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fanofcurling
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Mar 2009
Location:
Posts: 79

Questions about Invitational Events

I have several questions about invitational curling events. Most, if not all of these questions are in regards to International events (excluding Canada).

Question #1 - The OOM points earned all season...that go towards the US National Championships and qualifications for Worlds...Do the OOM points total include invitational events? (Example: Team McCormick [a new team] attended an event in China at the beginning of the curling season. Do they get to count those OOM points for Nationals?) So... Should invitational events, not based on a qualification basis, be included in the OOM point total going into the USA Nationals?

Question #2 - Does the USCA/HPP select the US teams that represent the USA at these invitational events? (I'm curious why Team Clark hasn't been to any international events since they are the reigning National Champions. Maybe they were asked and didn't have the money?)

Question #3 - If there was an invitational international event that an HPP team could not attend, would the USCA/HPP offer this opportunity to compete at this event to a non-HPP team? (Example: I'm curious why the Karuizawa International doesn't have a women's team from the USA?)

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Old Post 12-14-16 11:04PM
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tuck
Super Rockchucker

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: St. Thomas, North Dakota
Posts: 2556

I do so love it when someone opens a can of worms in the CurlingZone; especially when it's not me. Opening 3 cans of worms simultaneously, however, might be wiggling closer to opening Pandora's Box.

1. Yes, those points count. If these small Invitationals didn't have points to offer, no teams that you've ever heard of would play. Points are everything today. If they were stripped of their points, they'd need to offer prizes in the mid-six-figure range. For instance: Early in January, Russia will host a very small outdoor spiel in Moscow's Red Square. If they didn't (justly or unjustly) have points for the taking, they wouldn't even draw in Benji Guzman's recently crowned GNCC Clubs champions.

2. Yes, the USCA HPP selects the teams that go. One of good results to come out of the HPP is that our top teams are seeing more events outside of North America. This was once one of our weaknesses. Whenever Worlds was outside of North America, our teams suffered if it was their first time crossing an ocean. They (Derek) try to be fair about it and offer the team with the most points first opportunity (the Continental Cup being the biggest prize). So, for instance, I heard from a guy...who heard from a guy...who heard from Duluth that McCormick was offered the Red Square Outdoor. Most of the team accepted (I think their going without Heater, but I don't really know because I'm nowhere near as connected as I used to be).

3. So the Invitationals may request Brady (national champ) or Face (World bronze), but the HPP doles out the invites and does so by points. If the HPP teams ALL pass, they do offer the spots to USA teams with points. For instance, McCormick is going to the Red Square Outdoor and that's the same weekend as the Perth Masters (very impressive that the HPP has secured a spot for an American team in this historically important event). Brownie has been busy (currently doing quite well in China as I type). I'm not sure why Face passed, but the spot was offered to others with points. Late notice, so the airfares are going to be killer. I imagine a team would need $8000. That's an entire year's budget for even a dedicated team. So our spot in the important Perth Masters may go unfilled as we send a team to an 8 team outdoor spiel. Silly, I know, but one silly weekend doesn't indict the entire program.

Too long and too rambling already. Your fault; not mine.

So cutting to the bottom line: Your real question is, "are these small Invitational a bunch of BS?" The answer is, "No, not really."

Japan isn't going to get a big spiel unless they get a big sponsor and steal one of the Slams. Same for China. Doubly true for Russia. Yet it remains critically important to worldwide growth that we have events is places of possibly explosive growth. So you support these events as best you can and try to get as much good out of it as you can. Just or unjust...fair or unfair...great for our competitive teams or just OK for our competitive team...it is what it is and needs to be done.

Just my thoughts,
Ben Tucker
Retired CurlingZone Megaposter

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Old Post 12-15-16 08:09AM
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tuck
Super Rockchucker

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: St. Thomas, North Dakota
Posts: 2556

Upon rereading my last post, I'm disappointed in myself. Too long, but I have a legit excuse because it's a wide topic. I'm mostly disappointed because I wrote like I'm an expert and I'm not. I used to be...kinda...maybe...but I'm no longer an expert.

If the USCA hadn't laid down a gag order on Board members, we could have an AAC member or a HPP staff member answer these types of questions. As stakeholders, we deserve to know the answers and not my guessed-answers from incomplete knowledge.

But I suppose any answer from someone qualified to answer would have to be checked for wording by the HPP, AAC, USCA staff and the Board's Public Communication Committee. Probably take a month. So instead you get me...unless a HPP player steps up to the plate and gives better answers.

(grammatically, do you use "a" or "an" with HPP? a HPP player? an HPP player? I'm guessing "a" but, again, I'm barely qualified to answer)

Sincerely,
Ben Tucker (this does NOT mark my return to CurlingZone...time for those more involved in the game to drive the discussions)

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Old Post 12-15-16 08:22AM
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MCC_PE
Hitting Paint

Registered: Mar 2009
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 132

If a word starts with a vowel sound, then use "an." "HP" sounds like it starts with a long "a" sound so it gets the indefinite article "an."

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/591/01/
http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/ed...mar/a-versus-an

Even though Purdue is better known as an engineering school, the Purdue OWL is a pretty good resource. I don't know Grammar Girl, but she's pretty good with presenting grammar rules in an way that lay people can understand.

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Old Post 12-15-16 12:09PM
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fanofcurling
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Mar 2009
Location:
Posts: 79

[QUOTE]Originally posted by tuck
[B]

1. Yes, those points count. If these small Invitationals didn't have points to offer, no teams that you've ever heard of would play. Points are everything today. If they were stripped of their points, they'd need to offer prizes in the mid-six-figure range. For instance: Early in January, Russia will host a very small outdoor spiel in Moscow's Red Square. If they didn't (justly or unjustly) have points for the taking, they wouldn't even draw in Benji Guzman's recently crowned GNCC Clubs champions.
__________________________________________________
_____________

Ok, but my point is/was that these points count towards the US Nationals event. Example: Koe might get invited to an event and get some OOM points, but if he gets to the Brier, those points have no significance for going to Worlds.

In the case of the US Nationals, these invitational events points can determine who represents the US at Worlds.

That's only part of the issue.
__________________________________________________
_______________

2. Yes, the USCA HPP selects the teams that go. One of good results to come out of the HPP is that our top teams are seeing more events outside of North America. This was once one of our weaknesses. Whenever Worlds was outside of North America, our teams suffered if it was their first time crossing an ocean. They (Derek) try to be fair about it and offer the team with the most points first opportunity (the Continental Cup being the biggest prize). So, for instance, I heard from a guy...who heard from a guy...who heard from Duluth that McCormick was offered the Red Square Outdoor. Most of the team accepted (I think their going without Heater, but I don't really know because I'm nowhere near as connected as I used to be).
__________________________________________________
______________
Well, I think your response here is a guess. Going into the start of the season, McCormick was a new team, and they only had about 40+ OOM points. The other two HPP, Clark, and Birr had more points going into the start of the season. So why was McCormick the team invited to China?

Tying back to the first question and my remarks, his team got OOM points not because of the rationale that you described above, but because that's what Derek wanted to do???

And so now, other teams that didn't get the same opportunity of an invite have to overcome those OOM points at US Nationals also. Right?

Hey if it's just up to Derek's discretion, then say it. Done issue. Transparency is lacking.
__________________________________________________
______________

3. So the Invitationals may request Brady (national champ) or Face (World bronze), but the HPP doles out the invites and does so by points. If the HPP teams ALL pass, they do offer the spots to USA teams with points. For instance, McCormick is going to the Red Square Outdoor and that's the same weekend as the Perth Masters (very impressive that the HPP has secured a spot for an American team in this historically important event). Brownie has been busy (currently doing quite well in China as I type). I'm not sure why Face passed, but the spot was offered to others with points. Late notice, so the airfares are going to be killer. I imagine a team would need $8000. That's an entire year's budget for even a dedicated team. So our spot in the important Perth Masters may go unfilled as we send a team to an 8 team outdoor spiel. Silly, I know, but one silly weekend doesn't indict the entire program.
__________________________________________________
______________
My questions and remarks are not about the value of OOM points or the system, but on the system used to award those invitational events to teams in the US. I don't think it's as clear as you would make it sound Tuck. I think it's whatever Derek wants and that directly impacts the National Championship, and makes him and the HPP look better.

I'm happy to have someone straighten me out. I just think the OOM points is a charade for the US Nationals. OOM points is about opportunity. While I am fine at counting the invitational event's OOM points at the international level, I think those points should be excluded from the points total for US Nationals.

My final point...The deck is soooo stacked against any team not involved in the HPP. The program we have discourages competitive curling in the USA. Ask the athletes! (that aren't in the HPP)

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Old Post 12-15-16 05:43PM
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Gerry
CZ Founder

Registered: Sep 2002
Location: London, Ontario
Posts: 3857

There are more points available in Eveleth this weekend at the Curl Mesabi Classic than in China at the Qinghai International.

Had teams chosen to play last weekend AND this weekend they would have been able to play 2 events while the HP teams are in China.

Same thing this fall when Heath McCormick went to the event in Harbin, China.

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Old Post 12-15-16 07:58PM
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SPMFromPCC
Swing Artist

Registered: Jun 2007
Location:
Posts: 435

Oddly enough, it can be said that the current system/program both encourages AND discourages competitive curling in the USA at the same time. Think about it.

- On the one hand; if you want a shot at getting to worlds as Team USA, you have to play a LOT. The tougher the events you play, the better. Playing tougher events will make you a better team, which will in turn raise the overall level of play in the country.

- On the other hand; if you aren't blessed with tons of sponsorships and/or a sugar daddy somewhere paying your way (or you're not otherwise independently wealthy), then you basically have no chance to go to worlds because you cannot afford to compete as much as is needed. Faced with that reality, it's very easy to just sit.

It boils down to this: you have to play a lot. To play a lot, you have to have a lot of money. If you don't have money, you can't compete at a high enough level to get anywhere regardless how talented you are. Sad but true.

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Old Post 12-15-16 10:45PM
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curlky
Swing Artist

Registered: Oct 2013
Location:
Posts: 468

quote:
Originally posted by fanofcurling
I'm happy to have someone straighten me out. I just think the OOM points is a charade for the US Nationals. OOM points is about opportunity. While I am fine at counting the invitational event's OOM points at the international level, I think those points should be excluded from the points total for US Nationals.

My final point...The deck is soooo stacked against any team not involved in the HPP. The program we have discourages competitive curling in the USA. Ask the athletes! (that aren't in the HPP)



1.) If you think through one step further, there is a flaw in your logic. If you dont count the invitational points, then those teams playing in the invitationals would just stay and play at other events where they can earn points. Since they are probably higher ranked, they would then take away spots in events for lower ranked teams looking for any points. So now the lower ranked teams have an even bigger deck stacked against them because there would be no bigger events that they would qualify for to earn any points..

2.) The deck is actually soooo stacked against people without money, or people willing to live as homeless people trying to make it.

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Old Post 12-16-16 10:20AM
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tuck
Super Rockchucker

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: St. Thomas, North Dakota
Posts: 2556

Deck stacked against non-HPP teams? Yeah, we know.

Deck stacked against teams without wealth or USA's curling's equivalent of a purple unicorn (a generous sponsor)? Yeah, we know.

Time to get back to important things. Cleveland slams my education with a trite and basic reply to my legitimate grammar question. Where's the line? I know it's "an honorable discharge". I just don't want to make "an" honest mistake.

I'm going with "a" High Performance Team and "a" HPP rigged system. If I'm wrong, we can now all blame MCC_PE.

Ben Tucker (props to Team Brady Clark for getting good sponsorships this year...treat those sponsors good, Brady)

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Old Post 12-16-16 12:45PM
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MCC_PE
Hitting Paint

Registered: Mar 2009
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 132

Sorry, didn't think I was slamming your education and honestly think those two are good resources for grammar. I use both of them whenever I have questions or need help.

"High Performance" starts with a consonant sound (huh-sound) so "a High Performance Team" is correct.

For "HPP," I didn't consider regional accents/preferences so maybe "HPP" depends on whether you pronounce "H" like "haitch" or "haytch" (consonant sound), or "aitch" or "aytch" (vowel sound). If the former, then "a HPP" should be correct, but if the latter then maybe "an HPP" would be more appropriate.

That doesn't help for the written word, because it then is the reader's choice. I'm in the camp that "H" sounds like "aitch" or "aytch" so I'd say "an HPP."

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Old Post 12-16-16 02:58PM
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tuck
Super Rockchucker

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: St. Thomas, North Dakota
Posts: 2556

OK, I'm going to find a hilarious (an hilarious?) reply to MCC-PE. For what use do I have except to distract threads from legitimate curling questions?

If there are questions now about invitational events, just wait until that first weekend in January.

Now BOTH Heater and Face have been invited to the Canadian Open. That's truly great for USA curling. So who now goes to Red Square? With what funding? Who goes to Perth? Again, what financial assistance?

It's going to be a tough week for the HPP decision maker(s). Too many good options, not enough money, not enough teams.

Tuck

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Old Post 12-16-16 08:03PM
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dbsdbs
Drawmaster

Registered: Feb 2013
Location:
Posts: 745

Interesting how little interest there seems to be in USA posts. Many fewer topics, many fewer comments. Is it that everyone is burned out by all the HPP discussion over the past few years? Curious...

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Old Post 12-18-16 10:00PM
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dbsdbs
Drawmaster

Registered: Feb 2013
Location:
Posts: 745

Interesting how little interest there seems to be in USA posts. Many fewer topics, many fewer comments. Is it that everyone is burned out by all the HPP discussion over the past few years? Curious...

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Old Post 12-18-16 10:00PM
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curlky
Swing Artist

Registered: Oct 2013
Location:
Posts: 468

quote:
Originally posted by dbsdbs
Interesting how little interest there seems to be in USA posts. Many fewer topics, many fewer comments. Is it that everyone is burned out by all the HPP discussion over the past few years? Curious...


I comment far less now. Tired of dealing with people acting like trolls that I have read through HPP and broom stuff. I feel the actions of about 5 commenters have destroyed this board. It would be nice to have intelligent discussionas and debate, but instead we get simple you are stupid, you are wrong, stop talking debates.

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Old Post 12-18-16 10:04PM
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curlerbroad
Super Rockchucker

Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Toronto
Posts: 1983

quote:
Originally posted by curlky


1.) If you think through one step further, there is a flaw in your logic. If you dont count the invitational points, then those teams playing in the invitationals would just stay and play at other events where they can earn points. Since they are probably higher ranked, they would then take away spots in events for lower ranked teams looking for any points. So now the lower ranked teams have an even bigger deck stacked against them because there would be no bigger events that they would qualify for to earn any points..

2.) The deck is actually soooo stacked against people without money, or people willing to live as homeless people trying to make it.



Re #2...that is the case for many athletes today...whether you curl, ski, skate, swim, run. If you don't have funding then no glory for you.

__________________
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Old Post 12-19-16 09:32AM
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ChiefIceMinion
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Nov 2012
Location: In the crawlspace
Posts: 83

quote:
Originally posted by dbsdbs
Interesting how little interest there seems to be in USA posts. Many fewer topics, many fewer comments. Is it that everyone is burned out by all the HPP discussion over the past few years? Curious...


Of the topics covered in the past couple of years....

- Brooms: covered in this forum and over in Rock Talk

- HPP: combination of , , and .

- US Elite Curling: it's been the same faces/teams for the past several years, so discussing team/individual performance has also been covered.

- USCA: that's been well covered here as well.

Perhaps turning this into a more club-level forum (club activities, club governance, club-level issues) might get some new discussion going.

So, how much to buy a whole-house ad at your club?

Chief Ice Minion

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Old Post 12-19-16 12:04PM
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dan in la
Knee-Slider

Registered: Apr 2016
Location:
Posts: 7

quote:
Originally posted by ChiefIceMinion


- US Elite Curling: it's been the same faces/teams for the past several years, so discussing team/individual performance has also been covered.

Chief Ice Minion



I disagree with this point. The players may be largely the same, but there's a lot of drama on tap in the next few weeks, and I'm surprised I haven't seen more discussion here.

The key for teams is to be in the top 25 of the YTD order of merit on January 23. Any team in that position is guaranteed that, if they win nationals, they represent the US at the world championships.

On the men's side, only McCormick (16) is comfortably in the top 25. Brown is just barely hanging on at #24. Clark is #34, 21 OOM points behind the #25 team, while Shuster is at #42, 32 points out of 25th place.

AFAIK, there are only three events left that these teams will play: the US Open (only Brown and Clark), the Canadian Open (only Shuster and McCormick), and the Golden Wrench Classic in Arizona (all four).

To get into the top 25, Shuster would need to either qualify at the Canadian Open, or do very well at the Golden Wrench. And even then, it would be a close call.

If Shuster doesn't make the top 25, it would make for a very interesting national championship. It would mean that you might end up with a situation where the biggest name in US curling and defending world bronze medalist would win the national championship but not play at worlds.

But McCormick has been the strongest US team all season, and they have to be the favorite to win nationals and to represent the US at worlds. On the other hand, they haven't played in a slam this year. That's about to change, as they go to the Canadian Open, and then play in the Continental Cup shortly thereafter.

On the women's side, Sinclair is barely hanging on at #25, with Roth 10 points behind at #31. Christensen is at #46, 43 points behind Sinclair.

None of these teams qualified for the Canadian Open, and there is no women's event at the Golden Wrench. So the US Open is the last chance to secure points and make it to the top 25. Roth and Sinclair should have an opportunity, but for Christensen, even winning the event may not be enough.

That makes for a wide open event at nationals. Whoever ends up representing the US needs to perform at a level they haven't been able to reach consistently so far this year. Erika Brown's sixth place performance last year leaves us in good position to qualify for the Olympics, but it's not guaranteed. And, to paraphrase Rick Pitino, Erika Brown is not walking through that door this year.

I've read a lot on this forum about the HP program and about the complicated system for qualifying for worlds. Both of those will be put to the test this winter. There's a lot at stake, both for the teams involved and for US Curling as a whole.

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Old Post 12-19-16 08:00PM
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dbsdbs
Drawmaster

Registered: Feb 2013
Location:
Posts: 745

quote:
Originally posted by curlky


It would be nice to have intelligent discussionas and debate, but instead we get simple you are stupid, you are wrong, stop talking debates.



America 2016

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Old Post 12-20-16 12:07AM
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AlanMacNeill
Drawmaster

Registered: Sep 2011
Location:
Posts: 888

quote:
Originally posted by ChiefIceMinion



- US Elite Curling: it's been the same faces/teams for the past several years, so discussing team/individual performance has also been covered.



So, let's talk about some of the folks who are going to have to become the faces soon...

On the Boys Juniors/Young Men's side of things, there are currently two Junior teams and Half of a 1st year Open team getting National Funding:

Dropkin/Howell - Former Junior Golden Boys. and deservedly so (can't argue with a silver at World's)...struggling a little bit in their first "Open" season, which is hardly surprising really, they've gone from Big Fish in the Junior pool to front end position on another team...they're serving their apprenticeships...it appears they are intended to be a financial focus of the HPP for years to come

Team Clawson - Basically bullied their way into the Junior HPP slot with their performances at Junior and Open Nationals last year. This is their last year in Juniors as a team, as the back end ages out (the front end has another year, and there is another Clawson in the wings...so don't completely count them out...)...so far this year they've had some solid performances in the Junior circuit, and one qualification in Open competition (Mesabi). The question is...where do these young men go *next* year? Do we hope a couple of them choose to focus on school or other RL pursuits, so that the other two can pair up with Dropkin and Howell in the Open era and be the new "Up and Coming" team USA? Or are they just being pointed at hopefully exceeding Team Dropkin's Junior performance from last year?

Team Stopera - The other Junior National team. Haven't been quite as competitive as the Clawson rink on the Open Circuit, I'll be honest, I'm not as up on what they've done in Junior land either...with the exception of their 5th, they've all got another year in Juniors...so they can be safely packed away in the "Wait until later to see" box.

The question is...what is the USCA going to do with the relative wealth of young up and coming curlers? Are they going to just let the current Junior teams wander away when they age out...or are they going to find some space in the Open HPP program....

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Old Post 12-20-16 09:42AM
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AlanMacNeill
Drawmaster

Registered: Sep 2011
Location:
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quote:
Originally posted by dbsdbs


America 2016



More so than you even think, given that some of the folks complaining about it had no issues being down in the trenches shouting down those with different opinions...

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Old Post 12-20-16 09:44AM
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biterbar
Drawmaster

Registered: Mar 2009
Location:
Posts: 530

quote:
Originally posted by curlky


I comment far less now. Tired of dealing with people acting like trolls that I have read through HPP and broom stuff. I feel the actions of about 5 commenters have destroyed this board. It would be nice to have intelligent discussionas and debate, but instead we get simple you are stupid, you are wrong, stop talking debates.




"My advice is shut up and don't give up a big end early" -Curlky

Pot, meet kettle.

__________________
"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire"-Winston Churchill

Last edited by biterbar on 12-20-16 at 11:05AM

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Old Post 12-20-16 10:02AM
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Alice
Swing Artist

Registered: Feb 2012
Location:
Posts: 288

About travel costs and the USCA sponsor contract with United Airlines:

Is it part of a USOC/United Airline contract or something USCA negotiated alone?

Does it provide cheap seats for HPP players? USCA staff? Athelete reps to WCF meetings? Past and/or current Team USA members? Non-HPP national or regional medalists?

What discount and rates to rank and file USCA members?

How much out of pocket travel costs does USCA reimburse to people subject to its gag order?

Some quick surfing: Last season the rank and file can get 10% UA discount on regular fares to sanctioned events:
http://www.teamusa.org/~/media/USA_...rship.pdf?la=en

US Fencing has some more info on what their UA deal is:
http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Fencing/...nes-Partnership

Last edited by Alice on 12-20-16 at 02:12PM

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AlanMacNeill
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Registered: Sep 2011
Location:
Posts: 888

I don't know about the contract side, who negotiated it, or any costing around it, but I do know that the discount was available to me as a rank and file member who was planning on flying to the continental cup of curling in Vegas, and they didn't bother to ask if I was doing it as a fan or official.

Turns out Southwest was still cheaper and fit my travel plans better...but still...the benefit is there if you're into United.

It's advertised as being available for any curling related trip

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Alice
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Registered: Feb 2012
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Posts: 288

Alan,

Right, that United discount for those who can plan ahead is virtually useless. I price checked it a few times for curling trips I've done in recent years but I could always find a much cheaper fight on another carrier.

I strongly suspect the only way that deal makes sense is when blocks of seats are pre-purchased for international events when a large number of players and staff are attending. Or, if United makes a "donation" to Team USA for Olympic travel.

Alice

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tuck
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Registered: Dec 2005
Location: St. Thomas, North Dakota
Posts: 2556

I could be wrong, but I think the interest is still out there for an active and interesting Curlingzone. People just need to get the threads started and the conversations going. There is certainly much to talk about. For instance:

The new Junior Challenge Rounds ended up Sign Up And Go for the East teams, while the West teams need to play. Is that fair? How come they just didn't take spots from the East and give them to the West? What should qualifying for Junior Nationals look like next year (since this year didn't work at all)?

Pools are out for Seniors. Did you see that Patti Lank has a team? I'm fired up about that. Did you see Carothers got seeded near the bottom? I think someone needs to call BS on that. Did you see that the Van Brunt brothers are entered? They were once the heart and soul of Denver curling. Erickson did well last year and adds Darren Kress this year. Darren can play. Multiple Junior golds...one as skip.

Cassie Potter is back and curling well. Savior? Do we wish her team had a possible path to Worlds? Will she go to Nationals if she has no mathematical chance at Worlds? Expensive trip to Seattle.

Last year was all about sweeping/carving/steering. Brady thumped Shuster twice because they were just much, much better at it. Shuster got bronze which is great. Would Brady have gotten silver? Gold?

Mankato is up and running. How about Anchorage?

Alaska is hosting Clubs and entries plummet. Don't call us, Alaska...we'll call you??? Everybody I know that played a Nationals in Alaska gushed joyously about the experience, so maybe they get a free pass on this year???

Junior Stopera wins a good spiel in Abbotsville. Clawson is beating some good Men's teams. A Golden Era coming for USA Juniors like the days of Barcome and Edwards?

It's curling. To curlers, interesting stuff for discussion comes up every week. People just need to start talking.

Ben Tucker

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