SN Day 6

We are over the hump. We’re almost done with the youth and teen events, switching over to the Divs and—tomorrow—the Vets. We are done with the 8-page DE tableaux; the Divs feel like they’re about half the size of the Junior and Cadet events.

Today was not a pretty day, though.

We had one of our increasingly rare reseeds, because the round results and DE tableau for an event were posted simultaneously instead of the round results being posted first to allow time for fencers to check their results. In this particular case, a referee had changed some pool scores after some fencers had signed, and had not called those fencers back to resign the sheet. And the staff member working the event did not have enough experience to understand why we post the round results and tableaux separately and thought to save some time, given the scarcity of runners for posting this year. (The staff member in question—who is well on the way to becoming a reliable BC staffer—now understands exactly why we post them separately.) Another example of why we prefer experienced staff for SN: we don’t have the time or staff to provide adequate training and supervision for less experienced personnel.

We don’t have enough saber referees today. (Of course, there are not enough referees in any weapon, but the problem is particularly acute, as always, in saber.) It’s not so bad in the morning, with 131 entries (19 pools, flighted) in Y12MS, but D2MS closes at 12:30 with 132 entries (another 19 pools, flighted), followed by D1AWS at 1:30 with 71 entries (13 more saber pools).

Normally, we’d put the DEs for a saber event the size of the D2MS out on 12 strips, but with the D1AWS to handle, the men’s DEs have to make do with 8 strips. With the D1AWS pools flighted and its DEs also on 8 strips, we can just barely make it work (but not with the level of refereeing that most fencers and coaches would prefer).

It’s entertaining—and has been all week—watching and listening to the comments and complaints made to the assigners about referees. The complainers and commenters fall into two main categories. There are the furious, sometimes fencers, sometimes coaches, and sometimes parents. These are usually highly agitated people, who say things like, “The referee over on C4 sucks. He completely screwed me/my fencer/my child over, he’s so bad.” Usually, the head referee will attempt to elicit some detail of how the referee is bad, but the complainant is often too incoherent to be specific. (And I adore Sharon’s response as she attempts to evaluate the commentary: “And your referee rating is?”)

The other group is much less outraged and much more effective. They are usually coaches and provide specific information about the referees they’ve watched, about the calls they think the referees are good at and which calls they are weaker on. Members of this group often know very well what they are talking about, but occasionally are just as ill-informed as the outraged crowd. But with a reasonable approach, they at least get listened to.

The last events to finish up today are the Y14WF and the Sr MF Team. Of course, the last events are foil. It’s inevitable—you’d think after all the years since the timing change I’d finally expect foil to take longer than épée, but I still just get frustrated that it takes so long. Coming originally from a saber-only club, it’s hard for me to see foil enough to understand it. Many people tell me foil is just like saber, with attacks and parries and ROW, but it still looks incomprehensible to me, which probably makes foil events seem even longer than they are.



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