Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I will be an observer for a Mid-South this weekend.

The observer role needs to change.

In talking to Donny,(Who drove 51/2 hours at the last minute and got paid less than gas money to observe an ASU event. A true hero in my book.)he and Greg are going to submit a petition to allow observers to fence. Not only fence, but fence free. I support this 100%.

Here is why. Observers need to do three things. Check safety. Check registration. Turn in results. They do not need to be the head of the bout committee and who is more aware of safety than a fencer.

Observers were created to take the load off Division officers. If they do not change how events can be observed, there will not be enough observers to handle the job in the future and the load will begin to shift back to the officers. It should be addressed now, otherwise it would be like the way our nations deficit is being handled. Wait for the next guy.

To correct this problem, you fix it so there is an advantage to observing. Make it so people want to do this job. This might entice college kids or folks in the military to want to be observers.

It needs to be fixed. Just saying.

"Interweb" Stuff
Our Division website will almost never let you sign in to post. That could stand to be fixed as well.

I think we have three NC fencing areas on Facebook. I can never remember which one we are using these days. Why not have an OFFICIAL NCUSFA Facebook area. One where anyone can post. Why can't we do that? I guess such a thing would require board approval.

When a sloppy "hacker" beats a technically good fencer, does that make the hacker a good fencer?


cobalt said...

I agree with it needing to change, but it shouldn't be a fencer. There's definite conflict there. And, unfortunately, there are people in the region who are willing to try to exploit this.

A referee should be allowed to be an observer IMO. The conflict is minimal for a local level tournament. They're already getting paid, and won't be as bored. Current situation is too stringent. emphasize... there's no requirement that the observer's job is voluntary. In matter of fact, it should be paid. In what I propose, a referee/observer should be paid extra IMO. Then more people will want to become observers. I'm generally willing to pay someone to observe. Only reason I've gotten out of it in the past is either: 1.) I organize an "observer trade" (I observe yours, you observe mine). 2.) People are willing to offer it for free (And even then, I usually offer to buy their lunch, dinner, beer...)

And on to the other point...

"Technically" good is only one part of the equation...

Technique, Timing, Tactics, Speed, Distance...

I've seen a lot of fencers who have pretty technique, but not even a glimmer of concept of distance/timing. (I've had to coach a lot of sabre fencers recently on this)

mattacox said...

All great ideas, Jim. You should run for the board next year, we need people with new ideas, and the folks who have been stepping up are, frankly, tired.

Observers fencing is a bad idea, and creates a conflict of interest pretty quickly, as Brian said. Refereeing as an observer creates less of a built-in conflict of interest, but... same issue. With people in the Division who abuse the ratings system, run tournies contrary to USFA rules, etc., it's still going to be an important role.