Time for an update on the "marathon money" and how it will be put to use. For background, see the original idea
and the wonderful response
to it. And then very recently, now 15 months after the marathon, a couple of rants by yours truly in this log about the lack of progress.
Note that rants on AP don't tend to accomplish anything other than usually pissing some other people off, so to the extent it did that, I apologize. However, there was also a good bit of follow-up, and then decisions. And all of that part has been productive and I think has gotten us to the right place.
So, there have conversations/e-mails with Peter Goodwin, Glen, Bill Langton (head of the Junior Team ESC), Erin, Barb, and a number of other folks who share an interest in having the best junior team possible, both now and in the future. Because it's fun to have more young people in the sport, and it's cool when they get a lot better.
It seemed there were three options for the use of the money (roughly 21-22K). The first, as perhaps many expected and I also expected when the idea was first hatched, was to support the 2015 JWOC team. The "problem" was that so much was donated that when they asked me for my opinion on how to spend it, I waffled, thinking 22K is a lot to throw at the 2015 JWOC team, so I muttered something about making the junior program both better and broader, and pretty much forgot about it.
That was interpreted as my not wanting to just spend it on the JWOC team, so it wasn't, and for quite a while things were in limbo as various other options were considered.
The second option seemed to revolve around the concept of a bunch of "training camps" for juniors scattered around the country, though there was concern about the process of making them all actually happen and also about how productive they would actually be.
The third option, suggested by Erin over the winter, was to set up a couple of "Centers of Excellence," one in the East and one in the West, and focus resources on these. But there was concern also with this idea about who would be driving the effort and how productive they would be.
And so time passed....
In discussions over the last week or so, it seems that there was a fourth option all along, really just a modification of the first option -- use the money to support the Junior Team directly (going to JWOC and assorted other events for preparation and training is all rather expensive), just spread it out over 2 or 3 years. I occasionally like to think that I have some intelligence, but this just never occurred to me. It certainly seemed reasonable. And adding support for our junior team to the North Americans in September made it even more reasonable.
But there was still the matter of the second and third options, training camps and centers of excellence, what about them?
My evaluation of both those options was that neither one of them were ready for prime time. Most importantly, although both had proponents, neither had willing and available people ready to step up and make them happen anytime soon. And that seemed to me the most important requirement. I would like to see both happen in the coming years, and in not too many years, but there needs to be a critical mass of people to make them happen, and I don't see that right now.
So we will go with the revised first option, revised to use it on more than just one JWOC Team, revised also to include in the mix what I think has become just as important an event for the Junior Team -- the North Americans and the match with Canada for the Future Champions Cup. So the money will be used to help get our best team possible there, and then also to get our best team possible to the next JWOC or two.
It took a while to get here, but at this point I'm feeling optimistic. I intend to continue my support of the junior program, notwithstanding what I might have said in rant #2... :-)
And to anyone who has followed along with this, and perhaps has contributed to the juniors in the past, I certainly hope that you will continue to do so in the future.