Keeping the drama out of the derby.

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OneTimeRunner
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Keeping the drama out of the derby.

Post by OneTimeRunner » Sun Apr 04, 2010 4:29 pm

Reading through the threads, it's easy to see that the "drama" that inevitably comes with competition can kill PWD events. The bickering, arguing, and outright fighting that can occur has caused some councils, districts, or packs to stop holding events.

No one wants the drama, but how do you keep it out of the events without killing the excitement? Let's ask the experienced pros on the board. Do you have specific rules that are designed to keep things form getting out of hand?

One that comes to mind from the world of horse racing is the unofficial / official results status rule. After each race, the unofficial results are posted. Owners have a short period of time to file a protest with the race officials. If no protest is filed within that time, the results become official. If a protest is filed, the officials review the information, make a decision, and then the results are declared official. Once it's official, it's a done deal.

This could be done at PWD, but I would make it for each heat. After a heat, the SCOUT, not the dad, has to present a reason they think the heat was unfair. After that time, it's too late.



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Re: Keeping the drama out of the derby.

Post by Darin McGrew » Sun Apr 04, 2010 5:31 pm

OneTimeRunner wrote:After a heat, the SCOUT, not the dad, has to present a reason they think the heat was unfair. After that time, it's too late.
I don't understand how this is supposed to help. What kind of "drama" do you see that this would help eliminate?



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Re: Keeping the drama out of the derby.

Post by FatSebastian » Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:39 pm

OneTimeRunner wrote:No one wants the drama, but how do you keep it out of the events without killing the excitement?
If issues can be identified and eliminated before a race even begins, that might go far in alleviating dramatic tension during and after the race. Therefore, I might first suggest keeping the construction rules reasonably simple (yet as unambiguous as possible), and limited to things which can be readily inspected before the race by well-trained volunteer staff. An example of rule that is not easy to inspect for is a wheel weight specification (difficult, but not impossible). Bans on liquid lubes seem even more problematic.

It is also important for all race officials to be familiar with their own rules and understand their intent and interpretation. Whatever the rules, they should not be changed or repealed after they have been announced or published.



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Re: Keeping the drama out of the derby.

Post by OneTimeRunner » Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:10 pm

Darin-

It could help a couple of different ways.

First, helps keep one incident from disrupting an entire event. In another thread a director was lamenting that, at the end of an event, one of the dads was complaining that one of the times in an early heat were wrong. Of course, the dad didn't complain until after the trophies had been awarded. viewtopic.php?f=25&t=5500

Another way is that it requires the scout to file the protest, not the parents. A parent could rant and rave at the official all they want, and all the official has to say is, "I can't do anything until your scout files a protest, he has to be the one to do it, and I can only speak to him about it." It's a lot harder for them to "get ugly" if they're forced to do it through their child.

And it also gives the official a chance to keep the event focused on the kids, even if the parent's aren't. Does the scout understand what's going on? Can they express why the race was unfair? Do they know why or why not the official is changing the results of the heat?

BTW: I've never seen this rule implemented quite this way at a PWD race. I have seen variations of the rule in other sports. I'm just putting it out there for consideration and discussion.



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Re: Keeping the drama out of the derby.

Post by OneTimeRunner » Sun Apr 04, 2010 10:10 pm

FS- I agree with you.

I'd like to add that well defined rules explain who is responsible for deciding whether or not a rule has been violated, what the penalties are for violations, and wether or not a ruling can be appealed.

For instance, if the rule is "lubricants can be used, but must not foul the track," Who is responsible for deciding if the amount is sufficient to be considered "fouling"? Can that decision be appealed? What happens if a car that passed inspection starts leaking oil or graphite on the track? If a car is found to be fouling the track, are they disqualified from the rest of the event, or are they allowed to correct the problem and continue racing? All of these questions should be answered by the rules long before the event begins.



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Re: Keeping the drama out of the derby.

Post by Darin McGrew » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:44 am

OneTimeRunner wrote:First, helps keep one incident from disrupting an entire event. In another thread a director was lamenting that, at the end of an event, one of the dads was complaining that one of the times in an early heat were wrong. Of course, the dad didn't complain until after the trophies had been awarded. viewtopic.php?f=25&t=5500
IMHO, the real problem in that case was using times when the timing system itself was unreliable. The "drama" was just a symptom.

Rather than trying to sweep the "drama" under the rug, it would be better to fix the timing system, or to use a race method that doesn't rely upon one set of times being comparable to another set of times. And if a timing irregularity is discovered, then the derby organizers should take responsibility for correcting the problem as best they can. To me, it seems counterproductive to restrict when/whether the derby organizers can correct such irregularities.

We use finish order since we have no timer. On the rare occasions when the results of a heat are in doubt, we re-run the heat. There's no "drama". We just do it.
OneTimeRunner wrote:For instance, if the rule is "lubricants can be used, but must not foul the track," Who is responsible for deciding if the amount is sufficient to be considered "fouling"? Can that decision be appealed? What happens if a car that passed inspection starts leaking oil or graphite on the track? If a car is found to be fouling the track, are they disqualified from the rest of the event, or are they allowed to correct the problem and continue racing? All of these questions should be answered by the rules long before the event begins.
Maybe this is more of an issue with regional derbies. I haven't seen this as an issue in our local derbies. The registration inspectors are responsible for deciding if a rule like this has been violated. If there is a question about whether a rule has been violated, then the inspectors consult each other, and may consult other leaders. When the inspectors find rules violations, they send the kid and/or adult to another leader who will help them correct the problem. Once a car passes inspection, it races, even if a problem is discovered later.

But we don't specify any of this in our rules, and we still don't encounter any "drama" related to it.



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Re: Keeping the drama out of the derby.

Post by Stan Pope » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:18 am

OneTimeRunner wrote:BTW: I've never seen this rule implemented quite this way at a PWD race. I have seen variations of the rule in other sports. I'm just putting it out there for consideration and discussion.
Hmmm... you should see it in lots of rules ... it has been C-12 in the Wotamalo Rules for many years and they have been adapted widely.
C-12. Appeals: The Cub Scout must make all questions of rules interpretations,
procedure and fact to the track officials promptly. A station at each track will be
designated for this purpose


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Re: Keeping the drama out of the derby.

Post by FatSebastian » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:20 am

OneTimeRunner wrote:For instance, if the rule is "lubricants can be used, but must not foul the track,"
IMO this particular rule might fall under the broader category of rules that are designed to eliminate interference with other cars, including what to do if a car jumps the guide rail and strikes another car. Most good rules sets I've seen address these types of situations; I agree these should be answered by the rules before the event.
Darin McGrew wrote:Once a car passes inspection, it races, even if a problem is discovered later.
Agree in principle, although if a problem develops during the course of the race so that the car would no longer pass inspection, there may be situations where the car should be fixed or removed. For example, if there is a "no moving parts" or "securely fastened parts" rule and a piece of the car works loose, or if an axle works itself out so that the wheels are beyond the maximum width limit, it is probably wise to address those issues to avoid interference, rather than wait for the interference to happen.

Some racing scenarios do not allow race teams to handle their cars after inspection, including fixing a minor problem that could remedy an interference problem, so the car may be simply pulled from the lineup if it is deemed to be interfering. This is because the other teams may get upset if a team is allowed to made a "modification" during the race that improves their performance. IMO it is important that any necessary adjustments (if allowed) be done by the race team rather than the race officials; I have seen situations where a minor problem developed with a car and the race official / stager just tried to fix it on the spot to keep things moving, which was upsetting to the affected race team, and / or other competing race teams.



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Re: Keeping the drama out of the derby.

Post by Darin McGrew » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:55 am

Darin McGrew wrote:Once a car passes inspection, it races, even if a problem is discovered later.
FatSebastian wrote:Agree in principle, although if a problem develops during the course of the race so that the car would no longer pass inspection, there may be situations where the car should be fixed or removed.
Well, yes. If a problem develops, then we have a pit crew ready to help the kid and/or adult fix it. Most problems have been fixed with gel-style CA glue, or by the car owner voluntarily removing the broken decorations. This year, we had a number of unlubricated cars registered, so a drop of Krytox 100 on each axle helped them at least cross the finish line. And this year, we used 60-second epoxy in addition to the CA glue.
FatSebastian wrote:IMO it is important that any necessary adjustments (if allowed) be done by the race team rather than the race officials; I have seen situations where a minor problem developed with a car and the race official / stager just tried to fix it on the spot to keep things moving, which was upsetting to the affected race team, and / or other competing race teams.
That's a good point, and in general we follow this principle. (There might be situations where the pit crew makes the actual repair, but under the direction of the car owner.) But again, none of this is in our rules, and I haven't seen any "drama" from that.



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Re: Keeping the drama out of the derby.

Post by Stan Pope » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:16 am

Darin McGrew wrote: Once a car passes inspection, it races, even if a problem is discovered later.
This is a good rule, but in our case, the cars are handled by the participants during racing. With the possibility of "stick on weights" and "oozing lubricants", the following exceptions are included.
After passing inspection, no car will be reinspected except for the following
special cases:
A. If the Track Chairman or a Finish Line Judge believes that there is cause, he
may call for a car to be reweighed. If the car is found to be overweight, the heat
results are overturned. The Track Chairman may require correction and have the
heat rerun.
B. If a car is found to have lubricant on the exterior of the wheels, the lubricant
must must be thoroughly removed before the car is allowed to race.
These are in addition to any post-repair inspection, which should be added to this list.


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Re: Keeping the drama out of the derby.

Post by FatSebastian » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:30 am

Darin McGrew wrote:But again, none of this is in our rules, and I haven't seen any "drama" from that.
I suspect that "drama" results from people's expectations not being met in a way they thought was fair. IMO it is quite possible to set expectations via precedent and verbal explanations / instructions without having overly-explicit rules written in advance. (And it is also possible to have elaborately detailed and reasonably unambiguous rules which fail to mitigate drama because the participants / officials haven't read them.)

That Darin's events tend to lack drama I think is a testimony to how well his races are coordinated and managed. Also Darin, I believe your races as CSB; while debatable, races that are explicitly Christian- or church-based might demonstrate fewer behavioral issues with the participants simply because of the nature of the event?



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Re: Keeping the drama out of the derby.

Post by Darin McGrew » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:54 am

FatSebastian wrote:Also Darin, I believe your races as CSB; while debatable, races that are explicitly Christian- or church-based might demonstrate fewer behavioral issues with the participants simply because of the nature of the event?
Yes, our derbies are CSB. Of course, not everyone involved in the derby is a Christian, but maybe the expectations are different. Maybe I should rewatch Down & Derby to remind myself what BSA derbies are like.
;)



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Re: Keeping the drama out of the derby.

Post by Husker » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:45 pm

We just had one of our best Derbies yet. One of the biggest improvements was our software and more specifically, the race data presentation. We hold the derby in the school and have access to an overhead projector. I hooked my laptop up to it and was able to have the current heat and standings on it. It takes a little juggling to get the windows just right but it really worked out well. We hope to do something like this at districts.

Scouts and parents can see exactly how their cars are finishing and being scored as it happens. There wasn't any post race, "Jimmy got 3 2nds, a 1st and a two 3rds but blah blah blah blah blah blah."

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