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Selection dilemmas.

Isn’t it great how even trivial sports events have the ability to make us face up to difficult questions!

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Selection in the club

In Cambridge we are winding up to the Town Bumps. This site gives an explanation and you can find some video here .
In the club I race for, Champion of the Thames , we are finalising selections for the crews. We have nine men's boats entered so there is necessarily lots of juggling. A nice little dilemma has arisen which encapsulates quite a lot of the difficulties in such a club.

The background is that the club has 5 or so 8's that exist all year, train more or less regularly, and race at most of the local events. While there is a pecking order there is no formal selection and the crews are more like groups of friends than teams in a hierarchy. The club has been doing well recently, the top crew is in the first division of bumps and boats 2 and 3 are also going well.

Now, we are one of the lower boats, did well 2 years ago, less well last year in Div 3 and are looking forward to this year because we think we are going better and have a chance to get some bumps. We have a new recruit in the crew, big, strong, young and competent, he was introduced to us by the club and we have gladly taken him in. Now it is obvious how good he is the higher boats want him and the club is suggesting he move up. What to do?
A nice little moral problem. Do we go with club loyalty or crew loyalty? Does the new man stay with us, help us go well, or go up help the other crew and leave us slower?

Isn't it great how even trivial sports events have the ability to make us face up to difficult questions!



2 thoughts on “Selection dilemmas.

  1. Regarding the issue of a good man wanted by a higher boat at the last minute. This surely is equally agonising at any level BUT in a professional arena it will be a no-brainer. if you are needed in a higher boat you go, finish, end of story. The result for the club or country is the only measure of significance. Who cares about the inner debates on who plays for example for Manchester united reserve team because that individual has had a bad run – very few (well OK, quite a few maybe but far fewer than the general interested public.)
    A rowing team can ‘switch’ from being uncoordinated and dysfunctional as a unit to being tight and balanced very suddenly and when that happens it is best not to disturb it especially close to a major competion when there is no or little prospect of finding a replacement and returning to that high ground in time.
    That leaves a really tough one – matching the desires of club captain, boat organiser and then the individual him/herself – best to keep your head down I’d say.

  2. Dot, it sounds like there’s a wealth of personal experience behind your reply!

    From my point of view, it depends on how each crew has agreed its ‘principles’ at the start of the season.
    Some clubs (like Tideway Scullers) agree on the principle that the fastest boat / crew has first call on the athletes and the lower ranked crews are disrupted in order to “feed the need” of the highter crew.
    Other clubs form crews out of groups of friends and they resist any form of selection or testing and so the crew is “selected” on who you know and who likes you.
    Nothing right or wrong with either approach – CAVEAT – as long as everyone knows the principle in advance before they sign up!

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