With the rise of the Regional circuit events in all age groups, the local schedule has dwindled to the point where instead of 15-20 fencers of a variety of skill levels, local events are lucky to draw enough bodies to even run the event (events are not sanctioned by Philadelphia Division or USA Fencing unless they have six competitors in the field).
Local level events are now seen primarily as developmental events for less experienced competitors, which is ok, as far as that goes, because most local level events are lower rated and only occasionally feature stronger fencers who might be coming for practice or to try for a higher rating if there are actually enough fencers. For those who don’t know, anyone who wins an event with 6 competitors earns an “E” rating, the first rating most fencers acquire. Only events that have at least 15 competitors have the ability to generate a higher rating level, and at least 4 of the competitors in the 15 person field must already be rated. So earning a higher than “E” rating can be a tricky proposition. Many, many times in the past season FAP has hosted events with at least 4-6 rated fencers but the entry has fallen short of the necessary 15.
FAP fencers should try to sign up for FAP events whenever possible to help themselves have more chances to improve their ratings.
My main point, however, is this; very often we have only just 6 competitors, the bare minimum to run the event. When a competitor in one of these “barely there” events fails to show up, or withdraws from the event the day of the event sometimes hours before the event, they have just wasted the time and money of the competitors who have traveled to the venue, started their warm-up in the expectation of competing, the event manager who has blocked the day to run that event, the referee/s who may have been hired to ref the event.
We had this happen just this last weekend, and this has prompted the following changes. All FAP events will have an entry deadline of Wednesday prior to the event. We are extending our no-show policy to include those who withdraw less than 24 hours before the event. No-shows will not be allowed to pre-register for the rest of the season and will have to pay the walk-in fee to compete.
We recognize that last minute emergencies do occur and some people do email or call to let us know (usually our own people), just as many have signed up for everything on the calendar and then forget what they have signed up for, or look at the size of the field the morning of event and decide since they can’t get a higher rating they will withdraw, if they can even be bothered to do that much. The bottom line is that we can only expect our own people to actually show up, so we urge you to pre-register, recruit your teammates, and help us ensure that we have enough to run our events. If we don’t have at least 6 pre-registered fencers by the deadline, events will be canceled that day. If the event drops below 6 after the deadline, the event will be canceled.