The Good, the Bad & the Ugly About SN

A week from today, the 2011 US Fencing Summer National Championships will be underway in Reno. I keep changing my mind about whether I’m looking forward to it or not.

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing (most of) the people I’ll be working with. (And even those I’m less fond of can be entertaining, though not always in a good way.) I’m looking forward to seeing some fencing, which I hope to have time to watch on days other than my days off. I’m looking forward to the quick drive up over the mountains instead of to a long day of flights and layovers.

But which of these are the good, the bad, or the ugly about SN? So many are like ambiguous visual illusions, such as the Necker Cube or Rubin’s vase, switching back and forth between incompatible interpretations.

  • Reno 2011 looks to be the largest SN ever, 3,427 fencers competing in 6618 individual entries and 359 teams. That’s bigger than both Atlanta 2006 and 2010, both of which were, shall we say, challenging.
  • Overlapping six days of our SN will be the Pan American Zonal Championships, to qualify individuals for the 2012 Olympic Games. The Zonals will be using a separate hall at the convention center but also a few of our top referees. (However, the BC staff that had been assigned to the Zonals were given back to SN, so we’ll be slightly better staffed—if more crowded—than usual. We’ll even have three BC chairs this time, which could mean that none of us will end up having to talk ourselves through normally easy tasks.)
  • There is not enough room in the venue for all 60 of our strips, so the finals strip and seating area and two pods of four strips each will be in a separate room attached to our main hall. It’s entirely possible I could end up missing this season’s too-large empty spaces in Dallas.

There are, of course, unknowns about Reno, too: How much will each day’s schedule slip from the mostly bearable projections? Will the officials’ food be reasonably decent? (One big advantage to Reno is that no matter how late events run, there will be restaurants open when we’re done.) Will there be enough referees when we need them? Will the board meeting end before midnight?

Sure, it’ll be fun.

I’ll just keep telling myself that.


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