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12-08-18 12:40PM
Observer is offline Click Here to See the Profile for Observer Find more posts by Observer Add Observer to your buddy list Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Observer
Swing Artist

 

Registered: Apr 2016
Location: River Falls, WI, USA
Posts: 209

Whither US Open?

Over the last month or two the list of entered teams on the women’s side of the US Open in Blaine at the end of December has been getting smaller and smaller. Now the link on the women’s schedule is completely gone. I guess this means they’ve cancelled it?

What went wrong here? Why did the field erode so badly to the point it’s not happening at all?

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12-10-18 11:17AM
curllaw is offline Click Here to See the Profile for curllaw Find more posts by curllaw Add curllaw to your buddy list Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
curllaw
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Registered: Dec 2018
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U.S. Open

The U.S. Open is an event that has had success for several years and has been growing and growing. It has attracted top teams in the U.S. and Canada. This year, however, the High Performance Program within USA Curling has decided to schedule a "practice" at the Chaska Curling Club that same weekend. As a result, almost all of the HPP teams have dropped out of the event - at the urging of the USCA and the HPP coaching staff.

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12-10-18 01:13PM
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curlerbroad
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Registered: Feb 2004
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Two things - do curling governing bodies not check schedules first and why do the HPP curlers not say to USCA hey there's a big event for us that weekend and none of us can go. Or are they scared of being kicked out of HPP if they say that.

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12-10-18 02:19PM
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Observer
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Thanks for the answer.

Now I'm wondering why the HPP seemingly has it in for the Four Seasons Curling Club in Blaine. Why did they move the Olympic training site to Chaska, and why are they clearly turning the screws further on Blaine with these schedule shenanigans?

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12-10-18 02:20PM
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curllaw
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Yes, the logical thing would be for the USCA to recognize that there's a major event that weekend, and schedule practice another time. A cynic, then, might think that maybe - just maybe - the scheduling of this practice was intentional and that there's an internal conflict between the U.S. Open and the USCA/HPP? I can't speak for any HPP athletes, but I think it's fair to assume that they feel at least some pressure to choose the practice session over the event. Kudos to any HPP teams that did not drop out.

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12-11-18 11:44AM
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southerncurler
Harvey Hacksmasher

 

Registered: Jan 2015
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Well, there’s a less sinister option out there as well. The US Open is during prime “vacation” time on the calendar for adults and the college/high school aged athletes as well. it would likely be an ideal weekend for the HPP to have all athletes together at one spot.

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12-11-18 04:11PM
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NOLA_Curler
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quote:
Originally posted by southerncurler
Well, there’s a less sinister option out there as well. The US Open is during prime “vacation” time on the calendar for adults and the college/high school aged athletes as well. it would likely be an ideal weekend for the HPP to have all athletes together at one spot.

But they'd be all together in one spot at the U.S Open...

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12-11-18 09:27PM
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Grat
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Registered: Mar 2014
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We should be fostering competitive events in the US, and that should include promotion and participation by the HPP teams. Not supporting the event is a bad look, but probably only a select group will know if it was intentional.

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12-12-18 10:53AM
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NOLA_Curler
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True – no one but the USCA/HPP knows the actual intent/motivation behind scheduling the ‘practice’ in Chaska opposite the US Open. It could be a perfectly innocent and reasonable explanation. But to the casual observer, something just doesn’t smell right here. The relative trajectories of the Four Seasons CC and the Chaska CC are interesting to note.
Two years ago, the Four Seasons was flying high. It was the Olympic Training Center, and the U.S. Open was arguably the most prominent World Curling Tour event in the United States, regularly attracting not only the HPP teams but Brier, Scotties, and international participants.
In contrast, Chaska seemed to be persona non grata in USCA circles. It was not even a member of the USCA and I seem to recall Team Shuster getting scolded for playing a one game exhibition there against Ulsrud in 2016.
Flash forward to the present…
Chaska has become the Olympic Training Center (in place of the Four Seasons) and recently hosted Curling Night in America for the USCA.
The Four Seasons, on the other hand, now can’t even get *local* HPP teams to attend the U.S. Open, despite being on the same weekend that it was being held on in its heyday. Yet all of the HPP teams had no problem making it to the Curl Mesabi Classic – a more geographically isolated event with a lower purse – two weeks ago.
Now, what may have caused the Four Seasons’ fall from grace? We may never know, but it is notable that last year, members of the management of the Four Seasons and the U.S. Open had a prominent conflict with the USCA regarding a certain non-HPP team’s participation in the Olympic Trials. Said non-HPP team won the right to be in the Olympic Trials, and I dare say that folks at the USCA/HPP may not have taken kindly to the arguments that were made during that process or to the ultimate result.
While the removal of the Four Seasons as the Olympic Training Center and the HPP’s withdrawal from the U.S. Open may have nothing to do with the conflict over the Olympic Trials, the relative timing of these events is at the very least curious.

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12-12-18 11:41AM
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curlerbroad
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NOLA_Curler I think that is a very wise explanation. I just wish curlers would stand up for these events and tell HPP no we can't come to practice because there is an event where we can make some money.

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12-12-18 09:40PM
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Observer
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Registered: Apr 2016
Location: River Falls, WI, USA
Posts: 209

Thanks for the discussion everyone.

Another thing the HPP seems to have neglected in all this is the fans like me from the Twin Cities area who liked to attend and watch our top curlers at the US Open throughout New Year’s weekend. Now we’re denied that.

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12-15-18 02:57PM
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dbsdbs
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Registered: Feb 2013
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Hard to make sense of HP decision to hold practice session same weekend as US Open. 7 HP teams had signed up for Open so HP clearly knew their schedules. HP will likely say teams were given "choice" whether to withdraw but no doubt HP teams were afraid to say no to HP. USCA says they want to grow the sport and has said USA needs tour event, then they do this. I would hope USCA and HP would be beyond trying to exact retribution from Four Seasons CC but this shows otherwise. Really inexcusable on HP part. Would love to hear them explain this one.

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12-15-18 03:20PM
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dbsdbs
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quote:
Originally posted by curlerbroad
Two things - do curling governing bodies not check schedules first and why do the HPP curlers not say to USCA hey there's a big event for us that weekend and none of us can go. Or are they scared of being kicked out of HPP if they say that.


Surely nobody believes the HPP was not aware that their teams had registered for the US Open. And yes, curlers are very much aware of and frightened by the absolute power wielded by the HPP

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12-17-18 03:20PM
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Alice
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Registered: Feb 2012
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From the start the US HP program has had top-down authoritarianism with off-ice backroom deals and decisions by secret squirrels. First, everyone had to kow tow at Four Seasons. Now at Chaska. Nothing has changed but the locale of the current royal court.

Competitive curlers must kow tow to the whims of the HP program if they want to be "selected" for Team USA. It should be called "Team HP" not "Team USA."

At least, USCA's royal court no longer shelters a notorious butt-patter coach who thrived in the secret squirrel nest. I lost count of the number of female curlers who wre afraid to complain openly.

Now, Four Seasons is learning to live as a normal curling club without HP support. Maybe it will join the effort to get more slots for teams at Club and Arena nationals which are supposed to be stepping stones for the peasants to compete at aristocratic levels.

Meanwhile, I see the Mixed Doubles National field is pre-packed with HP selectees while a small group will playdown soon for the last slots. Not til the clubs at USCA board level refuse to allow this sort of HP program sandbagging of our fellow curlers and clubs will this bad royal court behavior stop.

Last edited by Alice on 12-17-18 at 06:12PM

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12-17-18 09:04PM
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Observer
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Registered: Apr 2016
Location: River Falls, WI, USA
Posts: 209

If Four Seasons were complicit in a cover-up of sexual-harassment coaching, then that puts an entirely different light on the matter, and they and the US Open deserve all the shunning they can get.

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12-18-18 12:20AM
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NOLA_Curler
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Registered: Dec 2018
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quote:
Originally posted by Observer
If Four Seasons were complicit in a cover-up of sexual-harassment coaching, then that puts an entirely different light on the matter, and they and the US Open deserve all the shunning they can get.

I didn't read Alice's post as suggesting that the Four Seasons was complicit in sexual harassment; I thought the indictment was of the HPP, regardless of venue.

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12-18-18 01:57AM
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Alice
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Registered: Feb 2012
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Butt-patter was gone more than a year ago so I doubt that was a factor.

What would make me shun a fellow curler? Cold-blooded murder. Kicking a child when down. But not any spats about differences of opinion between adults on a right to compete administrative USCA court or what ice facility gets USOC HP funds.

For sandbagging a club's national level open cash spiel? Is there any excuse for that behavior? Crickets so far from HP and Four Seasons.

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12-19-18 11:35AM
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Clappy
Harvey Hacksmasher

 

Registered: Feb 2017
Location: Livonia, MI
Posts: 55

Who was the "butt-patter"? What's the story behind this? I must have missed it.

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