immediate, critical issue for the US orienteering community is that all our championships are poorly attended and clubs are reluctant to organize. 195 people was the average total participation at the US Nationals S/M/L during the last four years. 230 was the average attendance at the Masters Nationals in 2018-19. It is understandable if clubs are hesitant to organize national championships for only 200 people…
Thus, to echo EricW, the objective should be to create a premier national championship that can deliver greater participation, competitive fields, and better incentives for clubs to organize high quality events. A single US Championship for all age groups, which also includes Team Trials, may be the best way to achieve that.
A separate issue is the Championship competition format. Maybe an alternative could be to have S/M/L in the forest WOC years and Classic two-day competition in between?
For reference, below is a table listing the number of registered participants at the US Nationals S/M/L (source: EventReg):
Year - Total - M21 - F21
2019 195 - 17 - 9
2018 208 - 21 - 6
2017 162 - 10 - 8
2016 214 - 23 - 13
2015 403 - 34 - 13
2014 399 - 32 - 12
2013 408 - 49 – 20
Better maybe would be relay/M/L in Forest years. Sprint/Classic in Sprint WOC years. The latter could be over two weekends/championships. To allow multiple races in an urban environment for Sprint Champions/Team trails.
Australia has both single and multi-day championships, with more or less equal status. That allows us to have two major carnivals each year, one in our autumn (the 3 Days at Easter), and one in Spring (the Long and Relay Champs). The Middle and Sprint Champs are usually in Spring, but every 4th year we also host the Oceania Regional Champs in Spring, so the Middle and Sprint migrate to the Easter carnival that year. All the events are for all age classes, but the elite classes receive the most coverage in commentary and media reports. During the Spring carnival, the Australian School Champs (sprint, classic and relay) are held mid-week - but other classes run the courses later in the day.
Reading our magazine
will give you an idea of the breadth of the two carnivals (December issue for the Spring carnival and June issue for the Easter carnival). Note that the Easter 3 Day includes a sprint prologue, making it 4 days for elites, and usually has middle distance format on Easter Saturday, long distance on Sunday, and relay distance on Easter Monday.
Travel issues are similar, given the comparable size of Australia and the USA. Both carnivals seem to attract a similar entry (500 - 1000) including all elites except for those based overseas (mainly Scandinavia).
So my suggestion would be to keep your multi-day event - but make it 3 instead of 2 days (makes it more worthwhile for people to travel), and hold it at a different time of year to the one day events.
An interesting cultural difference: in the USA, we have some people who go ballistic if anyone suggests scheduling even a minor event on Easter.
And school spring breaks aren't always during the same week.
West Point very often held their annual event over Easter weekend back in the day. If it was an issue for you, you didn’t go (as I recall they offered a sunrise service on the lake). Though, a Champs might be a different issue.
Sure is a cultural difference JJ. Do your big 4 (football, baseball, basketball, hockey) play over Easter or on other public holidays?
@ JanetT - all of our states and territories also have different school breaks, but they still manage to get a team to the nationals.
There's no football on Easter, it's out of season. The other three? I don't know, I'm not much of a sports fan. Hmm, a quick search indicates that there are baseball and basketball games scheduled on Easter this year, and hockey apears to be a little more complicated because the regular seson ends a week before that and I don't know if the playoff schedule is determined yet. Other holidays, I'm pretty sure the answer is yes, not sure about Christmas. Thanksgiving and New Years are big days for football.
Christmas is a big NBA day. Marquee matchups and recently (but not in 2019 for some reason) special uniforms.
Simmo is there a sensitivity to sport on Anzac Day?
we have some people who go ballistic if anyone suggests scheduling even a minor event on Easter.
About the only thing I can say for sure reading this thread is someone will go ballistic no matter what you suggest.
I think the only day in the US without any major sporting events is the 4th of July.
J-J, I wonder if Easter is still so objectionable. I know Tucson would hold their monthly meet on Easter if they happened to fall on the same day, and the only objection I ever heard was from me (Catholics pay well for brass players on major holidays).
May Day is replacing Easter as the holiday on the westcoast
We've always had (local) meets on Easter despite the objections, often organized by people whose last names suggested that they were Jewish. National meets are less common. On the other hand, I once heard a Jewish orienteer suggest (seriously) that there should be a rule prohibiting national meets on Jewish holidays.
I found a couple of web references saying that the only two days that have no major league sports in the USA are the day before the MLB All-Star Game, and the day after. There are 15 baseball games scheduled for July 4 this year.
Wow I was really wrong on that one. So the actual prime dates are surrounding the MLB All-Star Game, with a rest day for the game itself and a watching party for the homerun derby.
gruver I think it varies in each state, but there used to be legislation prohibiting the charging of a fee to watch sport, and specifying that events on Anzac Day make a donation to the Returned Services League. For several years since that legislation was changed, the Australian Football League has held an Anzac Day match between two of the biggest clubs (Collingwood and Essendon), which attracts more than 80,000 fans to the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
When Anzac Day falls near Easter, there is usually an event during the orienteering carnival - as there was last year
. Such events are always in the afternoon though.
An interesting reflection is that attendances at Anzac Day dawn services would totally dwarf church attendances over Easter. Possibly the same in Enzed?
Several BAOC members go ballistic over the suggestion that a meet be held on Mother's Day.
Holding a meet on Mother's Day seems to be forbidden (by custom, not by written rule) in our club. But there are usually no qualms at all about holding a meet on Father's Day.
they were Jewish
Let's refresh English. They were Jews, or they were Jewish orienteers.
Predicate adjective. I am American. I am an American. I am an American orienteer. I am Swedish. I am a Swede. I am a Swedish orienteer. None of those is gramatically incorrect (although my credentials as a Swede are somewhat iffy).
The Billygoat has often been held on Mother's Day. There have often been people unhappy about that.
July 4th baseball games have special uniforms, too. (As do all games on the weekends of Mother's Day, Father's Day, Memorial Day, and Armed Services Day).
And Canadians (or Canadianish? I have terrible grammar), before you ask, the Blue Jays wear all of the same special jerseys, except instead of red/white/blue July 4th uniforms, they wear red July 1st uniforms.
It’s Canadonians, thanks.
I love spending my Mother's Day running the Billygoat.
My mother-in-law is less happy about the scheduling (def not an orienteer).
I love the Billygoat on Mother's day, too.
The year I was the Head Goat, I brought my mother along and had her pouring drinks at the water stop. That was very enjoyable.
I'm enjoying this thread:-))
Simmo, I think Anzac service attendance is certainly growing - several generations on from Gallipoli. I think there's a custom to delay fun stuff such as sport until after midday, which may go back to old laws about business opening hours. Maybe pubs.
Afterthought. I'm running an event on Waitangi Day which commemorates the founding document of our modern governance. Better do some research. "There are three and a half days when almost all shops must be closed. Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Day, and Anzac Day before 1pm." But the relationship between law and custom is loose.
No problems with running events on Australia Day gruver, but Waitangi was the signing of a treaty; Australia Day was an invasion
It amuses me that we are now talking about Mother's Day when the discussion started about what championship events were good or bad and whether there were issues with how they are presented and, therefore, how many people are going to them. The Masters don't give awards to people under 35 so those people don't go. The Junior events don't attract older people. The S/M/L champs are hard for some clubs to run. How do we get a championship program that works? How do we get more clubs to hold national events? Maybe, those who went 20 years ago are just getting older and not wanting to bother (or they aren't able to run any more). These events help OUSA's bottom line so something needs to be done to get more of these events. What is that something?
Do you have evidence that an 18 year old won't go to any race because they won't get a medal for placing 3rd out of 3?
Just myself personally, I'm more motivated by a good field than some medal. That and terrain first and foremost.
The Masters don't give awards to people under 35 so those people don't go.
I can attest to juniors existing who could absolutely care less about the metal around their neck, with them things stuffed away in ziplock bags, somewhere at the bottom of a drawer. They care far more about their stacks of maps, caring about how they did, about comparing, about all that stuff. They care about who else is coming. They care about how can they go and yet still afford it. Is there a couch they could stay on, is there someone they can share a room with.
And there is that list up there about how many attendants less year after year. But that is such a simplistic list, what it is missing is the date for every event, location, how close to school starting up again, or a week after Labor Day, or consideration of mid-terms. There are juniors who can travel with family, but there are many aspects that make it difficult for those who would want to come without a parent (every non-orienteering parent travelling with an athlete just doubled the travel costs). They need rides, someone to check them into a hotel (some hotels require you to be 21! to be able to check in. There are thus 2 categories of juniors one needs to take into account, those with an orienteering family and those without.
Juniors also often cannot afford to go to so many events in a year. I know that if it could afford to go to more, I would, but it's just not realistic. Andrea is right when she says that many of us don't care about the awards, we really just want to get out in the woods and have some good competition.
I mean, seriously, who is motivated by the junk we give to the winners?
Citation for people under 35 don't go to the Masters is evident in the results from the OlderDash, the 2019 Masters Championship. Cost is an issue, time away from school is an issue and where the event is held is an issue. This has always been true. It used to be that A-Meets (now National Meets) were money makers for clubs allowing them to pay for a high quality map. Now, fewer people show up. Maybe there are just too many other things competing for everyone's time and money. However, the recent changes in the championship formats did not seem to help.
Could it be, possibly, that there are just fewer younger orienteers?
gswede, I thought we were ignoring that elephant.
PGoodwin, it's not the numbers that need a citation it's the reason. You claimed that young people weren't going because they weren't eligible for the Master awards. Could be, but that doesn't seem like the likeliest explanation. (See Gswede's post above.)
How about we have more local events that young people can go to without having to fly or drive for hours and stop arguing about championships? After all, what's the point of having championships if there's no one to compete against?
Also, a good number of younger orienteers are in school programs (like JROTC) and those programs will sponsor travel to Junior Nationals but not other random NREs, championship or not.
If finding clubs to host championship events is the problem, I think combining all the championship events into one will only make it worse. I don't see larger attendance and hence more revenue outweighing the demands of all the extra work.
Yeah, before we start rearranging the deck chairs of the champs format, we should really be analyzing the overall orienteering participation trends. Perhaps the decline in attendance at US Champs isn't because of the format, but because it's mirroring declines elsewhere.
We have 26 years of national meet participation (with birth years, too) over on the US rankings website. And O-USA collects the amount of starts from each club each year, so it shouldn't be too hard to plot those year-over-year.
I remember that I shared some graphs here in 2013, which showed just how much the orienteering population at national meets had aged since 1999. I suspect that in the past 7 years, those trends have continued, and that's contributing to the decline of attendance.
I did some of that in the past, too, just for DVOA (now very dated) but also some simple trend stuff at the US Champs.
Remember this event: http://cnyo.us.orienteering.org/cnyo/2001/A-meet/U...
or this one: https://rankings.orienteeringusa.org/rslt/2000_blu...
A bit different these days.
Sure, some background decline is part of the picture, along with event location, but please, not on the order of the roughly 50% numbers in a couple years documented above.
"combining all the championship events into one"
There is a huge difference between this, and the concept of having one Championship.
This is a very important consideration.
There is extra work only if it is defined into the event description, and I completely agree, it should not be.
The burden of putting on an A event with raised expectations commensurate the title, is enough of a responsibility.
The Championship description needs to be simple, and not burdensome.
This is also the rationale for empowering hosts to have some input into the event.
Let the host decide which complications (formats, date restrictions, adding TTrials, etc), are worth the effort.
Agreed, we need a Championship prescription that is sustainable. Right now that means being host-oriented. They are holding the cards.
For me a huge negative thing about SML Champs is M-L-S format , used for "publicity", with Sunday basically empty, as I am not interested in urban sprints. On the other hand, Friday is the day of arrival, a work-week day.
It's not event attendance, it's not country-specific, and it's not about championship structure, but the rate* of comments on AP from ~2017-2019 is less than half of what it was during ~2010-2014.
In other words, it's possible to believe that the 50% attendance at US Champs isn't because of the format. (Or conversely, one could believe that the change in US Champs did
create a big reduction in attendance and
caused all of AP to collectively shut up.)
* I don't have any under-the-hood access at AP, so perhaps I'm misrepresenting. I'm just taking a look at snapshots of this page
from the Internet Archive.
Didn't you get the memo that we need to pretend orienteering is not a dying sport?
I believe discussion counts log posts, a reduction in which I would speculate is affected more by FB and Strava than orienteering popularity.
I think it's only comments (on training logs, events, and public forum threads).
If it's also counting log posts (eg training), then there are currently only 15 people on AP averaging one training per day, which I find hard to believe.
Trainings (and non-training notes) are down ~20% per my probably-not-perfect research, which I'd partially attribute to places like Strava and Garmin Connect. Orienteers with active logs are also down about ~20%, which seems consistent.
I think Mr. W was also talking about comments posted on training logs. I'm one of the people making fewer comments now, and it's because a bunch of my adventure racing friends moved to Strava so we're not commenting on each other's logs anymore. This also makes the Adventure Racing Discussion Forum fairly quiet too.
Ah, makes sense.
For the record, when comparing snapshots of that page, I was comparing the trends of the 10th-most, 20th-most, 50th-most, and 100th-most commenter in the rankings, irrespective of who they were. All of them were down ~55-60% from peak.
I wasn't comparing all comments by everyone each year, and because I started with 10th-most, I wasn't comparing the super-commenters, either (sorry, Bash, you're always #1, haha).
I’d be embarrassed but it’s my only chance to be #1 at anything on AP so I’ll take it! :D
My AP friends number has halved (even though I've borrowed some Americans) due to them having: either small children, Strava accounts, or both :(
Interesting that the IOF is also having trouble finding hosts. Bidding has been reopened for several championships.https://orienteering.sport/orienteering/internal/e...
OUSA needs to start awarding prizes made from real bronze, silver, and gold!
At both championships SML and 2x Classic. Alternating between two coasts.
We may see participation increasing order of magnitude when value of award would meet cost of the travel.
200 or so who are regulars at the USA championships and 20 or so who are regulars at the World masters from the USA are just fine for me.
Another of my favorites Shooting sport that I am practicing is even in worse state. USAS championships in all disciplines combined are attended by less than 200 participants.
In reality it all boils down to the state/government support of the sport. Through the educational state system. Otherwise it will be always a niche sport.
Bronze is cheap. Silver and gold are only valuable if you're willing to melt them down, but they would cost a lot. Expensive doesn't necessarily mean valuable. :-)
Not even Olympic gold medals are made of gold.
Thanks for the comment re MLS, Yurets.
As to the MLS format for this year's Nationals - we had to do the campus sprint on Sat or Sun because of classes and congestion on Friday. Given the choice between Sat and Sun, and the fact that many people always seem in a rush for early Sun starts and to get off on their flights or drives home, we felt it was best to have the shorter event Sun morning.
Regarding both OUSA and IOF having trouble finding hosts, the complexity and cost of organizing events has increased dramatically. For example, the results and finish technology requires increased volunteers and expense. It was also much easier to find suitable venues if you were organizing only a single championship (say night or ultra-long) in conjunction with a day or two of "regular" national meets. Plus of course the extra pressure (at least to some organizers) of multiple championships that have to be "perfect" (not saying that every national meet shouldn't also have top standards). Simultaneously, the population of those who organize these events is also both aging and declining in number.
Personally, I've always been a fan of more championships. Sure, I understand that to some of you, it doesn't "mean as much" if there are more of them, and that perhaps you can't travel to them all. But, I still think that having more opportunities to orienteer, more opportunities to win awards that some people (not everybody) value, and more variety of format and discipline is a good thing.
Given the extra demand and pressure associated with Championship events, wouldn’t having fewer of them potentially free up some of the energy for hosting more events?
Seems like OUSA champs has about as many participants as the Nydalens SK club champs, but I'm pretty sure the competition is way stiffer, in almost all classes (?), here in Oslo. :-)
Can vouch for that statement. I ran in the NSK club champs six times and never once "medaled". Much tougher competition than almost any US Champs I have competed in.
Not understanding this statement:
For example, the results and finish technology requires increased volunteers and expense.
Compared to what? Pin-punching? Maybe you can elaborate.
One example: live video results screen$ and radio control$. Yes they are cool, but expecting them (and complaining when they aren't offered) has become the norm.
And yes, for smaller clubs, the multi-thousand dollar investment in E-punching, and learning to use the technology can be daunting. I'm not suggesting that championships ever go back to pin punching.
But its easier for a club that's done a couple national events to get their feet wet by adding a single day championship (such as a night or ultralong or even a relay) than having to do a 3 day SML or a junior nationals that has to include both intercollegiate and interscholastics with all of their special rules, plus a JWOC trials with more special rules and complexity. The master's nationals (2-day classic) probably is currently the easiest national championship to organize.
Video screens and radio controls are nice but the OUSA Rules do not require them (I checked). And they can be hired if you want to spend the money (and then include it in the entry fee).
I'm happy with printed and posted paper results. Anything beyond that is a nicety, although if you're hosting NAOC, some people might expect more.
As long as you leave room between pages and use a large enough font so people can actually read them I prefer this technique to TVs crowded under tents or tarps.
I agree with MIke. As I said earlier, I liked the various championships. We couldn't get to them all, but there was a chance some would be nearby so we could attend something different (Night, Relay, Long) which had some good organization and interesting course design.
Despite what we would wish, pin punching and cards were low tech which anyone could work with. You didn't need personnel with training and expertise in computers and radio and video to get the results up. Plus, the "equipment" was inexpensive, any club could afford it.
I really like epunching and computer results and the display screens, just love the GPS tracking at WOC, but we should be honest that this has not made things more efficient or easier.
As for less championships freeing up time for more meets, is there any evidence for that ?
The claim was that epunching would make life so much easier. I was rightfully skeptical.
Mike seems to suggest that the only options for a smaller club are host a big championship weekend or don't host anything. Many clubs continue to host non-Championship NREs and the single day NRE program has allowed a number of smaller clubs that didn't host before to begin doing so. These provide a way for a club to host at whatever level of complexity they choose.
In addition to video screens, etc., being expected, I recently saw a case where a club was interested in hosting the Masters Champs, and the powers-that-be provided requirements that included food trucks. No joke.
What? I am on the sanctioning committee, and I have not seen that requirement. What are you talking about, J-J?
At this point I think it's a reasonable expectation that championship races will have e-punching. Video screens that auto-update are pretty cool and radio controls are helpful to feed info to a live announcer who's trying to make the finish area interesting. I'm one of those people who's old enough to not really feel these are necessary to make it interesting for me. But at the same time I can understand those who are trying to build in an arena atmosphere in an effort to make this sport competitive with others for participants.
The point I was trying to understand however was the one about the technology requiring increased volunteers and expense. From observations over the past several years it appears that host clubs can hire someone who will show up with the equipment and produce results for a fee, which can be built into the entry fees just like is done in so many other sports. Maybe I'm missing something but that sounds like a decrease in required volunteers and a pass-through on the extra expense.
Doesn't that make the job of hosting the meet easier not harder?
Not every club has someone who can do that within easy driving distance. The experts are near the places with well established clubs. It might be pretty expensive to get one to drive their vanload of gear to a more remote club.
Have any of the 1-day (fee waiver) NREs been done without e-punching?
Perhaps one could get by with pin-punching at one of them, but for multi-day events -- championships or otherwise -- e-punching is pretty much universally expected. Real-time results on monitors, not as much. Radio controls? Maybe for championships...
When e-punching was newer, my recollection was that you were trading off more preparation work/time for less during the event. Pin-punching was much more labor-intensive: recording finish times, matching finish times with punch cards, checking punches, calculating elapsed times;
plus, eventually, everything had to be typed for publishing results and rankings. Collecting controls, however, was somewhat easier with pin punching, especially if stands weren't used.
Video results displays require a lot of time/effort to set up, and take down, but relatively little during the event (as compared to dealing with printed results) -- except when something goes wrong.
OK, epunching does indeed make life _much_ simpler!
Cristina can vouch for the fact that I have organized _many_ races, with 100-500 competitors, and at least up to the 200+ starters level, done it all by myself.
This is without pre-registration, i.e. everyone checks in with their EMIT card when they arrive, pay the starting fee with cash or Vipps (cell phone payment), go to the start, run the race and download the EMIT data afterwards.
When most people have finished I'll usually upload the preliminary results (that's a single click), then repeat the process when the last guy returns so that I can go for a final run and collect the controls. I can also do this regularly, allowing people to see the results on their cell phones shortly after finishing, but most competitors are happy to get the splits printout at the finish and then the full results an hour later when they get back home.
For a more important event I'd like to have a helper on the start to make sure that people start when they should.
PS. I usually have hanging EMIT controls, no stands, since that makes it far easier to carry 20-30 controls!
I am interested in the comments related to adding the cost of the extra technology such as computer screens and remote radio controls to the cost of the entry. A few years ago, there was great push-back when OUSA was going to increase the sanctioning fees. It may be that the sanctioning fees were visible while the other extra costs are not obvious. At the same time, travel, car rental and motels is generally a much larger cost for a competitor than the entry fees.
Example: if it costs, say, $600 to hire Valerie and her equipment for a championship and you expect 500 people to sign up, add a buck or so to the entry fee that you've already calculated will cover your other expected costs. Every national event should include a budget (new mapping? Signs, supplies, snacks, port-a-johns, park use fees, etc., etc.) to help a club determine the fees they'll charge.
500 people showing up would be quite nice. Some national events are more like 150.
Attendance would be better if we knew where 2022 championships will be held and at what dates. I looked yesterday, but could not figure what map 2020 championships will happen on.
Which 2020 championships?
Clubs certainly have accounting options when they apply costs for extraordinary 'one-time' events.
For instance Ottawa OC does not apply mapping costs 100% to the event. They know, correctly, that the map costs can be earned back over continued use of the map in later years.
As to the bells and whistles of SI systems my small Florida club, Suncoast Orienteering, purchased its SI system partly through donation from a local fan and partly by a loan that has been repaid over the next few years. Results monitors? We use them every event displaying results on monitors purchased for about $49 each from Goodwill. They are not V Meyer quality but they are clearly good enough. If / when we can bring a major event to Florida we would use the same system and thanks to FLO's Blaik Mathews we would offer live tracking and comprehensive replay through Livelox. How many others can do that?
The nationals, I got the map info, but cannot find the schedule info.https://orienteeringusa.org/event-directory/flying...
Friday afternoon (April 3) middle at McFarlan (Bicentennial Park), Sat long (Apr 4) at Miami Whitewater, Sun morning (Apr 5) sprint at NKU.Locator Map
is here. The event information and registration pages should be open in a few days.
No Masters Champs seem to be scheduled? Wonder if that will change.
If I were a betting VP Competition, I would prefer to wager that that will change than not, but the specific way I anticipate change will likely come about is by no means a done deal yet.
For National Masters, add times from Apr 3 and Apr 4 together. Voila - 2 day classic. With the US Nationals and US Masters Nationals at the same place on the same weekend, you might get all the best orienteers to show up rather than splitting the field between the two events :-).
That would work too well. It can't be done.
Other than the inconvenience of having the Two-Day be on a Friday-Saturday... nah, never mind, that's crazy talk.
(Of course, it's not really "splitting the field" when the people in question are in different categories.)
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