Jerry the Geek heretofore known as Jerry the Gamer, earned his new moniker in a points match yesterday. In a stage where one had to carry a deflated basketball and drop it in one of two buckets before the last shot or suffer a procedural he simply dropped the ball on the ground and took the procedural. Now this wasn’t so bad except that unbeknownst to the rest of usIn my own defense, I can only say that every word is true.
unimaginativerule-followers he had an email conversation with the MD in which this was discussed and he didn’t share it with the rest of the sheepsquad. Now this is particularly heinous since he is the section competition director and was using inside information. Hence he shall be known now and forever as “The Gamer”.
[photo credit: Mark O'Shea]
(Click on the image to see the full-size photo. Please ignore the incorrect date stamped on the photo ... it was taken May 28, 2005. Also be advised that there is a terrible sun-glare from the fishbelly white GeekLegs.)
As you may have assumed, there's a story behind the story.
This was a "Points Match", where we compete within the section for an annual award ... a reduced price 'slot' to the U.S. Nationals. As section Competition Director, I'm charged with evaluating all stages for the Points Match series to insure that there are no safety concerns on any of the stages, and also to ensure that competition rules are not violated by any element of the stage designs. (We watch for long-courses where all targets can be engaged from a single location or view, or more than 9 shots are required from a single location or view, etc.) Also, we work together with the stage designer to avoid controversy on stages, such as the possiblity that different Range Officers may assign procedural penalties inconsistently. (More on that later.)
This stage, designed by "Barsoom" and which was an acknowledged rip-off of an Area 1 stage, required the competitor to start with a basketball in hand, and to deposit the basketball into a basket before the last shot was fired. Barsoom and I discussed the stage design elements to make sure that the competitor, if he lost control of the basketball, would not commit an unsafe act by trying to chase a rolling/bouncing basketball around the stage while holding a loaded pistol in one hand. We compromised on a DEFLATED basketball, and using half-cut plastic barrels for the 'basket'. We decided that this would make it very easy to insure that the basketball could be relatively easy to handle, and would not bounce out of the basket nor tip it over.
Finally Barsoom brought up the number of procedural penatlies to assign if the competitor failed to follow the stage procedures ... "the basketball must be in one of the two baskets before the last shot is fired". He had originally written that only one procedural penalty should applied, because it seemed far too cheap a price to warrant ignoring the procedural requirement. We finally decided that, yes, it WAS an advantage to take one penalty, and in return run the 30-yard 26-round stage completely unencumbered by props. "But what the heck, IPSC is suppose to be free-style, and it will be interesting to see how many people realize that you can shoot the stage any way you want to if you think it's worth the penalty".
When my squad shot that stage, I was (by luck of the draw) 9th out of the ten squad-members to shoot the stage.
We watched everybody fumbling with the ball. Some people ran to the first of two baskets, deposit the ball, shoot the closest array, then have to retreat to engage an array which was then uprange of them. Others kept the ball in their possession until they got to the 2nd basket, near the last array, rather than to cross the bay to deposit the ball in the basket closer to the starting position.
One very good A-L10 shooter scampered down to the first basket and hurled the ball into the basket ... and missed the basket. He had to run another few steps down range, pick up the ball, run backwards with the ball in one hand and his gun-hand trailing downrange, to the point where he could safely deposit the ball in the basket. THEN he had to retreat even further downrange, and across the bay, to engage the earlier array.
Shooting encumbered, some people had to take extra make-up shots at some targets; they became so concerned over not losing control of the ball, they forgot that they had shot more rounds than they had planned and consequently ran out of rounds at the last array. They had to do a standing reload to complete the stage.
When I dropped the ball as soon as the buzzer started my run, I was able to treat the stage as a straight 'hoser stage'. Thirteen seconds was a good time for that stage; on the other hand, running the stage with the ball resulted in times of around 20 seconds.
This caused a bit of furor in my squad. I learned that The Usual Suspects can be quite creative in inventing names for 'former friends'. The term "Jerry the Gamer" involved the least invective, and certainly was least questioning of my masculinity and parentage.
Other squads had somewhat different experiences. Near the end of the match, the Section Coordinator informed me that two squads had noted the advantage in not following the procedures, and they had (quite reasonably) ran the stage without the encumbrance of carrying a prop. However, they had neglected to apply the mandatory one penalty ... clearly stipulated in the stage procedures ... for this choice. Since there was no way we could require those two squads to reshoot the stage, we made the decision, albeit reluctantly, to throw the stage out. Too bad, it was my best stage; but I had to concur that we had no choice in the matter.
The rest of my squad, for some reason, found some obscure satisfaction in this turn of events. I attribute this to an unfortunate tendency toward schadenfreude in their personalities, but I can't blame them for their indulgence.