Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Controversy in the Climbing League

Due to the snow storm that never stormed, I didn't get a chance to hit them gym on Monday to see how my team did for the first week of the MetroRock Climbing League. Actually, after reading the rules, I've realized that the scores are posted on Tuesdays. Oh well. In any case, the season has not started without some confusion regarding the handicap and when climbs can be climbed during the week.

The rules do not state how or when an individual's climbs for the week can be climbed other than they must be clean, and by clean - even that is left up to the individual. But the biggest contention surrounds my handicap choice (5.10 - folks seem to think I should be in the 5.11 range) and whether or not all of the climbs in a week have to be done in the same week. I know I'm not making this very clear, so let me lay this out a bit more:
- I chose 5.10 as my group, but folks think I should be at 5.11
- I was told by the owner of the gym that all climbs have to be done in one night, but the rules don't say that
- I feel that I can't do six 5.11s in one night / day, but that may be irrelevant if climbs don't need to be climbed all in one night / day
- If I could have spread them out, I would have chosen 5.11 as my category
- It is unclear whether I will be bumped up (and thus lose points) or if others will lose points because they chose a higher level that they now have to climb all at once (which they weren't planning on doing)

Oh my God! What is to come of this? To be clear, I was not cheating nor being dishonest when choosing 5.10. Honestly, six 5.11s in one night is tough for me. My homerun grade is 5.10c. I can flash any 5.10c in the gym, most 5.10ds, some 5.11as, but rarely a 5.11b. I have to work 5.11a to get it clean most of the time. That, and, my body goes through tremendous swings of strength and energy that doctors still can't explain (no, it's not fibromyalgia or Lyme Disease, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist). I go through these periods when I feel as if I can scale glass, and then other periods when I can barely walk up the stairs without feeling gassed or tired. Right now, I'm in an energy-low period. My muscles are stale, my energy low and my overall, daily body soreness is high. So when I say I can't get six 5.11s in one night, I really mean that six 5.10s are hard right now, too. But even if someone does get 60 points, that doesn't mean anything either. I know two people who really struggled to get 60 points. I'd be lucky to pick up 30, but this has more to do with counting 5.10a the same as 5.10d (which isn't so bad when you think about it, because it ultimately gives a greater advantage to weaker climbers. This is because of the exponential difference between grades as the grades get harder. In other words, a 5.9 climber is more likely to get 15 points for climbing a 5.10 than a 5.11 climber is to get 15 points for climbing 5.12, so that oversight may be fair after all because it strategically gets weaker climbers more involved in climbing and, ultimately better secures their business. And, let's not forget that the grading in the gym within grades varies a bit).

But enough of the sympathy card, I should say that the rules don't say what the expected points per person per week should be. If one climbs six climbs in one's grade, then one gets 60 points (or ten points per climb). What did the creators of this league have in mind when they devised this league? They actually didn't have anything in mind. And let's be fair; they didn't start this league to have the perfect competitive atmosphere. It was probably devised over a drunken poker game when one guy said, "I bet if I put four of my friends together that we'd kick your four friends asses." It was created to have fun, but this hasn't stopped the worry-warts such as myself (and those pointing fingers are me) from openly discussing what could be done better for next year's league. Knowing these guys, I expect them to learn from this and to make it that much better next year.

I should get a clarification, anyway. Let me see if I can get two folks who should be in the know to weigh in. Check back for comments later...

1 comment:

GB said...

Below are two e-mails I recieved from the folks running the league (names have been changed to protect the innocent):

Greg

The purpose of this session is: To have fun, improve the league
concept, get stronger as a climber, meet new folks, etc...

"I was told by the owner of the gym that all climbs have to be done in
one night, but the rules don't say that" - My correction. The climbs can be made over the entire week. Each week ending on Sunday. This was a change that "Knot ME" made at the beginning of week 1.

"I can flash any 5.10c in the gym, most 5.10ds, some 5.11as, but rarely a 5.11b." - Since you have 7 days in which to accumulate 6 routes - I would think your a Div 4 climber.

"the rules don't say what the expected points per person per week should be." - You got it. 60 points or if leading 72.

I'm cc'g "Knot Me" for his imput.

"Owner"

Now for the response from "Knot Me":

Hey Greg,
Thanks "Owner", you got it right.
Greg, I clicked on the link in your original email and couldn't find how to post on it.

I've tried to mention to as many Adult League participants as I could that this session will be a learning session and we're bound to get a few things tangled up in the process. Already I know of numerous things that will be changed in future editions.
This initial league is as loose as possible, meaning that I wanted to
keep it as unrestrictive as I could. Starting out in a less restrictive manner and getting tighter as necessary is far better than the reverse.

I think future editions will require that the routes be done on a single night, but as "Owner" mentioned that wasn't in the rules. One thing I did do was to limit the number of scorecards submitted (there is an updated
rules posting in MetroRock). This is more of a practical matter as many
had submitted more than one card the first week. With 96 participants in Everett and a few more in Newburyport, you can only imagine the challenge as it is with one card per week, let alone multiple (worse yet they multiples expected me to sort through and pick out the six best!).

Greg, in the end, have some fun, and remember that it'll be a better
product based on what I learn this time. I will be soliciting comments as we go so don't hold back, if you notice something, let me know.

See you in there,
"Knot Me"