Last year the Finnish Sleddog Sports Federation (VUL) had a project to try and get a couple of our sports events into public television. This required some sponsors, which were my responsibility. I had a lot of long talks with multiple parties. The sponsors all shared a common concern: The events did not appear to be related to one another in any way or have a storyline connecting them to a bigger picture.
The project was eventually cancelled, but the concern of the sponsors lingered in my mind. I discussed this with Janne Härkönen, a fellow board member responsible for overall development, and I proposed we figure out a way to count individual sports as if it was team sports. I wanted to emphasize the clubs and the season.
Presenting individual sports as team sports
It took us a couple of months of thinking about different ways to could approach this. I found articles describing a system in North America, where universities and colleges compete similarly in individual sports. They have had great success in turning individual sports to tools of team spirit. This was, thus, our inspiration.
We came up with a basic system and published a questionnaire to the Finnish sleddog sports athletes to get people to chip in their opinions. After tweaking the system a bit, based on the results of the questionnaire, we have now published the scoring system.
VUL club championship scoring
All the official events listed in the Finnish Sleddog Sports Federation calendar are in scope of the club championships. Of those events, all official race classes where representatives of at least three clubs finish the race, the clubs will be awarded club championship points.
To even things out a bit, between big and small clubs, each club will only get points for their best performing athlete per class. If more that one athlete from the same club finishes in the same class, those results are effectively removed from the scoreboard for purposes of the club championships.
- Best performing club receives 10 points for that official race class
- Second best performing club gets 5 points
- Third best performing club gets 3 points
- All other clubs with a finishing athlete get one point
The main objective of this operation is to create a long-term narrative for our competitive season and to promote the relevance of the clubs as associations of athletes. The winning club will be one that has active, well-performing athletes representing the club all around the country in a wide variety of classes.
In spring of 2019, the VUL club championship trophy will be given out for the first time!