This was the easily largest US Nationals ever, and in one of the most visible venues possible, Las Vegas. From all the great cubers from around the world and the country, the excellent competition heat system, and the prize money in $2 bills, simply put the competition was one of the best I’ve ever been to. I was skeptical about how the competition would go since it was announced, and nothing is perfect, below is a small list of what I think worked well and what didn’t.
Lighting, I didn’t think it was the best, I asked other people and no one else had complaints about it, so it’s probably just me.
Expensive stuff, a ATM ate my debit card the day before I got there so I was paying for everything with the cash I had and a credit card. Food was unexpectedly expensive, you always hear about Subway’s $5 footlong subs, in Las Vegas they’re $10 footlongs.
Venue layout, the side rooms were just in the right place, the tables in the main room were laid out such that spectators could easily watch, competitors could wait behind the stage, and others could congregate around the circular tables. The side stage too was in a good place.
Seminars, I only went to one of these, there were about three every night though, in the one I did go to the person speaking delivered information that cannot be directly found anywhere and was thus very helpful and insightful, I hope they do these again.
Heat System, they did this at US Nationals 2011 in Columbus, OH. It’s essentially the smoothest way to handle a large number of competitors. The staff is comprised of judges, runners, scramblers, and recorders. judges stay seated, while runners call people and run cubes to and back from the scrambler’s table where they’re scrambled. When an average is done the runner takes the scorecard to the recorder. It worked great in 2011 and worked even better here, so much so that some events even went ahead of schedule.
Age limits, if you’re under 21, what you can and cannot do in Las Vegas is limiting. I thought this would be a short coming of the venue, but for the younger cubers seminars and cube mettings through the night took care of this. For the older cubers though, there were a few days where hangovers definitely affected some performances.
World Championships 2013 will be in the same city July 26-28th. I will not be going as I will be in a different country. I’m not too disappointed about this, there will always be more World Championships, and one trip to Las Vegas in a lifetime, being the city it is, is enough for me.
After last week’s fiasco with GoDaddy, I decided to move domains and hosting server. TheSixSides and another domain of mine are now hosted by Namecheap on a server by Namecheap.
GoDaddy’s position on the entire matter of the Stop Online Piracy Act is despicable and I can only hope that the mass of domain transfers gives them something to think about. For many, GoDaddy agreeing to SOPA was merely the last straw, it was for me, the company has historically been pretty darn annoying. I can think of a few other reasons why I decided to leave GoDaddy.
Advertising campaigns. Yeah yeah sex sells, but really what a blow for feminism.
Bob Parsons big game hunting controversy. Keep it in the game next time (pretty sure no elephants in that game actually).
Constantly trying to sell you stuff. I have this suspicion that they want you to log on to their site drunk really out of it and ” “accidentally” buy 50 SSL certificates and silly domains with every silly feature they offer.
Icky Sticky User Interface on their site. I’ve had to consult their documentation every time I wanted to do something.
Just wow. My brother is going to the same college as I am so my parents decided we can send the car out too. I agreed to drive it up, and on top of that I bargained to also go to US Nationals in Columbus, OH; and then the Canadian Open in Toronto, Canada.
I never realized how long it was until I talked to Weston Mizumoto on the end of the second day of driving. OVER 2500 miles!? Well whatever, went forward with it. They say “it’s the journey not the destination that matters.” Whoever said that probably didn’t road trip much, everyday was a zen struggle to remain calm, comfortable, and clear minded. I held that mindset until the final leg of the journey driving back from Toronto. Where, after nearly running out of gas (in Canada), I sustained myself through the entire drive on nothing but a box of Triscuits and a RedBull. Needless to say when I finally got out of the car at school, home away from home, I was pretty jittery. A quick run to the still open cafeteria fixed that.
They were AMAZING. US Nationals has never been so organized and smooth, they also were able to announce next year’s Nationals in Las Vegas, Nevada! I do not yet know if I will be going or not, it seems like it will be pretty cheap though (and as some one brought up, if I need some money I can probably get by with cubing on the street with a hat out). I did ok in the competition, I got a 25.77 OH average, and beat my former 5×5 single and 3×3 single! I got to meet two former world champions, Yu Nakajima and Breandon Vallance, two amazing cubers, Breandon even took the 3×3 event! I was witness to an interview with Nakajima, never encountered a more soft spoken and wise cuber, he had a lot to say, (albeit in Japanese). The competition finished well.
The Canadian Open was simply a new experience, I haven’t been out of the country in years and not to Canada in more than a decade. Cultural differences aside the competition was very similar to US competitions. Only two days long I have never felt happier nor more sad in a competition. I finally got my official sub-15 3×3 average and on the other hand I didn’t make 4×4 cutoff. Didn’t make Square-1 cutoff either, but luckily registration fee was flat rate, not pay per event which racks up quickly if you’ve ever registered for Nationals. I don’t know when I’ll go back to Canada for a competition, perhaps if there are anymore 2 day competitions up there I could justify going. Still, met my cubing goals of the summer with these two competitions and wouldn’t have it any other way.
The End (for now)
I have never cubed so much in preparation for competitions. I found out I can do averages of 50 OH and that I am certainly capable of sub-15/14. But right now I am worn out, I’ve been cubing straight since 2006 my longest break I can remember was about seven days. I am now taking more of a break, I’m not going to do any serious cubing until October. In that time you might see videos from other things I do, you might not. I’m not quitting, I already plan to be at the Indiana 2011, just need to do some other things for awhile, that’s not cubing.