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Discussion: National Champs

in: Orienteering; General

Jun 25, 2018 12:09 AM # 
I wonder what the issue is with only having a Junior National Championship this year. Is it a problem with clubs being burned out or is it the extra hoops that they have to jump through?
Jun 25, 2018 1:52 AM # 
CSU is working on a Masters Nationals event bid for this fall, just working on final approval from the venue before we can announce anything specially.
I think there is also a Nationals (SML) bid that is in the works from another club.
Jun 25, 2018 3:03 AM # 
I'm wondering if part of the problem might be that the new "free ranking event" concept has drawn away some events that might have otherwise been A-meets (and thus potential candidates for championships). Might be worth reevaluating and maybe making some adjustments after a couple of years.
Jun 25, 2018 3:11 AM # 
Speaking (unofficially) on behalf of RMOC -- I "heard" that we declined to make our national event a championship because of the extra pressure, scrutiny & requirements that would come along with that.
Jun 25, 2018 3:43 AM # 
OCIN and SMOC will be submitting sanctioning application and bid this week for the 2018 Nationals (SML) on Oct 19-21 in north central Indiana and southern Michigan. Event details will be here.
Jun 25, 2018 4:01 AM # 
That is very exciting news! Thanks Mike!
Jun 25, 2018 9:16 AM # 
As a director of an OUSA club that is not likely to be soon in the position to host a national event let alone a national championship event please feel free to take my words with a grain of salt. It is a shame that US orienteers are no longer able to look two to three years down the road to see where they will be traveling to future national championships. That lack of a forward plan probably ends up costing the host clubs a lot of entries. It is therefore to their advantage to get their bids for 2019 and beyond in now. It would also help a lot if the clubs of OUSA could get together and agree on a regional rotation so that the events could rotate perhaps between the four main time zones with the occasional foray further out. Something like Eastern, Pacific, Central, Eastern, Mountain, Central, Eastern, Pacific, Central, Eastern ..... would seem balanced on the surface. Of course with this idea in any one year the Junior Nats would go to one zone, the SML to another, the Masters to a third. There could then be a piece of the pie for everyone almost every year.
There is a lot of potential local publicity available for the club that gets its members to a nearby National champs and has someone score well, even more when they travel great distance. The kids from one school I know became local celebrities by showing up at this year's Junior Nats and gaining a couple of podium finishes when there was room for everyone on the podium. There was some talk that they were more celebrated in the halls of the school than the football team. Helping these schools and clubs plan a year and more ahead would be doing a great service to everyone.
Jun 25, 2018 9:17 AM # 
Oh yes, de-intesifying the event approval and scrutiny process would be a great help, too.
Jun 25, 2018 12:11 PM # 
Could these dates at least be put on the unofficial planning calendar?
Jun 25, 2018 4:00 PM # 
I wonder if the change of the national championships delayed bids; now that people know what the championship events are, bids are starting to come in. So maybe this will resolve in a few years.

The free ranking events are only single days, and so aren't would-be multi day championship events. And they're a step down in formality from national ranking events (A meets), rather than a step up like championships. Maybe there's a relationship, but as Brooke said, my local club's decision not to host appears to be unrelated (and we're not hosting a regional ranking event this year). I suspect that clubs' motivation in hosting them is quite different from the motivation for hosting championships. But perhaps key members of clubs can opine.
Jun 25, 2018 4:13 PM # 
JJ, COC's "free day" took advantage of an existing local event already executed to high standards (WIOL Champs). With the added cost to all the juniors involved to register as a normal NRE day, I doubt we could have convinced the COC board to approve it as a regular NRE, and I don't believe it ever has been an A-Meet in COC history. That idea has been floated off and on for at least the past 10 years and generally rejected as too costly for participants with little in return that isn't already part of the event as it exists locally.

But to my mind, there was huge payoff from this year's WIOL/Winter O Series Champs in opening local competitors' eyes to what else is out there in the greater OUSA world. It was a big deal for the kids, most of whom had no idea we had national rankings or how they might compare to kids outside WA. Parents, too. Valerie got questions from COCers about how rankings work and what they mean (and she knew just who to ask about the sudden rise in interest, too. ;-). Cascade had a huge contingent at Jr. Nationals. Some of those kids are now thinking about applying to the JDT. And a number of the adults came just because they hadn't run a ranked race in years. The "free day" may have been some of the best advertising for OUSA out here in years.

I absolutely agree we also need those national championship events, and more fidelity on the deep planning calendar would be great. But they are a big commitment, too. I suspect there are some factors in just holding such a big event that may be leading to the recent decline in championship events. This isn't the first year that has had a slow fall season for NREs, incidentally - the problem pre-dates the "free days."

Ultimately, I think research is necessary before concluding "free days" have resulted in fewer championship bids.
Jun 25, 2018 5:42 PM # 
I certainly don't mean to imply that every "free day" was a potential championship, or that they are a bad idea. But it could be that it's providing an easier path to a higher profile meet. I suspect that they were intended to give smaller clubs a chance to put on a bigger meet without as much hassle/expense. If that's the case, is it smaller clubs or larger ones that are availing themselves of it?
Jun 25, 2018 5:51 PM # 
It seems like now would be a great time to consolidate your National Championship schedule. It just doesn't seem like you need to have championship events for both SML and Classic.
Jun 25, 2018 5:58 PM # 
OUSA just consolidated them! ;-). Calling the Classic Masters and SML Nationals was the fudge that made people happy enough, I guess, with Interscholastics and Intercollegiate becoming Junior Nationals. Some other formats went away...relay, ultra long.

Combining North Americans and Nationals might make sense when hosted by America.
Jun 25, 2018 6:36 PM # 
I think they're actually different animals...a local championship tends to focus on local needs, which may not conform to national championship formats. We found this with the WIOL Champs, and although we were able to make it work, it would not have been appropriate to be both the WIOL Champs and Junior Nationals. I've felt the sense of competing priorities at other national events that have doubled as local championships, too. I think these types of events are almost in a class of their own.

So, how do we get clubs...or perhaps groups of clubs...motivated to want to hold headline national championship events? How do we change the initial reaction from "what a pain" to "we think we can put on an awesome event?" How do we get clubs to see possibilities instead of problems?
Jun 25, 2018 9:56 PM # 
What are "free ranking events"?
Jun 25, 2018 10:29 PM # 
Events that can be used for rankings, but OUSA sanctioning fees have been waived. (OUSA doesn't make as much money but clubs gain the experience of hosting a sanctioned event who might not otherwise hold one.)

If clubs who normally would host a two or more day meet decide to just hold a fee-waived event, is that what we want?
Jun 26, 2018 12:52 AM # 
Are there any cases of clubs that would normally host a 2+ day NRE instead hosting a one day "free" RRE? I've seen some RREs listed, but am trying to think of one that obviously would otherwise have been a 2+ day A meet? Is this just a theoretical concern?

On the plus side for the RRE idea, it seems that it can expose more orienteers to ranking events, and provide a couple more nearby ranking events, if, say, half the clubs turn some good quality local event into an RRE.
Jun 26, 2018 12:34 PM # 
Jun 26, 2018 6:36 PM # 
World Masters are going away from "masters" courses toward SML format.

WOC is being separated to urban/sprint and forest races.

I would think that it is not a bad idea for OUSA to start adopting same championship structure, ex. sprint champs including sprint relays and forest M/L champs.
Jun 26, 2018 7:05 PM # 
Regional Ranking Event (one day freebie per club per calendar year, can't be combined with other ranked events), vs National Ranking Event (one or more days, OUSA sanctioning fees apply, a/k/a A meet). I think that I have that right.

Sergey...I think that option was discussed. It has some advantages. (There are many aficionados of the two day classic though.)
Jun 26, 2018 8:21 PM # 
Pink Socks:
The nomenclature of RRE vs. NRE is confusing. CascadeOC had our freebie event in February and we ran into some questions along the lines of...

Q: "So, WIOL Champs is a RRE? What's that?"

A: "It's a Regional Ranking Event"

Q: "Oh, cool. What are regional rankings?"

A: "No, it's for national rankings."

Q: "But you just said regional."

A: "I know, but at a regional ranking event you get national ranking points."

Q: "So what makes it regional?"

A: "Because it's not a national ranking event."

Q: "But you just said that we get national ranking points."

A: "I know, but in the case of an RRE the host club doesn't have to pay sanctioning fees to Orienteering USA like they would for an NRE. You see, once per year, each sanctioned club..."

Q: [eyes glaze over]

A: "You know what, we'll just call WIOL Champs a national ranking event."
Jun 26, 2018 9:03 PM # 
This is why they aren't actually called "RREs" or even Regional Ranking Events. They're just a National Ranking Event that a club can host once a year with no additional sanctioning fees to OUSA over the usual local meet fees.
Jun 27, 2018 12:33 AM # 
Alex is correct. We specifically did NOT adopt the term Regional Ranking Event to avoid that confusion. The nomenclature used in the rules is "Fee Waiver National Ranking Event." Most people have been calling them Free NRE when discussing sanctioning and fees but just call it an NRE day when promoting the event.

There have been at least six of these so far. All were events that probably would have happened as non-sanctioned events otherwise.
Jul 4, 2018 12:23 AM # 
Any further information on the CSU event? Any tentative dates? It would help for people to plan for it.
Jul 4, 2018 6:27 AM # 
We have to pay fees to our national governing body for every single event that we run although these fees are higher for state championships and higher again if we were to host the national championships (which we also charge more for).
Jul 4, 2018 9:37 AM # 
Same in Canada and USA, Tricky. Most of that fee goes to pay for our collective insurance coverage so while we organizers may grumble about it we do not object too strenuously. I think in hte past what has had many clubs in the USA backing off from organizing nationally sanctioned events are the extra levies for sanctioned events that go to run the national office and other programs plus the expense of bringing in a controller/ event advisor. It is not that they object to the national office or national programs. It just seems the extra revenue from participants \coming from away' does not make up for the lost revenue from locals who do not see a reason to pay that extra fee for another local event. (That may not be the case across the country but it is in my little snowbird part of America.)
So VERY GOOD on O-USA for building that one freebie possibility for every club's calendar. I hope it catches on..
Jul 4, 2018 3:37 PM # 
In some cases, the local people don't go to the more expensive events because they don't really care about ranking points and they can go to a local meet for $5 or $10 a day instead of $30 or $40. At the same time, the cost of entry for those traveling any distance and staying in a motel is a relatively small percent of the total cost. This is not true for a local who stays at home and doesn't drive far.
Jul 4, 2018 4:15 PM # 
I don't think it's the finances as much as the perceived organizational hassle. There's not mmuch in the way of requirements when you're putting on a local meet, it's whatever is acceptable for your club. Hang some controls, people show up, you probably have results (though one group around here did timing to the nearest minute), it can be done by a single person. But for a national meet, you've got a big rulebook, and you have to have preassigned start times so you need a start crew, people are going to expect results displayed promptly after each person finishes, you have a course consultant assigned who critiques your courses, so they have to be designed earlier, the higher entry fees turn a bunch of locals off (and they're needed for voulnteer positions anyway), etc. The free ranking events cut down on these requirements somewhat, to make the process more manageable, particularly for smaller clubs.

(Although smaller clubs could also seek advice from Swampfox, who led the 1000-Day, with multiple national event days, for multiple years, and almost no local club members. It can be done.)
Jul 4, 2018 7:52 PM # 
One of the fortunate accidents of Australia's political geography is that six states and two territories gives us pretty much an optimal number of units for competition, and for organising events. We have a rotation system for our national championships (and for our major annual multi-day, at Easter) - apart from the Northern Territory, the other seven host the national championships once every six (larger states) or eight (smaller states) years. When they do, most of the clubs in that state will usually be involved in some way or other.

Whilst there's a lot of our structure which wouldn't translate to the North American environment, there are bits which might. (I'll be at NAOC if anyone from the US or Canada feels like having a chat on the subject).
Jul 4, 2018 9:57 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Within 9 years of being introduced to orienteering at a demo event in college, I'd designed and set a US Champs course (2010 Middle Distance), and I'd directed a US Champs (2012 Junior Nationals).

In the 6 years since, I don't really have any desire to do either again.

Why? For me, it's nothing to do with organizational hassle, paperwork, or finances. My local club already hosts 8 events per year with similar organizational requirements. Paperwork is relatively easy.

Personally, as a volunteer for a club who doesn't have much financial incentive to host a National Event, it's about risk vs. reward. Specifically, the risk of screwing up something vs. the reward of getting everything right.

In 2010, I thought I'd done everything right. I had a both a vetter/course consultant and and a separate event consultant, both with excellent reputations. Did I receive some compliments afterwards? Probably. But all I can remember now is being loudly accosted in the motel pool that evening, and then hearing through the grapevine about some other disgruntled folks returning to the race venue with measuring tape to prove themselves right.

Maybe I've got too thin of quasi-millennial skin, but I'd prefer not getting rudely insulted by my peers after putting in a helluva lot of volunteer time and effort. (Not to mention all of the other criticisms thrown at other big events on Attackpoint over the years). How much reward is worth the risk is my personal reputation?

In 2012, it was mostly because of behind-the-scenes OUSA and inter-club politics that I believed to be unfair. I will not rehash that here.

I don't feel that guilty about not wanting to design or direct another US Champs (or National Event for that matter), since I feel like I've already fulfilled my "obligation" to the community.

Since these two events, I've learned to pick my projects where the reward is worth the risk, and I've been perfectly happy with that decision.
Jul 5, 2018 9:47 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
Last year I organized & set courses for 10 events, doing pretty much everything myself, but these were of course local/small events with usually less than 200 starters. For these I usually receive a lot more praise than complaints because the runners all know that it is quite a bit of effort.

3 years ago I made the spectator courses for one of the JWOC days, with lots of additional hazzle due to the need to reuse/share the Middle distance area while still having the finish by the Long distance & Relay arena. This was a lot of work and I am very grateful to my wife who insisted I should have everything ready by Oct/Nov the year before, i.e. before the first snowfall.

This year I have only done two events so far, but the first was a combined event where I first had 150+ people, then an evening training event for the Oslo area followed by a mass start (with pentagram forking, so 22 different courses to print) night event. That mass start had both a 4km and a 5 km course, with the majority doing both so I had more forking combinations (121) than runners (about 80).

Now I'm off to MWOC in Denmark, then I'll organize a few more races later this summer.

I guess my key point is that I sort of agree with Pink Socks: There are a lot of different ways to go wrong when organizing a big O event and nothing less than perfection seems to be expected by most runners.

Sprint races are of course an order of magnitude harder to get right. :-(
Jul 5, 2018 2:14 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
Although smaller clubs could also seek advice from Swampfox

I wonder if such superheroes are the exception rather than the rule - another one man show A meet producer, used as an example of how feasible such one man shows are in previous threads, now has a club website that is parked in Japanese? for ramblings about angel baby collagen, whatever that is. I fear its sustainability. Is it beneficial for small clubs to risk blowing out their volunteer pool for the benefit of the converted, or is it better to use them for more events aimed at bringing in new folks and growing the club to one big enough to comfortably host events from a more robust team? I don't have many numbers either way, happy to be convinced.
Jul 5, 2018 3:53 PM # 
As a diffident megalomaniac, with delusions of grandeur leadened with insouciance, I always appreciated the bright lights of national championships and the like, but I always had to lurk in the penumbra, rather than squint in the glare or hide completely in the dark.

That said, I guess the reason I'm not chomping at the bit to do another one now is the asymmetric rewards. I don't have fear of failure or a resistance to accountability; I actually like that part. Rather, it's the upside reward that's lacking. You screw up, you get skewered--fine--but if you succeed brilliantly, you get at most a pass. There are other pursuits that admit to a bit more symmetry on the upside and the downside.

At the moment, I have no desire to step back in the ring, but would if there was a new sufficiently audacious and grandiose deliverable to be had (aforementioned aversions aside.)
Jul 5, 2018 4:38 PM # 
If the PinkSocks and J-Mans of the worlds are not interested in organizing major events in the US, those are important canaries in a coal mine.
Jul 5, 2018 6:13 PM # 
Note that the organizers of Swampfox's event this year declined a request to include a national championship.

+1 on Nev-Monster's comment. (I'm similar, in having insufficient motivation to organize a major event, though a one day regional NRE seems of a plausibly suitable scope, not so involved as to be exhausting, maybe just "big" enough to attract some people from Kansas City, Utah, New Mexico and maybe somewhere else.)

Not sure what to suggest, as national championships can be fun to attend. (So are other events too, though.)
Jul 5, 2018 10:13 PM # 
At least I understood everything Pink Socks wrote.
Jul 6, 2018 2:08 AM # 
Interested to hear about the effectiveness of BHAGs versus working away perhaps singlehandedly on grass-roots hopefully sustainable events. Am finding that some people only go to the full-facilities events:-(( Y'all OK with the term BHAG?
Jul 6, 2018 2:49 AM # 
What would be a good example of a BHAG for orienteering?
Jul 6, 2018 4:26 AM # 
WOC 93 was definitely a BHAG.
Jul 6, 2018 12:09 PM # 
It's pretty obvious that not many people want to host events, and this small number is getting smaller every year. How do we reverse this? How do we provide the incentive for our best event producers to want to produce events?

Is it "just" a numbers problem? It's not actually that hard, per se, to host the events well, and resources exist to help. But when you put in all that work for 150 people, it's disheartening.

Mr. Wonderful poses good questions too. Who is our target audience?
Jul 6, 2018 1:18 PM # 
At least you get 150 people. The last national champs I organised, we got something like 60 (admittedly it was MTBO but the east coast - NSW and Vic - are raking in around 150 these days, many of which are from NZ (much easier to get to than to WA), and that's a high number).
Jul 6, 2018 3:24 PM # 
I'm not sure it's strictly a numbers problem. When things go well, being responsible for part of a good event - even when it's small - feels great. I love being part of a team that makes it all happen. And our O community can be very gracious and enthusiastic.

But when there's controversy, I can easily see how I might feel just like Pink Socks. Especially because our community is fairly small, and we all know each other. It doesn't take much to make someone question whether their time and effort was worthwhile.

I'd be interested in hearing from those who have put on series of races, orienteering or otherwise. Surely they've had experience with events that don't go quite as intended. How do they handle those situations, and what keeps them going after a frustrating experience?
Jul 6, 2018 11:13 PM # 
Pink Socks:
But when there's controversy, I can easily see how I might feel just like Pink Socks. Especially because our community is fairly small, and we all know each other.

In my experiences, it was the opposite rather. It was people who I didn't really know who torpedoed my spirits.

I still like organizing "big" events. From my perspective, SART is the biggest event I've done (and I've done it 3 times now). It's a lot of work doing pretty much everything (mapping, course design, event direction, graphics, etc), but it's nice that I only have to answer to myself. And it's also nice that the attendees are generally like-minded sprint aficionados who are very appreciative of me organizing the event.

Some of it also may be that I'm already saturated with event direction. I'm the director for a local 6-race series that CascadeOC hosts, and SART, and I work part-time for a company that produces navigation races and trail runs. So if O-USA were to ask me to direct an event for them, I'm kinda full already (too full, perhaps).

This is why they aren't actually called "RREs" or even Regional Ranking Events. They're just a National Ranking Event that a club can host once a year with no additional sanctioning fees to OUSA over the usual local meet fees.

Alex, I forgot to thank you earlier for this clarification. I'm glad it's this way. I didn't really have a good pulse on the official nomenclature this spring, but I definitely did hear "RRE" from several people, so I incorrectly assumed that it was the name to differentiate it from the pay-to-play version.
Jul 6, 2018 11:54 PM # 
A BHAG I was thinking of was a proposal for a tiny country to run a MTBO World Champs. tRicky, pretty much ALL the MTBOers from NZ travel to Australia, that's all there are who do more than 1 a year. 50 or so people. Would I do more good working on a big event like this, or keeping things going in my own region?
Jul 7, 2018 1:55 AM # 
Through years of directing and course setting both local and national events I have learned to approach it like a director of a play. Sometimes the events are hits, sometimes flops, most somewhere in between. Audiences sometimes cheer, critics will always sneer. They are time consuming, frustrating, and some things always go wrong. But I take immense satisfaction that I am producing something that gives enjoyment to my fellow orienteers.
Jul 7, 2018 9:05 PM # 
Here, here to Geoman's comment. The only thing I question is whether he really ever had any "flops". The goal, of course, is to give enjoyment to other orienteers.
Jul 7, 2018 10:25 PM # 
A very interesting thread. Thank you all. I have been reminded of a research report I came across quite a few years ago in my field of rural sociology. It was a study of the personalities of farmers. The farmer population had a very different distribution to that found in the general population - a much greater frequency of introversion being one example. I am left wondering if our orienteering community has its own tendencies to a mix of introversion and obsessiveness. I put my hand up on both counts.

A number of the comments on a disinterest in organising large events rang true to me. Part of the problem is the effort-reward equation for the competitor. Large events have many entrants who have spent time and money to travel to get to the event. There are sheep-stations at stake in the form of rankings, selections and trophies. Our sport thrives on organisational complexity (just look at set of National Rules). Add the two together and a small number of publicly disgruntled competitors is a high probability. Its less stressful to organise local events by oneself, even if its still heaps of work. In two weeks I will be organising a four map event. It has been lots of work to create the maps (gold mining) and design the courses with a limit on the number of available controls. Despite the work, I have only just released the event information two weeks out. I will be happy if there are only 30 entrants. What my 30 over-enthusiastic peers think afterwards is reward enough.

I would like to stop attending National events to reduce the obligation to organise such events when the State turn comes round. But I would have to somehow get out of a National administrative role that requires attendance at such events. When I have served enough time to retire from that role gracefully, I will ease back on National event attendance and spend more time rock climbing while the body still allows it. Now there is a sport for introverts.
Jul 8, 2018 2:17 AM # 
Agree with Geoman. I've directed many national events, and my impression is that I have provided challenge and enjoyment to a great many people. There will always be a small percentage who complain about anything. If winning time isn't hit perfectly, or map drafting or printing isn't 100% perfect ISOM or ISSOM, or a control is 5 meters off where it should be, there will be complaints, but 99% of the participants are still going to have fun and a great time. Not to say that I (or any other organizer) can't learn form these critiques and do better the next time, but they aren't anything to get upset about or quit organizing (Sorry, I just have a really hard time understanding people who are that sensitive to a few harsh words. My personal attitude is "get over it"). Now, maybe we can help retain some of those organizers and volunteers who are a little more sensitive to the few whiners (and legitimate concerns as well), if the rest of us all make a little extra effort to make positive comments on course setting, maps, and general organization - these folks put in a whole lot of effort, and it is a real shame and loss to the sport each time we lose an organizer because one or two or three people complain.
Jul 8, 2018 5:07 PM # 
tRicky, pretty much ALL the MTBOers from NZ travel to Australia

Shame we don't really seem to return the favour given our population is larger. I try - even when I know the map is going to be tough - and I'm all the way over the other side of the country!
Jul 8, 2018 9:24 PM # 
tRicky its a wonder you are allowed to take part in orienteering, given those wings that sprout from your arms.

Log, we think alike. My last event was a free print-your-own-map mini adventure race. Bike controls orange ribbons. Four 1km foot sprints with SI stations only at S/F. "Results" by battery-powered split printer. Worked a treat.
Jul 8, 2018 10:46 PM # 
Thanks gruver. I like the implications of PYO maps. It would mean EOD would be more feasible. And no-one will be able to complain about poor print quality or colour matching. ;-)
Jul 9, 2018 1:56 AM # 
Heh heh ;-)
Jul 9, 2018 5:54 PM # 
If only I could fly. I might be able to get through tomorrow's event.
Jul 15, 2018 6:07 AM # 
I think the point about the upside is a good one. How could we have a better culture of appreciation for the hard work done? How could the 99% who are happy be at least as loud as the 1% who are not? How can we appreciate the types of constraints the organizers might have solved for that are invisible: like choosing a time of year when the location is best or negotiating a tough peitting process.

I feel like often when you ask an orienteering how the race went, they'll talk only about where they lost time. It's like a perfect race is the expectation and taken for granted, and anything worse than that is a loss. Why don't we celebrate the great route choice and the well-executed route or the fast speed up the hill as much as we bemoan the bad route or lost time within the circle?

I think we too often have the same expectations of our events. A perfectly executed event is taken for granted rather than sufficiently praised. And, we spend our time discussing what went wrong...sometimes without knowing the constraints or context for why particular decisions were made.

How can we do more to say thank you to the people who have put in hundreds or thousands of hours so we'll have a good time?
Jul 15, 2018 8:30 AM # 
How can we do more to say thank you? Suzanne that is a great point. One way is to start right here on Attack Point.
As for AP we often see before the event comments placed about the event where some participants are asking about posting of start times or other 'bulletin details' or they want to share lodging or a ride. However we don't as often see the comments of thanks after the event. That is a shame. Words of thanks take so little time to write and they can mean so much to those who have put in the effort.
Send those words of thanks directly to the organizera too.
Consider it like those surveys you get after some hotel stays. When I get one I usually try to find something nice to say about some (low wage) worker at the hotel - the lady running the breakfast bar, the student working his way through college on the front desk, the maintenance guy. Their job is too often thankless but when the manager comes to one of them with a positive comment it can make a big emotional difference to them.
So, for example, if you appreciated the effort of the poor guy who had to carry those bags of warm up clothes several hundred meters back from the Start area please let the organizer know. It will help them get that volunteer back next year.
Another idea: When I was participating in triathlons it was the practice to get the male and female winners to say a few words. The good ones always spoke on behalf of all the triathletes to thank the event organizers, all the volunteers and to congratulate their fellow competitors. Could we introduce this in orienteering?
Jul 15, 2018 8:34 AM # 
I was reading this thread soon after completing the WMMTBOC in Hungary recently and first thing I did was send a thank you email to the organizers. Sure the long event was a mud bath but I instead congratulated them on the organisation, the course setting and how smoothly everything ran.
Jul 15, 2018 12:16 PM # 
I actually have seen complimentary comments on Attackpoint for quite a few events that I've attended, thanking the organizers for such an awesome event. Part of the reason I've noticed is that some of these have been for events that I thought were pretty bogus and poorly organized, but people still come up with praise. Don't get me wrong, I don't have any problem with this, and in particular, if I didn't like an event (which I'm unlikely to say anything about unless it was really egregious), that doesn't mean that others didn't consider it to have been great, and saying so is a fine thing. So keep it up!
Jul 15, 2018 1:16 PM # 
I think part of the problem is that negative comments are often made on site to exhausted volunteers (many of whom don't read Attackpoint). It's the ticked off orienteer who blasts the course setter or finish crew right after he / she finished that causes far more damage than later praise can undo. The volunteer makes the decision "I've had enough of these ingrates" and telling them later to read the half dozen nice comments on AP is too little too late to bring them back.
Jul 16, 2018 5:48 PM # 
The Newsletter indicates that there is the Individual Nationals on October. Thank you OCIN! Anything happening with the CSU event that Ed was talking about in June?
Jul 16, 2018 6:05 PM # 
We're still working on permissions for that. Can't really announce anything until we have venue permission. Fingers are crossed!
Jul 16, 2018 9:47 PM # 
Good luck. Things are never as easy as they might seem. Only if people knew that we are a very low impact sport.
Jul 17, 2018 3:14 AM # 
Are you able to give a date or date range? Fall calendars are filling up!
Jul 17, 2018 8:09 PM # 
From earlier in this thread: Oct 19-21, 2018 in north central Indiana and southern Michigan. Event details will be here.
Jul 17, 2018 8:26 PM # 
The Oct 19-21, 2018 event is sanctioned and pending OUSA Board approval as the USA Nationals (S, M, L format). The CSU-hosted event which edwarddes and acjospe have referred to would potentially be the OUSA Masters Nationals (combined time two-day Classic format). The possible date of this latter event is what I think is being asked about.
Jul 19, 2018 6:57 PM # 
Yes it is the CSU event (masters champs) that I was hoping to find out a date for, or if that isn't possible, at least a narrowing of the possibilities. Sept? Oct.? Nov?
Jul 20, 2018 11:53 AM # 
We’re hoping for November 10-11. But if permission doesn’t come through we’ll have to bag it.

Yes, this would be the Master Nationals.
Jul 20, 2018 6:29 PM # 
I asked @mikeminium about flying to the potential SML champs near South Bend IN. Here was his reply:

South Bend (SBN) is served by Allegiant, United, American, and Delta, and has nonstop service to Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Newark, Charlotte, Atlanta, Dallas-Ft Worth, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tampa, Orlando, and Ft Myers.

Kalamazoo (AZO) looks like it has connections mainly through Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis, by American, Delta, and United, with one XO Jet flight from Santa Rosa.

It might be worth considering flying IN to SBN on Fri, and OUT from DTW (Detroit) on Sun. AZO is centrally located midway between the Fri/Sat and Sun venues.
Jul 20, 2018 8:27 PM # 
Do I have this straight in my mind?
The Oct 19-20 event in Indiana will be S-M-L formats and be the US Champs for all age categories?
The Nov 10-11 in New England (if it happens) will be classic format and be an extra US champs and for Master ages (35+) only?
Jul 20, 2018 9:16 PM # 
Orienteering USA Nationals is an individual championship in each race format for all age classes. Orienteering USA Masters Nationals is a two day combined time classic format championship for 35+ categories. All age categories will compete at Masters, but only championship awards to 35+.
Jul 20, 2018 9:39 PM # 
Thanks. I guess I understand how it is working but not why it is working that way. I'm not trying to change anything. I know decisions were made with a lot of consultation and thought. The Junior Nationals / USA Nationals / Masters Nationals actually replace a much more complicated and inconsistent series of championship events.
But is there any push back that the Juniors and Masters (those under 21 and over 34 get two kicks at the can at getting a US championship title while those 21 to 34 only get one?
Jul 20, 2018 9:45 PM # 
More importantly will there be any move in the near future for O-USA and the clubs to get ahead of the game in awarding future National Championships implementing a regional rotation of championship events and encouraging clubs to host championships and plan years ahead on their mapping needs?
Right now it seems O-USA is barely keeping afloat in that regard. (I'm not criticizing from outside. As a member of O-USA and a club director I'm probably as guilty as anyone in not doing enough forward planning for the membership.)
Jul 21, 2018 1:22 AM # 
Seems that's the crux of this thread.
Jul 21, 2018 2:37 AM # 
The issue of getting clubs to host championship events is very old. 6 years ago there were back to back years of late notice national champs. they were put together roughly 4 and 6 months before the events. I thought this was a crazy way for the national organization to operate its crown jewel events.

so, I contacted OUSA and was in a conference call with 3 board members and Mr. ED. EVERYONE agreed with scheduling out 3 years in advance, making the events in different regions of the country, etc., just like gord suggested earlier. A committee of two board members took on the task and that was the last I heard of it. perhaps one of those board members could share what the committee did?

I believe it is possible to schedule out 3 years. I think IF the board made the national championships schedule a priority a solution could be found.....but how?

National championship events are by nature very important events. They should be the core of the schedule, not an afterthought. Today we have some excellent new board members who I hope will champion the cause and keep it from being an annual embarrassment to OUSA.

My own idea on the issue is that the old way of doing business needs to change. OUSA CANNOT wait for clubs to volunteer. OUSA can't wait until the year before and then ask one of the few clubs that's having a national event the next year to host the champs.

perhaps the bylaws need to be changed, but I would suggest approaching specific clubs years in advance and asking them what it would take to get them to help with the event. this might involve paying them to host. it might involve offering services such as mapping help, technical support(website, results, start lists, registration, etc.), course designers, start/finish assistance and quality control. Find out what incentives are needed to make it happen and make it happen.

Next, offer the champs before the sanctioning committee okays the event, but contingent on getting that approval.

I would also identify unmapped areas with excellent terrain and map the new terrain for use at the champs. If this is done in an area near an existing club, that might be a great incentive to host.

another thing I think is a great idea is to have the masters champs be brown, green and red courses only. you do that and you'll definitely make it easier to find a host club.

The current method for getting a host is to charge the club 25% of the gross take, make them do all the work, require extra work(since it is a championship) and make them take all the blame if something goes wrong. I'm all in on that....ah, well, maybe not.....

Clubs support OUSA with significant funds. Some of those funds could be used to support the national championship events and make them special events they should be. Let's motivate local clubs to host the events with meaningful incentives.
Jul 21, 2018 9:14 AM # 
Thank you thank you thank you bgr. After all the various posts to this thread I was getting concerned that no one else really cared or had any hope for forward planning of national championships. Are we resigned to 'just in time' scheduling?
I am still concerned that no one in a positon of authority, ie an OUSA Baord member, has written in to say that this is a priority of theirs, too and that they are going to take up the issue and who would like to serve on a committee to consult with the membership, to draft a plan and take it back to the clubs and to the Board. Also to take back to the Board a list of impediments that are keeping clubs from rushing to host championships.
Jul 21, 2018 2:43 PM # 
You might want to mull over that post Gord.
Jul 21, 2018 4:10 PM # 
It was mulled a lot before I posted it. I know it leaves me liable to taking on another volunteer task. I also know that in Canada we have had a rotation of the national champs for probably 20 to 30 years now and we are usually just ahead of just in time scheduling.
Nev. If you have some other concern you know how to reach me. BTW would you be interested in controlling another night O event at Rivermead? The event date is Sept 7th.
Jul 21, 2018 8:44 PM # 
I'm a member of the OUSA Board, and I think we all recognize that declining attendance more generally and declining national meet organization specifically are major problems for the community. Thanks to everyone for the dialog.

I think that the first obstacle is one of communication. We know that fewer clubs and people are organizing events, but the reasons are varied - Pink Socks and J-man serving as example testimonials. The reorganization of the competitive events led by acjospe (OUSA BoD member, VP Competition) is an attempt to address some of these problems: specifically an overabundance of niche championships that dilute the value of the term, excessively high barrier to entry addressed by RREs, and onerous financial barriers to smaller clubs addressed by the free competition day. I'll let acjospe comment further. I don't think we'll know the full impact of the restructuring until we have had more time to observe the effects.
Discussion on OUSA National Event Restructuring, March 2017

@Gordun - You make an excellent point; apart from the event restructuring, I don't think OUSA has taken steps to effectively address the national event shortfall. As you say, we can't just set out a buffet and expect clubs to wander out of the woodwork eager to organize more events. Per many comments above, the cost-benefit analysis just doesn't work out for most but the exceptionally ambitious.

I think the Board has been a bit preoccupied trying to get OUSA's internal house in order. We need to hear from more people and clubs: what are the barriers to participation in national events? If OUSA coordinated a schedule, say apportioning meets among different regions for a year, would clubs buy into it? Importantly for a multi-year schedule for championships: is there interest from clubs years in advance to hold championship national meets?
Jul 21, 2018 9:05 PM # 
Thank you iansmith
Those are very good concerns in your last paragraph. There is no sense imposing a rotation if the clubs do not buy in to it.
As a start would the Board consider putting out this idea to the clubs that put on national events every year. Everyone knows who they are. What would it take for that club to slightly upgrade their annual event to championship caliber say once every five to ten years or so? With that settled it is just a matter of filling in the holes and making sure each area gets a share of the events.
Back in April we saw a school team from Florida make a long trip to the Junior Nationals in MA. It was a trip of a lifetime and what was great was the community support that materialized because they were on their way to a National Championships. That support was financial and resulted in publicity for the kids and for orienteering. Imagine how much easier it would be for them and for other teams to get publicity if once every five years or so the Junior Nationals were up the road and part of the Georgia Navigator Cup. It may even encourage the Florida clubs to say "hey, we want a piece of that pie!"
Jul 22, 2018 1:06 AM # 
I don't think the "two kicks at the can issue" is a problem. It works that way in (most?) other sports, and even orienteering at the international level, i.e. there's nothing keeping the likes of Eric Bone from competing at both WOC and WMOC.

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