Rewriting the Rulebook – Section 3b

Posted: November 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

Latest update for the Rewriting the Rulebook project.

b) Four or five members of each team may participate in a bout. There will be four teams in each bout, for a total of sixteen performances per bout.

This is probably going to be a quickly accepted section simply because it has already been talked about and changed multiple times.

Basically, this is where the ‘alt’ talk comes in. It isn’t mentioned because there is no alt rule anymore.

A little history…

Originally there were four person teams with no official mention of alternates at all. Some teams still had them, I believe, but they weren’t codified.

By 2007 (my first CFSW), alts had become enough of a presence that there were rules put into place surrounding them. The rule was that the ALT was not allowed to take part on stage unless someone else dropped out. Once that happened, the dropped person could not rejoin. There was some grumbling about it needing to be unplanned, but that was not codified.

Alts became so common that in 2008 through 2010 the festival organizers booked daytime features for all alts. (I actually officially performed more poems as the alt in 2009 than any of my teammates, who actually won the event.) In 2011 there was an alt-slam.

Being an alt was interesting through this time period. Some teams treated them like full members. Others didn’t. When a CFSW History was created, the alts were largely disregarded.

A new rule was created. It was somewhat of a compromise move, allowing the alts to take part in team pieces and giving them that right to be the ‘primary pen’ for a poem once during the festival.

It was an awkward rule.

After two years that rule was tossed out and the entire concept of alts were removed from the rules. Now the rule is that each team may be ‘four or five members’ (which is left at the discretion of the series that sponsors that team). There are still only four spots in each bout, so on a five person team there will always be someone who does not have a primary pen spot.

I have heard no complaints about this new system.

As someone who had been an alt so often (I made the team as alt four times, though one of those I ended up in a non-alt spot), you might assume I was all for this.

I wasn’t. (Though the removal of ALTs from team lists is something that really irked me.)

I was concerned that this would lead to elitism and ill-will within teams. A person who had legitimately earned a spot could be pushed aside by the other members of the team for any variety of reasons.

Having said THAT, it doesn’t appear to have happened. At least if it has, I haven’t heard about it. (The new rule actually helped me out this year when I decided that I would be happier to transition to a coaching role. It let me give up my spot in our slams without giving up my spot on the team.)

So… does anyone not like the current set-up?

  1. […] festival Section 2 – Discussion: Selecting Judges Section 3a – Discussion: Bout Draws Section 3b – Discussion: the ‘alt’ rule, or lack […]

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