In general, I think things went pretty well this time around. Granted, there was a day when events ran late and some people didn’t get out of the venue until 8 or 9pm. But I feel all in all it could have been much worse, and trust me… I’ve seen the worst of it. The video replay system was working most of the time. It still requires certain tweeks in the way it operates, and and in the way that U.S. Fencing operates it.
Ok, let’s talk fencing now. I understand that JOs is a very important to different people for different reasons. A “proving ground” of sorts. Coaches need to prove themselves via results, recruiters need to assess potential recruits, parents need to prove to their children that they were right to force them into an obscure sport that can earn them a scholarship to a university, and to some of the kids it’s just important to prove that they can simply fence. What kid of pressure does this put on the referees? None really, unless the calls they make threaten any of the aforementioned parties goals, aspirations, desires, or teaching. Please don’t blame the referees for your own shortcomings. They are doing the best they can with what they have at their disposal. There are good and bad ways of approaching a referee with regard to your discontent or disagreement with them. And trust me, raising your voice and allowing yourself to become angry isn’t one of them. Personally, as a referee, when a fencer doesn’t agree with my call, the ones that have the greatest impact on me are the ones that act as if they are simply disappointed in me, as opposed to the ones that look at me with disdain and beg, “WHY, WHY, WHY ISN’T THAT MY ATTACK?!”, and proceed to inform why it should be. As if I’m so inept that I couldn’t possibly know what I’m talking about. I’m a referee because I have proven my proficiency. Some people make good fencers, and others make good coaches. Keep in mind that just because someone is a good, or even great coach, doesn’t mean they can see right of way. And by the same token, just because someone may be an excellent fencer, doesn’t mean they are capable of being completely objective in their own bout. I’ve been on both sides of this circumstance, and I understand it very well.
Ok, now let’s talk accommodations. The hotel was well appointed, and the transportation via DART was adequate. Breakfast for the tournament officials was provided at the hotel and the choices available were decent. The official’s lunch at the venue was pretty good, except for the box-lunch day. That was crap. I’m a sort-of vegetarian, and for some reason they assume that we all love marinated, roasted bell-peppers in a sandwich or wrap. I don’t like it one bit. I would prefer to take a ham and cheese sandwich, and remove the ham. Granted, they’re making an effort, but would it be the end of the world if they took a poll and found out what people that don’t eat meat would actually prefer to eat? There were ample restaurants close by, and many within walking distance of the host hotel.
The venue was big enough, there seemed to be enough strips, and plenty of referees. World cup attendees get younger every year, and I hear that conflicting events had an effect on the number of entries. What ever the case, the balance was pretty good I think. Dallas seem to be a good city to hold an event similar to last weekend’s Junior Olympics. It’s convenient to fly to, and I don’t mind traveling there. I just wish U.S. Fencing would pay the tournament officials that sacrifice so much to attend these events.