Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Quality of events


Attackpoint has had a lively discussion about the quality of the recent U.S. Champs. You can check out the discussion here.

I have just a couple of thoughts about event quality. Well, actually I've got a lot of thoughts, but I'm only going to write a couple of them tonight.

I don't think we'd be having a discussion about the quality of the U.S. Champs if one small thing had been different -- if the control markers had been hung a foot or two higher.

A lot of people seem to think that the way to make orienteering difficult is to hang the flags low and a bit hidden. I think that is ridiculous. But judging by how many times I run events with the flags hidden, a lot of people think flags should be hidden.

I have a theory about event quality. When clubs get stretched, when too few people do too much of the organizing work, problems are more likely (I don't have any hard evidence to support my theory). It strikes me that some clubs view organizing A-meets as a chance for their members to run an A-meet without having to travel. When that happens, the host club has relatively few members doing the pre-event fieldwork (checking control locations, test running the courses, hanging markers, etc.).

I also suspect that clubs are more likely to put on high quality events when they view organizing an A-meet as a chance to show people from around the country how well they can organize an event. When that happens, the club expects most of its members to help. The club has lots of labor available for the pre-event fieldwork.

I don't know how many BAOC people did pre-event fieldwork. But, I know there are about 330 people in the results list and almost 100 of them are BAOC members. Maybe BAOC should have had fewer members competing and more doing pre-event fieldwork.

The last two U.S. Championship events have both had some serious problems. The City of Trees O' Club used a very bad map for the relay champs. The recent U.S. individual champs had some serious problems with hanging controls (the map was a bit sketchy, too). I had mixed results -- a disaster at the relays and a M35 win at the individual champs. But, I've been disappointed by the quality of both events.

posted by Michael | 8:21 PM


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