There's been quite a bit of interesting stuff going on that we've completely failed to cover here. What can we say? Follow the money.
One thing that came up yesterday that sparked some interest is Charles Christianson's candidacy for athlete representative on the USSA board of directors. It's interesting for a number of reasons. Charles posted his application and resume, as well as some information about the process, on his website. It's a pretty revealing glimpse into the inner workings of USSA. If you even knew that there was an athlete rep, it's less likely that you knew exactly what that person's role is, and even less likely still that you knew how that person came to be the athlete rep. Incidentally, Scott Macartney is the incumbent and he is up for re-election. It's impossible to say whether or not he's done a good job, because basically nobody knows what the heck sort of stuff goes on in the Center for
Charles is taking a populist position: he's advocating for greater inclusion of collegiate athletes into the development pipeline. Now if we can get him to push for a repeal of the 67% head tax increase we're experiencing this year (it went from $6 to $10 overnight, and it's now over $50 to enter a USSA race pretty much everywhere), we might see some real benefit to the vast majority of USSA members toiling away down here, miles from the World Cup. Was anyone on the board advocating for the athletes impacted by that tax increase? USSA's extreme focus on the upper end has never been more clear, and lately I have the sense that USSA is more akin to MLB or the NFL, and less akin to the youth sports or member-driven organization that many people think of it as. Maybe that's the source of the growing pains we seem to be constantly experiencing: a simple identity crisis. What are we?
Without trying to take sides in the election, Charles would be a great pick. He's a true fanatic when it comes to ski racing. His brother is on the Development Team, Charles has raced a World Cup and done a lot of fairly recent trench warfare in Europa Cups, Nor-Ams, collegiate racing, and regional FIS. He is as much a man of the people as we might be able to have in that position. All that said, Macartney is a really intelligent guy, and a huge advocate for our brothers and sisters trying to make the Ski Team. He's already successfully advocated for a number of positive changes at the upper levels, and without him the World Cup Dreams Foundation might not even exist.
Frankly both Charles and Scott would probably do a good job. And the fact is that the voting pool is so small and exclusive (read Charles' blog post about it) means that it doesn't really matter what most of us think anyway. But it does beg the question of what the point of an athlete rep is. So at that, here's a question tossed to the ether, to anyone out there with a vote in this particular election: What, in your view, is the job of an athlete rep? What makes a good candidate?
PS - don't forget about the real election that's happening today. Romney brought us SLC '02 (thanks to funds from the federal government), but Obama's family supported the local economy in Aspen (freeloading off millionaires while the rest of us suffer through the recession. Plus they skied at Buttermilk. Ugh.)