Recently, I received the schedule for the 99th National Skirmish. It is a standard Wednesday to Sunday schedule, with six Team Matches and various other necessary --Board Meetings, Roll Call - squeezed in. And I do mean squeezed in. Previously in this column, I believe I shared with all three of my avid readers my position that the National schedule was busting at the seams and we needed to make teams qualify for a schedule which included open Individuals and National Team Events which included only the upper and middle echelons of our sport. I am sure Mr. Crawford remembers the phone calls if no one else does.
There just is not enough time in a National Skirmish schedule to allow for everybody, and I mean everybody, to compete in hour- after-hour of Team events. There are only so many hours of daylight available in a Wednesday to Sunday schedule, and there is a lot of competition for those hours between practitioners of the various skirmishing skills.
And, that's why I want to propose that we shift the weekends we hold National Skirmishes one week later and conduct our National Skirmishes on Memorial Day weekend and Columbus Day weekend at Ft. Shenandoah.
This change in weekends would allow the participating teams to shoot Individuals all day on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday until 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday schedules would not change. On the Monday holiday, Revolver Teams and Breechloader Teams would compete. Members not shooting Individuals would not have to take vacation time to shoot Revolver or Repeater Matches. Those bureaucratic assemblies could be held Sunday evening after Phase II of the Musket Match, when there is more time. Additionally, when something has to be added to the schedule, Friday afternoon would be completely free. That is the beauty of this schedule, it is more flexible then our current, tightly choreographed schedule. There is room to add Smoothbore Team Matches (Sunday evening), and it allows the "all must play" precept to prevail for many years to come.
When Skirmishing was young, it wasn't particularly a "family" sport. Until this decade, women were not members of the N-SSA. Historically, our schedule reflected a perceptive and prudent avoidance of infringing upon likely family holidays and weekends. As we have progressed and grown, skirmishing has become a family sport (and a lot of those women shoot better than me!) and is less likely to suffer poor attendance due to a holiday schedule.
This proposal really only shifts Revolver and Repeater to Mondays. The Individuals would still be posted Saturday evening, Musket would still be incorporated into the Sunday routine. I wouldn't be surprised if this proposal actually lets a lot of members use less leave to do their skirmishing, and isn't that a good thing?
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