The international divisions currently exist to fill two needs: provide an outlet for the cheerleaders who have aged out of the club divisions while providing a chance for teams from other countries to compete on a ‘level’ playing field.
The problem is that because this division fills two needs currently one aspect of the division has to suffer over another. To make sure the international teams feel successful after paying all their money to come compete the USASF currently limits the amount of US teams to go on to finals to 3. That way the top place an international team can in a worst case scenario get is 4th. But still in general the US teams finish 1, 2, and 3 and no international teams go home with a globe. At the same time International team growth for the US is stunted because of the risk of not making finals for all but 3 teams.
Because of the growing importance to our sport of older athletes needing a place to compete (let us face it… college cheer is dying) I have come up with a solution to encourage growth in IO(C) 5 and 6, as well as reward the other countries that come and compete.
The key is that other countries want a shot to compete against US teams but feel like they accomplished something. Here is how you do it.
There are a total of 6 globes that can be given out in an international division. 1-3 that are the normal medals, and 1-3 for the emerging countries. An emerging country is any country that has less than 50 teams that goes to Worlds (this should effectively eliminate the US, but allow everyone else to be an emerging country. The specifics of what qualifies as an emerging country can be adjusted if this is actually put into place). This emerging country is ONLY for international.
1 – 3 is ALWAYS given to the top three scorers. If none of the top 3 scores is from an emerging country, then 1 – 3 for the emerging countries is given out. These globes are the exact same as 1 – 3 normal ones, but say the word ‘emerging’ on them. If 1 – 3 top scores IS an emerging country they get that globe AND the golden globe for an emerging country.
Why is this great? In general the US teams will be a good bit stronger than the international teams. This is not a forever thing, but a right now thing. If 20 teams come into the international division from the US, most likely the top 20 will be the US. But if Columbia has the 21st highest score overall and wins a globe for 1st place emerging country they will feel accomplished AND get a legit shot against the US teams to try and improve.
More US teams will be encouraged to come in and compete, more international teams will come in and compete, and everyone will be happier with the process.
This is not unlike when someone runs a marathon. When you finish, you get your place for the entire race, but also your place for your age group. You may finish 5,000th overall, but get 50th for your age group. That breakdown makes runners feel accomplishment and come back for more.
To all US and International teams: if you feel like this is a good idea feel free to write the NAB and Steve Peterson. Emailing them will help get this idea out and discussed!