Friday, August 11, 2006

The National Debate

Teams from across Canada (mainly from southern Ontario and Eastward) are heading to Halifax next week for the Canadian Nationals. I've come to the opinion that it's time that we joined forces with the U.S. (maybe Mexico) and have a North American championship. Then, every 4 years when there is a world qualifier then we all meet for the championship, but one day is dedicated for a qualifier bracket for your respective country. This is just an idea, and there is plenty of room for adjustment.

So, why am I for ending the Canadian series? Well I have a two arguments - money and quality of tournament.

From a quality standpoint, unless Canadian Nationals is held on a year where there is actually a chance to qualify for worlds, the quality of the tournament is low. For example, this year in the open division, only one team from western Canada is making the trip. I don't blame the west teams at all. Why fly for a tournament that only includes, arguably, one UPA championship caliber team? Obviously, Canada's population can't support a quality year end year out national championship.

Then there's the costs. This part is the one that really gets me excited. To play in Canadian Nationals the costs are:

  • CUPA membership fees are $ 31.25
  • CUC Player fees are $ 135.38 ($95 + $13.30 HST + 25%)
This is the late fee, so I think it was around $103.00 a few weeks ago. This price does not include a regional tournament cost and the usual travel and accommodation expenses. I'm not going to ask the question, "Where does the money go?", but I will take a look at UPA equivalent and ask, "Why do we pay so much?".

I know the cost equation answer probably comes down to population of CUPA versus UPA, but UPA fees are 40 USD for a year. With those fees you get access to UPA insured tournaments and you get to play in the UPA series. The number and quality of teams in this series means that you get to play in a sectionals, and potentially a regionals and nationals. The Northeast regionals is going to be a better tournament than Canadian Nationals, and you only have to drive 10 hours (from Toronto) instead of paying for a flight. These tournaments will have a tourney fee, but for a team of 20 people, Nationals will cost approximately $2000 per team. UPA regionals is in the 300 USD range.

The only remaining question is why should UPA join with us. Well, population wise we are small, but Canadian teams would still contribute a reasonable percentage of income for the organization. Canadian teams also add to the quality of many UPA series with strong competitors in almost every division both college and club. Finally, the main argument for not including Canada is the occasional problem that occurs when each country needs to determine their representative team at Worlds. I'm sure smart people could figure this one out.

I guess, I'm attacking Canadian Nationals a little hard. There are some benefits to the tournament including a chance to see my country while playing the sport I love, meeting fellow Canadians from across the nation, and a chance to win a reasonably respected championship. Also, the University series makes sense since a spring University series in the U.S. is difficult for Canadian students since it occurs during exams.

Regardless, best of luck to all of you heading to Canadian Nationals. I expect to hear some good dancing and ultimate stories.



Anonymous said...

The UPA already joined with us. Canadian teams are invited to play in the UPA series every year. Up until 199-something (4?) this was not the case. Be thankful.

The real question is why this hasn't squeezed out the need for canadian nationals - although it sort of has.
It's like if there was a Texas-wide and Texas-only championship that cost $600. Would anyone go to that?

I think this falls under misguided Canadian nationalism in the spirit of those CanadaPost heritage moments (eg. "burnt toast" man). The real question is why the government doesn't subsidize CUPA.