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tuck
Super Rockchucker

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: St. Thomas, North Dakota
Posts: 1918

Goverance Changes

I had hoped to avoid this topic, but it is pretty important. It is also fairly contreversial.

It has been proposed that we shrink the USCA Board of Directors. It is further proposed that we save seats on the Board for professionals from various fields.

The origin of the proposal seems to be the USOC.

The USOC is tasked with designating National Governing Bodies for every Olympic sport. These NGBs then hold National Championships and Olympic Trials. These NGBs are also the groups that receive USOC monies to improve our chances of getting an Olympic medal.

I think that it is very important that the USCA remains the NGB for curling.

I shudder to think of what other group might step forward to take on this role. I have lots of trouble imagining any group that would care very much for the future of our game nor for its growth.

Any other group, with the ton of money granted by the USOC, would look to the immediate future. Who would be in this group? What would their budget look like? Would they care about depth or young curlers or new curling areas?

It is very hard, however, to vote away some of our local influence.

I have trouble seeing much downside to the new Board structure. Adding some professional people is unlikely to hurt and might have some advantages. It might end up being the huge improvement that the USOC seems to think it will be.

Remaining the NGB is too important. Don't let anybody else even vie for taking over that role and that money.

Ben Tucker
I can't believe this thread didn't start two months ago

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Old Post 04-11-12 10:23PM
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Willy
Drawmaster

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: New York
Posts: 592

Reagan

"Freedom is the right to question and change the established way of doing things. It is the continuous revolution of the marketplace. It is the understanding that allows to recognize shortcomings and seek solutions" RR 1988

Maybe it wouldn't be a bad thing Mr. Tucker?

__________________
We'll see you on the Ice! Willy

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Old Post 04-12-12 09:24AM
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Curlrock
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Feb 2011
Location:
Posts: 66

It seems that the USCA needs to decide if they want to be the representitive body of competitive curling or club curling. In my opinion, at this point, they don't do a very good job at either. They rely on USOC funds, which ultimately makes them susceptible to the USOC's wants. Meanwhile 98% of the curlers in the United States (non-competitive) get very little for their money (brochures, few newspapers, too few instructional camps, too few ice tech camps, too few coaching camps).

At this point I'm ready for the USCA to give up competitive curling and leave it to the USOC. Focus your time and resources on 98% of US curlers. U.S. clubs will still reap the benefits of the Olympic buzz as they have in the past.

Not a popular idea and I'm sure and it will never happen. Although, as I have said in the past, 75% of club culers likely don't know that part of there club dues go to the USCA.

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Old Post 04-12-12 11:12AM
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biterbar
Hitting Paint

Registered: Mar 2009
Location:
Posts: 150

If I'm not mistaken, the states and associations have made their votes so the only thing left to do is tally them at the National meeting.

I predict the changes will lose.

I don't foresee the USOC setting up a separate NGB for curling, but I do see some adjustments made and a new governance model coming up for vote again.

Seventy five percent of curlers not knowing how much of their dues go to the USCA is too low in my opinion. Most would probably be surprised their 200 member club is sending $5800 per year out to buy brochures on sweeping.

Last edited by biterbar on 04-12-12 at 05:34PM

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Old Post 04-12-12 12:32PM
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Diego
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Dec 2005
Location:
Posts: 51

Once again, the USCA is run by volunteers selected by associations. If you have a beef with what USCA does with your dues, talk to your rep or better yet, get involved and volunteer to sit on a committee. USCA welcomes all.

No member dues go to support the USOC. USOC monies do come to USCA to help support elite programs, which some of these programs do help all curlers (coaching, sports science, instructional/educational materials.)

I do think we will see a strong reaction from USOC. They may give USCA a few more months to draft a new plan if the current one fails. However, if things don't change soon, I do think what Tuck is predicting could happen.

It will be interesting these next few months.

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Old Post 04-12-12 12:47PM
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GloveTopShelf
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: May 2007
Location:
Posts: 28

A great day for our medal chances in future Worlds and Olympics if Governance changes are not passed!

USOC will now have total control over the elite program, and will be able to implement whatever changes they see fit without having to worry about players meddling in the process.

Want to have a chance to go to the Worlds or Olympics? Better be ready to sell yourself to the program now!

Hope you're all happy with what you voted for or against!

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Old Post 04-12-12 12:54PM
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Curlrock
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Feb 2011
Location:
Posts: 66

Diego. I assure you I'm not knocking the individuals helping out the USCA. I know the time an effort that many people give to help the sport. I have friends that do voluteer with the USCA and am aware of their efforts. I have also told my rep. my concerns. I wasn't implying nor did I state that curlers dues go to the USOC. What I am concerned about is that the USCA seems to be focusing to much energy on competitive curling to appease the USOC and may not be providing all the services to "club" members that they could or should.

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Old Post 04-12-12 04:32PM
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Diego
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Dec 2005
Location:
Posts: 51

Thanks Curlrock. I think most of my reply was to Biterbar. I think they had a typo in their comment that stated member dues going to USOC. I should have realized it was a typo.

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Old Post 04-12-12 05:11PM
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VanillaIce
Hitting Paint

Registered: Nov 2005
Location: St. Michael, MN USA
Posts: 129

Well, here we are again.

Once again the struggle to determine why we do what we do? I say "we" because the current system implies that "we" are all part of the USCA and should be using the representative system to not just voice our opinion but get the CORRECT information about what the issues are and what to vote on.

Our current governance system, direction, and focus are things that "we" all decided on. Some people make it sound as if this is a surprise or something new.

If you take time to actually look at the proposed system, it actually stands to give the clubs a louder voice and opinion than they have now. But you have to actually read what the proposal is yourself and quit allowing people scare you with talk about "hidden agendas" and the like. Come on people...we all want the same thing....grow the sport..have more people enjoying it.

As for providing services to clubs...I will ask again, will someone please articulate to me WHAT IT IS YOU WANT "THEM" TO DO THAT "THEY" ARE NOT DOING? In 7 years of asking that question, I have yet to get anything resembling a coherent and well thought out answer.

Frustrated by this again!

P.S. I have also been told that the word on the street is that apparently my opinion is biased because I have a paid position with the organization. My only response is that if you truly believe that, you simply have no idea who I am.

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Old Post 04-12-12 11:16PM
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VanillaIce
Hitting Paint

Registered: Nov 2005
Location: St. Michael, MN USA
Posts: 129

Now....

Now that I am done venting, I will pass the following attached document along so that you might see how misinformed some entire clubs have been. This is a communication between Rick and an Anonymous group of people in Duluth. I was given permission to post this after it came to my e-mail today. Please read carefully.

4/13/12 - Due to issues with the file I have posted the contents of the attachment below.

Last edited by VanillaIce on 04-13-12 at 12:03PM

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Old Post 04-12-12 11:43PM
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VanillaIce
Hitting Paint

Registered: Nov 2005
Location: St. Michael, MN USA
Posts: 129

One last note....

I am very curious as to what everyone is afraid of losing anyway?

In all of the time that I have been around the USCA, I have only ever seen the "Members" use their ability to vote once. That was during the Format Change period years ago. There may have been others, but I doubt that the number of actions the Members have taken over the past 30 years exceeds 3 or 4.

So we're talking about protecting a power that we really aren't losing in the first place and that we rarely use anyway?!?

Can we please stop kidding ourselves? The Olympics has been great for the sport. Period. While the USCA cannot and should not take all of the credit, as it's members, we should be proud to say that WE made a good decision to go that way and that our staff has done a pretty good job at executing it....membership up 52% is nothing to scoff at.

Certain clubs and regions who are quick to bash the organization should be ashamed! Many of them are the very same clubs and areas that saw record numbers of people showing up for "Learn to Curl" events during the Olympics! So they really attribute none of that to what the USCA has done? How quickly we forget!

Look...all I want is for the sport to keep growing. We've had some success with the Olympic exposure method in doing that. Yes, we need the USOC....and it's blessings to be able to continue that. In order to get their blessings they have to believe that their investment is safe and sound. But the USOC, like any smart investor, does ask for accountability in performance...at the very least some consistency and a way to measure where we stand compared to the rest of the world. It's not rocket science folks!

Okay...now I am done.

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Old Post 04-13-12 12:07AM
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VanillaIce
Hitting Paint

Registered: Nov 2005
Location: St. Michael, MN USA
Posts: 129

Bad attachment....

Apparently the attachment that I posted is not working for some. Formatting here on CZ is tough, but I have pasted the content below with headers in the conversation. If you would like a copy of the original document please feel free to e-mail me at jbcurler@gmail.com.



Rick P. - John, these responses were prepared by me based on factual information and daily conversations with the U.S. Olympic Committee and others. I don’t know who prepared this original document since there is no author listed, but I would encourage you and any other recipients of the letter to ask the author for evidence supporting the statements that have been made. I also encourage to ask the same of me (or others on the governance task force) if there are statements made in the responses that you do not feel are adequately supported. – Rick Patzke, COO, USCA

Duluth - The Duluth Curling Club cannot support the by-law provisions as proposed by the USCA governance task force. The new bylaws do address some needed operational changes, but go too far in insulating governance from the membership. They simultaneously undermine what we perceive to be the traditions of curling and the true mission of the USCA.

We believe that:

The primary mission of the USCA has been and should be the support and promotion of the amateur sport of curling. The new mission statement changes the primary focus of the organization to winning Olympic and World medals. The USCA has a proud history of World medals, but we do not believe that being the Olympic National Governing Body should be our primary purpose.

Rick P. Response – There is not a new mission statement of the USCA. It has been and continues to be: “As the NGB for the sport of curling, the USCA strives to grow the sport and to win medals in world championships and Olympic Games.” Regarding medals, please see the summary at the bottom of this document.

Duluth - The sole goal of the USOC is the winning of Olympic medals. As such, they require all resources to be channeled to the administration and technical support and development of professional athletes. It is becoming increasingly clear that the mission of the USOC may not be compatible with what we perceive to be the primary mission of the USCA.

Rick P. Response – When the USCA made a decision to become the National Governing Body for the Olympic sport of curling, it became a partner with the USOC in the development of USA’s competitive curlers. The two primary goals of the USCA mission—to grow the sport and win medals—are complementary. Since the first significant TV exposure for curling during the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, membership in the USCA has increased by more than 52 percent.

Duluth - A CEO who can assume more of the duties currently undertaken by unpaid volunteers is a positive change, but he (or she) should not be removed from direct accountability to the membership.

The proposed bylaws include a board of directors that will make most decisions affecting governance of the USCA. A minority (7 of 15) will be elected by the general membership. Decisions made by this board will be very difficult to reverse, requiring a 2/3’s majority of curlers voting within a nearly impossible time frame. We do not believe that this is a good direction for the USCA.

Rick P. Response – The new by-laws call for the board to consist of 7 directors elected by the general membership, and 3 athletes (who are also part of the general membership), who will make up the initial 10 board members. The general membership also elects 2 people to a nominating committee, the athletes elect 2, and the 10-member initial board elects the other 2. The nominating committee then nominates the 5 “independent” directors to the board for their consideration.

Thus, the general membership will have directly elected 9 of the people (7 board, 2 nominating committee) who are selecting the nominees for the 5 independent directors; the athletes (also part of the general membership) will have elected 4 of the people (3 board, 1 nominating); and the other 2 nominating committee members have been elected to their position by the original board of 10 (7 general membership-elected, 3 athlete-elected). This 10-member board then votes on the nominees for the 5 independent directors. Is this truly a minority position of influence for the general membership?

Duluth - A concern voiced by the USOC was that the USCA membership currently has the ability to overrule decisions made by the CEO and High Performance programs. The proposed bylaws insulate these decisions from the membership. Why should we support any changes of governance that are going to take away our ability to govern our own association?

Rick P. Response – Left out of this statement is that the USCA membership currently has the ability to overrule decisions made by the USCA Board of Directors, which is elected by the membership, sets the strategic direction, and hires and fires the lead staff person. In the governance proposals, the ruling body representing the membership (the Board of Directors) sets the strategic direction of the organization and establishes guiding principles for things like the High Performance Program. The USOC is seeking confidence in the oversight and implementation of its investment in the high performance program. As an analogy, should the shareholders of the Green Bay Packers (something like 140,000 individuals now) retain power to overrule decisions by the Packers Board of Directors, or coaching staff?

Duluth - There is an internal effort in the USOC to change the funding formula for sports that it supports. The USOC has already successfully provided, withdrawn, and returned funding to the USCA as we conformed to their perceived ‘best practices’. Current efforts are to provide guaranteed baseline funding to all Olympic sports, which would remove the ‘carrot’ currently being dangled. With this process currently in progress, we should delay decisions on governance changes that have been forced upon us.

Rick P. Response – Please provide your factual evidence for this. Upon first learning of this statement being made to USCA members, I checked with the USOC leadership and was told that no such change is forthcoming in the near or foreseeably near future. To whit, “There is absolutely no truth to the statement that we are changing the way we fund NGBs.”

The governance changes have not been forced upon the USCA. By unanimous resolution in September 2010, the USCA Board of Directors established a Governance Task Force to review best practices and make recommendations to the board. The recommendations were incorporated into the new by-laws approved by the Board in September 2011, and which are now up for review and approval at the Members Meeting. Whatever the outcome at this meeting, the USOC will respect the autonomy of the USCA to govern itself as it chooses. Likewise, the USCA must respect the autonomy of the USOC to spend its resources as it chooses.

Duluth - No matter what we do to change our operations and governance to satisfy the USOC, we may lose our funding as soon as they see no opportunity for a medal in the next Olympics.

Rick P. Response – The USCA is always at risk of having decreased funding regardless of whether the governance changes pass or not, as every NGB’s resource allocation is based upon performance and strategic vision both on the field of play and off of it. The USCA is currently considered a “medal-potential in the near-term” NGB. If the USCA fell far out of medal contention, and was a consistently under-performing NGB from an business and operational sense, the USOC could reclassify the USCA as a “club or developmental sport NGB.”

Duluth - The sport of curling is unique to most of the sports supported by the USOC. The model upon which the USOC bases their procedures generally involves athletes who begin development in childhood, peak in their 20’s, and become basically non-competitive beyond their early 30’s. The USCA has always supported a life sport. The average age of a new curler in 2002 was about 44 years old. That new curler might curl another 20 or 30 years. While these demographics may be changing, the USCA seems to be drifting away from its primary strength and focus.

Rick P. Response – Every sport in the Olympic family considers itself unique. Please share the source of data showing the average age of a new curler in 2002 was 44. It is not clear what the point of this section is in terms of governance. In what ways is the USCA drifting away from its primary strength and focus?

Duluth - As more money and energy have been funneled into the High Performance program, it seems that other levels of competition have been marginalized. There has been no effort toward significant financial assistance for other World medals (Senior Men’s and Women’s, Mixed Doubles, World University Games). These are all competitions that attract and retain USCA membership. There is no doubt that the curling population has grown with Olympic coverage, but using this growth as evidence that the focus on Olympic medals is the best way to grow the sport is misleading. Curling has grown through exposure, not necessarily medal success. Growth depends as much on retention as it does attraction.

Rick P. Response – In response to feedback from members and participants, this season significant financial assistance was provided to the Senior Men’s and Women’s World Teams and Mixed Doubles Team, and the World University Games teams have always received financial support. USCA dollars (member dues and others) are rarely if ever funneled into the High Performance program. The USOC resources by rule primarily support those competitors and competitions leading to Olympic programs, but they have also supported the more growth & development type competitions (including seniors, mixed doubles, juniors, club nationals and mixed) through use of equipment, ice techs and officials being paid for by USOC resources. Curling has grown through exposure, but what triggered the exposure? The Olympics. If U.S. teams do not qualify for the Olympics (there’s absolutely no guarantee), what might that do to the exposure in the U.S., and thus the growth?

Duluth - Recommendations

1) Reject the bylaw changes as currently proposed.


Rick P. - USA men’s and women’s World Championship and Olympic medal summary

Men, Worlds – In the 44 years of the men’s world championship, the U.S. men won 14 medals from the inception of the championship in 1961 (after two years of a championship between Canada and Scotland only). From 3 to 8 teams competed in the championship in those years, and USA claimed one gold, one silver and three bronze. USA’s last men’s gold was in 1978. In the 34 years since, the U.S. men have won a total of six medals: one silver and five bronze. In three of those years (1991-93) dual bronze medals were awarded to the two semifinal losers, as no bronze medal game was held.

Men, Olympics – Since curling became a full-medal sport in the 1998 Games, the U.S. men have won one bronze medal.

Women, Worlds – In the 33 years of the Women’s World Championship, USA has claimed one gold medal, 5 silver, and one bronze (bronze in 1980, when dual bronze medals were awarded to the two semifinal losers).

Women, Olympics – Since curling became a full-medal sport in the 1998 Games, the U.S. women have not medaled.

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Old Post 04-13-12 09:38AM
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pdevore
Knee-Slider

Registered: Sep 2011
Location: Duluth
Posts: 6

The statement regarding possible changes to the USOC funding formula came directly from the USCA representative to the USOC's Athlete's Advisory Council.

The source of the data showing the average age of a new curler was 44 is the USCA-funded study which resulted in the USCA Membership Marketing seminars. These seminars were presented throughout the country about 10 years ago. This particular demographic was one of the most useful for both recruiting strategies and understanding the needs of the membership.

The 'significant financial assistance' being given our Senior Men's World team is almost exactly the cost of the required uniforms. But thank you for that.

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Old Post 04-13-12 11:00PM
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jhcurl
Super Rockchucker

Registered: Sep 2002
Location: US - CT
Posts: 1161

The GNCC is voting today. Each club will vote and then that result will be presented at the USCA meeting.

As far as ice tech courses, last year the USCA advertised an ice tech clinic in CANADA as the one that people could attend. Interesting since that does not get recognized by the USCA.

There are other things that I have been asking for years to support the clubs such as draw templates being available on the USCA website. Yes, everyone has different parameters but generic draws could be provided, if you want to see what those look like I have about 20 of them.

More later.

__________________
JH
Lets go Phils!

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Old Post 04-14-12 07:43AM
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jhcurl
Super Rockchucker

Registered: Sep 2002
Location: US - CT
Posts: 1161

John, maybe you can explain to me how removing regional representation fosters curling in the US. The point I question is when a club does not pay USCA dues. To paraphrase - a club does not pay dues and after one year has their membership revoked. The region must then also revoke their membership in the region or the region no longer will be recognized as representing any club. Here is the section from the proposed bylaws:

After receipt of notice from USCA of said curling club’s membership revocation, the State or
Regional Curling Association which may be the designated representative of said curling club
shall revoke the membership of said curling club in said State or Regional Curling Association at
the next meeting of said State or Regional Curling Association in compliance with the By-Laws
of said State or Regional Curling Association. If said State or Regional Curling Association fails
to timely revoke the same, then said State or Regional Curling Association shall no longer be
recognized by the USCA as a designated representative of any of the curling club Members
within said State or Regional Curling Association.

Under the proposed bylaws the regions are not members of the USCA so how can the USCA dictate what the region must do? I have asked this question of numerous people and have not yet received an answer.

Jeff Hannon

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Old Post 04-14-12 09:05AM
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VanillaIce
Hitting Paint

Registered: Nov 2005
Location: St. Michael, MN USA
Posts: 129

Unclear

Phil,

it is unclear to me where the USOC AAC rep would have gotten his information, but it appears to be quite inaccurate. It is also unclear to me why the USOC AAC rep would be lobbying clubs and regions to speak out against the USOC and USCA. Seems like that would be a conflict of interest for that position.

JH,

your point about draws and similar things are good ones and I doubt that the USCA has said "we won't do that". Of course there are a million little things that could be done or done better. It's one thing to suggest something...it's quite another to fit it into the work that needs to be done.

As for the dues issue, it may be a valid point that needs ironing out, but hardly a reason not to move forward. And who said that regional representation was being removed? If anything , it will likely be enhanced. I would think that the 9 generally elected board members would end up being a fair cross-section of our membership. And based on the open nature of the structure, I would think that elections for those spots would be highly contested and bring in the best people from around the country.

The whole point is that this change is not about some sort of power play, or calculated plan, or hidden agenda. This change is about streamlining the organization to function more like a business and put us in a better position to deal with our investors. It just so happens that, right now, the USOC is our primary investor. In the not too distant future I can see others being at the table as well...but the same issue will apply to them...who will want to invest in the USCA if they have no assurance of what will be done with the investment?

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Old Post 04-14-12 10:41AM
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Willy
Drawmaster

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: New York
Posts: 592

Hey John

I don't understand why the Olympic team can't be a somewhat different animal. My whole point of hand selecting a team, is to allow all the money to fund that Team. We have to play more and it takes money and complete dedication, that means No real Jobs. Your an Olympian (curler) when someone asks what you do. Its my opinion that you can throw all the stones you want in practice, but there is no substitute for 7 games in a weekend and three of them are against Koe, Howard and Martin. How many US teams are playing this weekend? I know Edin (and Howard) are. My history in politics tells me the money always wins IE: North Dakota. And yes we will eventually Hydrofrack in New York ( money baby, too much of it). Not trying to deny young curlers thier dream, just trying to deal with reality. And the bottom line is (with a hand selected team) 5 or 6 young or Old curlers would realize thier dream.

__________________
We'll see you on the Ice! Willy

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Old Post 04-16-12 09:36AM
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Curlrock
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Feb 2011
Location:
Posts: 66

I know a lot of people don't agree with Willy's previous post, perhaps I don't completely agree either. It just doesn't seem the way it should be. But I challenge anyone to disagree that we would have not gotten better results on the world stage over the past 4 years using this model. He is exactly right. We can keep playing each other and get the same results or play the best in Canada and improve our game. Let the USOC fund the competitive teams. Let the USCA take care of the club curles. We will reap the benefits of the Olympic coverage either way.

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Old Post 04-16-12 10:58AM
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VanillaIce
Hitting Paint

Registered: Nov 2005
Location: St. Michael, MN USA
Posts: 129

I don't disagree...completely.

Willy,

I don't disagree with you completely. But the simple fact is that, right now, many are simply afraid of any selection process that is perceived as being closed. In fact, I know of one person who has been saying that if this governance thing passes, that the very next step will be "Hand Picked" teams. I equate this to "fear mongering" and nothing more than political rhetoric with no other goal than to scare people into voting against this proposal.

The one thing that I will say regarding team selection that I believe and have had confirmed in my travels this year. Whatever, the selection process is for the Olympic Teams, the expectation must be that those teams must have long experience in playing and practicing together as a unit AND as the Olympics draw near, they must be willing to commit an extraordinary amount of time to refining their game. Whether that means playing in Canada, Europe, or simply having meaningful team practices and training sessions! Probably all of the above. Frankly, that is one of the huge benefits of the system that we have put in place for the next trials. Think about it, you already have 4 teams (two for each gender) who know that they must stay together for the next two years and we'll add another 4 this next year. For this reason, it's not surprising to me that Fenson (3 of 4 for ??? years), McCormick (3 of 4 for at least 3 years), and Pottinger (2 of 4 for ??? years) were our best this year.

So whether they are selected by coaches or earn a spot through play, the commitment to improvement is what will determine success. Our sport IS unique in this sense due to the average age of our athletes and the fact that jobs, families, and other life commitments create difficulties. This cannot and should not be underestimated. But as stated, the Olympics is a special thing and it's just not something everyone can do. Even in a selection model where you're basically a Pro Curler, you would be asked to give up a lot...you may think it's an easy choice, but it just ain't so.

In the end, I my own fear is that we will have no choice but to change to a selection model due to lack of funds. And much of the progress we've made, especially for our youth, will be gone. It may be that we do end up with two organizations for the sport or the USCA for club curlng and the USOC managing the NGB. In either case, I think that those who fear "Hand Picked" teams will end up with exactly that.

Last edited by VanillaIce on 04-16-12 at 11:40AM

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Old Post 04-16-12 11:37AM
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Willy
Drawmaster

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: New York
Posts: 592

Thanks

Thanks for your feed-back an your obvious commitment to our game. You must be an olympian or something?

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We'll see you on the Ice! Willy

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Old Post 04-16-12 12:27PM
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jhcurl
Super Rockchucker

Registered: Sep 2002
Location: US - CT
Posts: 1161

Re: Hey John

quote:
Originally posted by Willy
I don't understand why the Olympic team can't be a somewhat different animal. My whole point of hand selecting a team, is to allow all the money to fund that Team. We have to play more and it takes money and complete dedication, that means No real Jobs. Your an Olympian (curler) when someone asks what you do. Its my opinion that you can throw all the stones you want in practice, but there is no substitute for 7 games in a weekend and three of them are against Koe, Howard and Martin. How many US teams are playing this weekend? I know Edin (and Howard) are. My history in politics tells me the money always wins IE: North Dakota. And yes we will eventually Hydrofrack in New York ( money baby, too much of it). Not trying to deny young curlers thier dream, just trying to deal with reality. And the bottom line is (with a hand selected team) 5 or 6 young or Old curlers would realize thier dream.


Maybe these are minor but I don't think so. "hand selection" has to be an open process since the Stevens act says so. Selecting an Olympic team is directly related to results at the Worlds. Without good results, there is no Olympic team. So are we really selecting a World team?

Team Edin is playing but I don't think Edin is playing since he just had back surgery. Did a US team qualify to play this weekend?

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Lets go Phils!

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Old Post 04-16-12 02:47PM
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spiroth
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Apr 2012
Location:
Posts: 16

VanillaIce asked what is it that you want the USCA to do that they are not doing? Here is my attempt at a "coherent" answer:

I want the USCA to provide frequent ice making clinics in EVERY region every year. This means that ice makers will have to travel to clubs outside of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Though I have no problem with charging participants, perhaps the USCA will also have to absorb some of the costs of these clinics. I want the USCA to promote more officiating, instructing, and skills clinics. It means actually have coaching clinics. (I have been a member for 9 years and have never once heard of a scheduled coaching clinic.)

Existing instructors need to have more tools to provide high quality instruction. I am the regional instructional coordinator for the GLCA. When this position was established 4 years ago, we had a very productive meeting in Bismarck that helped us to coordinate our activities and develop consistent instruction methods. However, promised follow-up meetings have been forgotten. A promised update to instructor databases has never occurred. Now, instead of helping the instructors, the USCA has decided to try to sell curlers a book which is not consistent will the training methods we have been teaching. Instruction coordinators should be meeting at least once every 2-years to keep our methods current and consistent.

I want the USCA to have staff members who will answer any question that clubs and prospective clubs might have. If someone calls who wants to start a club, they should get immediate answers about the equipment needed and how to obtain it, what they should tell the ice arena when they call to ask for curling ice time, contact information for instructors who can come and lead learn-to-curl clinics, etc. When a club has been established, the USCA should be the go-to resource for how to become a non-profit organization, where to purchase rocks and equipment, and how to best market the club. When an arena club is exploring the possibility of building a new facility, the USCA should be there with information about costs, financing, and building plans. In short, the USCA should be devoted considerable staff time to developing the expertise needed to help clubs grow and to get new facilities built.

The vast majority of USCA members do not care about gold medals. The television coverage of the Olympics alone creates far more prospective curlers than existing clubs and facilities can accommodate. We need strategies for keeping these people involved and getting more clubs started and facilities constructed. If there were 100,000 curlers in the U.S., the gold medals would come eventually.

As for the governance changes: I oppose them unequivocally. They disenfranchise the regions and make a joke out of member governance. If the USCA was really interested in democracy, the proposed by-laws would allow for curlers to vote electronically for board members instead of requiring representatives to travel (at their own expense) to a meeting to cast proxy ballots. My club passed the following two resolutions unanimously at our annual meeting:

1) The Bowling Green Curling Club hereby expresses its opposition to the USCA’s proposed by-law changes and opposes any changes to USCA governance that does not maintain representation for regional curling associations (such as the GLCA) and does not require that a majority of board members be elected by regional associations or directly by USCA members.

2) The Bowling Green Curling Club hereby expresses its dissatisfaction with the member services provided by the USCA and calls upon the USCA to direct more resources toward grass roots curling.

Scott Piroth

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Old Post 04-17-12 09:26AM
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VanillaIce
Hitting Paint

Registered: Nov 2005
Location: St. Michael, MN USA
Posts: 129

Thank you.

Scott,

first of all, thank you for taking the time in putting a well thought out response together.

I will not attempt to answer all of your concerns, as it is not my place to do so. However, I can address a few things that you mentioned.

There is no doubt that programs for all types of Clinics and Instruction have been abysmal over the years. I would say that it has not been for a lack of concern or effort in those areas. For better or worse, these programs have typically been headed by volunteer groups and committees within the organization. These groups would often have momentum but would rapidly disintegrate due to turnover and lack of involvement.Quite simply, it is very difficult to build and maintain these types of programs with volunteer help alone.

The good news is that the USOC and the USCA recognized this and have been in the process of building a professional Coaching and Instruction arm of the organization...USA Curling Sport Education. The Five Elements Manual was the first of what we hope to be many resources developed by this group. The most exiting news should be relayed this weekend at the Board Meetings, where Scott Higgins will report on his activities. Which includes the formation of a Coaching Work Group. This group, made up of existing coaches across the country have been meeting online the past few months to help define and devise a new direction for Coaching and Certification in our country. Topics to include:

1. Develop a standardized model for training and certifying coaches at all levels, from youth to elite athletes.
2. Create and deliver a consumer awareness campaign to generate demand for coaching and sport education resources.
3. Develop methods to improve coaching development on an ongoing basis at the national, regional, and local level.

Sub topics for each of these have more detail..too much to list, but as an example:

- National Coaching Framework
- Coaches Association
- National Certification
- Event / Club Certification
- Educational Materials and Partnerships
- On-Line Presence / Webinars
- National Conference
- Symposium

As you can see, much thought and work has been put into this NEW area. The key being that it is being headed by someone on staff who is solely responsible for it. To that end, you may not realize that this program, the staffing and many of the resources in it would NOT be possible without USOC funding.

As for club growth and services, it is much the same, too much work being delegated to committees that have turnover and that only really met twice a year. Again, this is not the fault of the hard working volunteers. It is just impractical and yet another reason why this change is necessary! Again, the good news is that the USCA recently hired Kim Nawyn as Growth and Development Manager. Once again, Kim's job is to build a solid and consistent program to deal with all of the growth issues you cite.

To your point about the vast majority not caring about Gold Medals, perhaps the winning of medals is not important to them, but are you seriously suggesting that they don't care whether we participate in the Olympics?!? I find that hard to believe. Excuse me for repeating...a 52% increase in membership since 2002! What would you say those members attribute that growth to?

In short, I think that you have to connect the dots here. Is our participation in the Olympics the only and most important issue? Not at all. However, our participation in the games ,which requires our ongoing partnership with the USOC, is a crucial enabler of many things that we do as a grass roots organization.

So not only is this governance change something that we should do to comply with the USOC, but it is a smart operational move to make us more efficient and effective as an organization. Let the revised board set direction and have the professionals execute that direction. If they fail, they are held accountable like any other professional in any other business.

Finally, whatever the vote ends up being, I encourage you to continue to bring your issues forward. Whether they be directly to the organization or through the representative process. Either way, we all have to hold the organization accountable for its actions or lack thereof.

Respectfully
John Benton

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Old Post 04-17-12 12:25PM
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curlny
Hitting Paint

Registered: Dec 2005
Location:
Posts: 166

TV

One thing left out of this thread is TV.

Curling grew 52% not because we were participating in the Olympics, but because people SAW us participating in the Olympics.It is important to all curlers that want to see growth, that the US teams give the networks reason to keep us on the tube at least once every four years.

It is a shame that the USOC and the USCA find a way to get some curling broadcast between Olympic years, so the growth is ongoing. Even it were the National final 4 at 2AM...something...

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Old Post 04-17-12 01:44PM
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VanillaIce
Hitting Paint

Registered: Nov 2005
Location: St. Michael, MN USA
Posts: 129

Incidentally.....

CurlNY,

Incidentally, I think you may be hearing something on the TV front as well. I just hope we aren't shooting ourselves in the foot with this vote.

A little more patience and a little less fear would go a long way!

JB

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Old Post 04-17-12 01:55PM
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