It has been raining a lot here in north Georgia. When it rains I’ll typically drive to Social Circle and practice on the indoor range at Ace Hardware. If there’s no rain and the temperature is above freezing I’ll stay home and shoot on my range.
Two days ago there was a nice break, several hours, from the rain. This saved me a drive into Social Circle. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy practicing at the Ace in Social Circle. I enjoy visiting the folks that work at the archery pro shop at Ace. I also enjoy simply walking out back to practice.
Practice at home often includes spectators. Two days ago they were the girls from next door. It is fun when they come over to watch.
The practice is prep for the USA Archery National Indoor Championships. Today I read the local (regional) awards are not being presented after the events. Rather, everyone must wait for the finish of all sections, the results submitted to USA Archery , results verified, and USA Archery will mail awards.
Personally, I like getting a cheap medal for finishing in the top 3. That trinket is the period on a sentence. Waiting months to find final results is less enjoyable. If I’d known they were going to switch this up (learned about it the day before the event) I’d have skipped the indoor nationals and would have headed to Alabama to shoot the ASA tournament being held there.
Here’s the update regarding awards:
National awards will be mailed from the USA Archery national office after final results from all locations are verified and combined. No location medals will be awarded.”
The thought of spending two days competing after a whole lot of preparation knowing the results will be months away isn’t inspirational.
To add insult to injury the update includes information regarding parking. For the first time athletes, in my experience, who have paid to compete must pay a fee to park or take a hike.
From today’s event information (one day before the event):
SSA has paid and unpaid options for parking. There is a $5 fee to park on site in the paved lot. There is additional free parking in the gravel lot across the street at the church. SSA also has additional free parking across McGinnis Ferry Rd. There is a trail from that lot to SSA. Do not try to cross McGinnis Ferry Rd directly. The City of Suwanee Police will ticket for jay walking! Please use the trail to cross safely!”
Honestly, I cannot recall every event where I’ve competed. I can recall the last 140 or so events. Those events covered triathlons, runs, cycling and archery. They ranged from local to international. This USA Archery event is the only one where an athlete, having paid to compete, now must pay $5.00 to park near the venue. ($10.00 over the two days on top of the $80.00 entry fee)
For comparison, I parked downtown Athens a few nights ago. I was parked in a parking garage. I was there for several hours. I’d expected to pay. It cost me $2.00. To park and shoot at the upcoming archery tournament the cost, excluding food, gas, lodging (for some) is now $90.00. Parking is 11.1% of that fee! Of course off site parking is free. Families with kids shooting that might find the extra money harsh will end up the most disadvantaged.
Sure there may be other instances where athletes might need to pay to park once they arrive at the competition. I’m saying have not experienced the requirement to pay a parking fee at over 140 events beginning in 2006 where I was a competitor.
You might not consider this a big deal. I do, it is wrong. The athletes are what fuel the sport. The fees we already pay are enough. Last year, there was no parking fee at the same venue. This year someone decided to stick it to athletes to gain a few extra dollars. Oh, there is free parking available – nearby. For free parking athletes and their families are going to need to walk a way with all their gear. I’m not opposed to a hike. Heck, I ran for nearly an hour this morning. It is the principle.
If there is a specific need for revenue ask for help. Athletes will frequently do things outside of training or competing to support their sport. But, grabbing a bit of last minute cash by adding a new parking fee is low.
I’m reminded of an archer that didn’t compete. I watched him a lot and never once did he miss the X on a vertical 3-spot. I asked if he competed. He said, “Only local events.” He added, “I’m not going to travel and pay to compete at a bigger ones – they’re a rip off.”
Sometimes, it is just more fun to practice in front of the girls.