Actually, what the FEI GA has given me is the exact opposite of a hangover. I woke up at 4:45 this morning, my head buzzing with a hundred different details from the past two days. Here are a few of the things that were swirling around in my overstimulated brain:
Question: Did they announce the venue for next year’s GA? I don’t remember hearing it but then I didn’t take in much after the third term petition was announced. I had to go and check the ‘Main Decisions’ document, which was made public last night. Yep, it’s right there as the last item of business. The venue next year will be Dubai. HRH recused herself from that decision, though since Jamaica dipped itself in tar and then feathers at this GA, I’m not surprised Kingston did not get the gig.
I forgot: To mention in my description of the amazing events of yesterday afternoon that when HRH returned to the Assembly, she received a standing ovation. Honestly, it was a nearly surreal experience to be a fly on the wall in there.
Epiphany: the above-mentioned standing ovation got me to thinking about why the national delegates behave the way they do at the GA. There is very little debate on the day – by that time it’s just rubber stamp time. But that’s not because there wasn’t any debate. It’s just that the scrapping typically happens in closed sessions of groups and committees in the two or three days leading up to the GA itself. And there is something that I think is easily forgotten when we watch the voting and listen to the impassioned please for HRH’s third term. The delegates are all there representing the interests of their national federations. Their first priority has to be to act on behalf of their own country and to make decisions that will most benefit their membership. It may seem odd that Canada, for example, voted in favor of the Olympic Dressage qualifications even though there was no change to the team qualifications for the Americas. You would have to know that a compromise was found at the last minute (and not actually in the meeting that I was not allowed to attend) with a rearranging of the individual allocations; and perhaps even more critically, a reduction in the number of competitions to count in the Olympic rankings, from 8 to 4. With the number at 8, there would be many in smaller dressage regions who would sink to the bottom based on the mere fact that they don’t have 8 scores to submit during the qualification period (the silly ranking is an accumulation of points instead of a score average). Canada would feel compelled to vote in favor, in return for the concessions that were made.
Okay, I have to stop for now. I need to pack up and move out of my lovely little apartment at the top of the cobblestone alp, but you will be hearing much more about the GA over the coming couple of weeks.