I’d like to welcome A Louder Blog’s first ever guest blogger…Nick Wrenn. Wrenny will be involved in the regular piece on this blog called ‘Wrenny’s Wrants’. Nick will have a rant (or wrant as I’ve called it…who doesn’t love alliteration) and I will have my rebuttal after his rant. So I get the final say (because it’s my blog so I only see that as being fair).
This week, while it will be foreign to non-water skiers, we tackle the issue of the ultimate team prize for Australian water skiing. The Beynon Shield.
The Wrant…by Nick Wrenn
In any sport one of the biggest greatest achievements for an athlete at a national level is to represent their state. Why? Mainly because it is a sign that they are recognised as the best in the sport, and are rewarded for their achievements by giving them the opportunity to represent their state at a higher level. However, for some reason water-skiing in Australia does not have the same system.
Technically, anyone who skis in the national championships is in their “state-team”. They are already representing their state. I believe however, that to be selected to represent your state in the Beynon Shield competition, should be of the highest privilege and should be reserved for the best skiers in that state, based on their raw scores.
Instead, our Beynon Shield is a competition whereby people are chosen strategically by their state depending on how well they ski in their respective age division. This leaves out the best skiers in the state who may be Open rated, but no-where near the record for that division. This means that a boy in u/14’s who is jumping 30 metres has more chance of getting in their team than an open rated skier jumping 50 metres. I don’t believe that this is fair.
Let’s face it, whoever wins this trophy has the bragging rights as the “best state” in tournament waterskiing. But how can that be true when the scores don’t even come from the best skiers? It just doesn’t make sense.
My solution is a simple one; you pick a team of 4 (or 6) skiers, the same way you would pick your World Championship teams. This would allow a state to include the best slalom, trick and jump male and female skiers of that state, based solely on scores, not age division records. All the people in a “state team” will have their scores pooled into a separate competition, and the overall scores derived from that competition are attributed towards the team score. Slalom scores will need to be adjusted due to varying maximum speeds, which can be solved by deducting 6 buoys for every 3kph difference.
Out of the 200 competitors at last year’s Nationals, I challenge you to find 100 that know the rules of the Beynon Shield, and if they know who is in their own team. The significance of this competition has dwindled ever since I entered the sport, due to its complex rules and varying representation. It’s time to re-vamp the competition and make it a true representation of who actually is the best state in the country. Because at the end of the day, if you truly want to be known as the best state in Australian waterskiing, wouldn’t you want to do so with the best skiers you have?
The Rebuttal…by Joshua Louder
Wrenny does raise some valid points, especially about not many people knowing how the Beynon Shield scoring system works. But am I detecting a little jealously in Wrenny’s Wrant? Just because his home state (Western Australia) haven’t won the Beynon Shield since outboards were used at Nationals doesn’t mean he can criticise the Beynon Shield scoring system.
The scoring system for the Beynon Shield as it stands is to make sure a wide range of different people from different age groups feel included. If we change the Beynon Shield scoring to just count the best skiers we would be moving back to a more elitist system…which is like any other record capable or professional tournament.
I think the real answer here is to actually promote the Beynon Shield competition a bit better. Make sure everyone in the water ski community knows how the Beynon Shield scoring system works. So essentially it is the responsibility of the media team at Tournament Water Ski Australia to dissipate that information to the masses…and yes that’s me.
Ok well here is the Beynon Shield scoring system as it stands straight from the rulebook…
A4.01: Team Selection:
Each State that is affiliated to the AWWF shall have the right to enter a team of skiers, made up of all state skiers who are rated to ski, to represent their State at the National Championships. The Scoring team of 7 skiers shall be nominated to the Chief
Calculator before the commencement of the competition.
As per AWWF TWSA Tournament Rules 10 Oct 2010
A5.05: Team Scoring:
Team scoring – The best three (3) overall scores for each scoring team in each event shall be added together to determine the team score. These scores will be calculated basing the 1000 points on the Division Australian Record as at 31st January of the current season or the
event score from the Nationals, whichever is higher will be used for the 1000 points. In the case of a tie between teams the fourth jump score shall be used, then the fifth and so on until the tie is broken.
Even though New South Wales has won the Beynon Shield for almost a decade, the competition has been as close as ever. The fight for the Beynon Shield next year is set to be the toughest yet.