I guess most eyes are supposed to glaze over at that title,
but there is an thread on AttackPoint that potentially
bears some observations, especially when it includes,
in jest or not Perhaps secession is the answer?
Does that mean succession from the IOF, or succession
Apparently, the US has come out in official support of
Micro-O, when no one (that I'm aware of) in the competitive
Foot-O community (that is, people likely to be at a Foot-O
WOC) is in support of the idea. Apparently such support
as was presented to the IOF by US officials due to perceived
similarity to Trail-O, by pro Trail-O officials (under the
logic that it will drive the development of Trail-O, forgetting
what the Foot-O people may or may not think).
I'm on the USOF board (as a representative of the competitive
people), and have done Trail-O and Micro-O. The latter 2
were on 1:10 maps, and the Micro-O, which was some years ago,
was billed as a training, but it was the same basic idea, run
into the circle, punch the one bag of several with the correct
code, the penalty being the time wasted going to incorrect
bags (which IMHO is the most sensible and interesting way to
do Micro-O in the first place, but I guess not as TV friendly???
and a topic for another day in any case ...).
The first observation is the Micro-O and Trail-O are unrelated,
therefore the motivation to accept one to drive the other is
misplaced. Micro-O involves running and navigation,
just like Foot-O. The best who can navigate on the run to the
correct feature will win Micro-O, just like Foot-O. The only
out-of-band mental decision that seems different is the cost
optimization of taking penalty loops vs the cost of more
precise navigation in the circle. I'd argue that a cost optimization
problem in this family is already present in Foot-O, just not
so distilled out.
Trail-O does not involve running or navigation, nor does it
involve the above decision, with the exception of a couple of
timed controls. Trail-O involves excruciating fine compass
work, logic, observation, visualization, and deduction
(including the possibility that no flag is hung correctly)
in an outdoor setting. Fine activities for those who enjoy
them, but with the exception of visualization, so expensive
and non-core in the course of Foot-O or Micro-O that one
would almost always accept the penalty (under present
Micro-O rules) than pay these costs. I liken Trail-O to
field checking at a distance, a fine and valuable skill,
but not in play when running thru the forest navigating.
One only need look at how one trains for activities to
see if they are the same, and I'd argue the training (and
who would be successful at each) would be completely different.
Well, that seems a bit geeky, and being not so much an
expert on either discipline, lines of challenge of my
thesis seem present. A more serious observation in this
thread, however, is the observation that there seems to
be an obvious representational imbalance in USOF. I've
probably written about this before, but why not ...
My contention is that there is some percentage of USOF,
say F, that is serious or elite in Foot-O, and another
percentage, say T, that is serious or elite in Trail-O.
Forgetting the overlap of F and T, which I'll handwave
away as low, I would contend that F is substantially
greater than T.
However, I would argue that on the USOF board/leadership,
that F is not substantially greater than T, in fact,
I'd argue that T is not less than F.
If I were to try to back up these contentions with data,
I would look at how many times a USOF member hopped on
a plane or drove 6 hours to do F or T, look at starts
in each discipline, looked at A meet/championship
results in each discipline, look at number of trips
On the board side, I would lexically analyze minutes,
discussions, and motions, and ask leadership to rank
their top three priorities.
Well, I could do this, but I should probably start looking
for a job. Anecdotal observation, being close to both,
seems to support my contentions. For example, the board
gave us a Trail-O bid championship (despite no Trail-O A
meets ever, to my knowledge), yet getting sprint/middle/long
as the premiere Foot-O championship, an issue festering
in the competitive Foot-O community for years, suffers from
lack of traction despite my (feeble sole board member)
efforts. Arguments for Trail-O champs include "it is an
IOF discipline" ...
To be clear, before someone bashes me for being anti Trail-O
(which I'm not), my only contention here is that there is a
representational imbalance (I'd make the same observation
if F and T were reversed (tho of course I would not be
incented to do so)), and in a healthy organization,
representational imbalances need to be fixed. Moreover,
it has been observed that the board tries to focus on too
many things. A weak organization (defined by me as an
organization with more priorities than resources) needs to
let some priorities hit the cutting room floor. In my mind,
those priorities that remain are insurance and F. There probably needs
to be less focus on T until the rank and file are starting
long threads on various fora whining about it.
So, how can the representational imbalance be fixed? People
who care about competitive Foot-O performance have to be
on the board. Our butt is kicked at WOC by countries with
a fraction of our population, and I'm not talking so much
about Northern Europe. I have traveled to some of these
countries, tho not done an in-depth study, but my speculation
is that there is more focus. Of course, the US is a powerhouse
in Trail-O, having medaled at 2 consecutive WOCs -- genuinely
impressive results to be proud of. Perhaps there is a
correlation between performance and focus after all. The
question is -- is there enough resource to spread the
focus, and is it representational?
Getting elite Foot-O people to be on the board is tough. It
seems their job is to train and race, and in the US at least,
time is scarce enough for these activities, yet alone time
to be on the board. Failing that, people on the board have
to ask "what does my constituency want?". Well, that's what
I've tried to do anyway, we'll see how it goes. That is
what a representative does, regardless of personal priority
(for example, I'm happy with 2 day classic vs sprint/middle/long,
and the last thing I want is sprints promoted to premiere, as
I am slow as dirt ...).
Failing that, perhaps succession isn't in jest ...
We'll you're really a geek if you read this far. At least
first control is fascinating. This, besides being on the bland
side, comes off as ranty and whiny if not executed perfectly,
and just like first controls, that is rare in my case ...