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I think it happened when the "journalistic outlet" of the National Skydiving League had grown to a point where so much content and so many topics came out of the league network that it turned into one of the full-time jobs. The Sun Path Products NSL News service is more or less an unplanned result of the competition league network, which was the only original purpose and mission of the National Skydiving League.
Slowly I began to understand that the league updates turned into something more than that, let's call it journalism, and it was fun to write about the thing I love the most: Formation Skydiving Competition. Other topics eventually made it to the news updates, which were not necessarily directly related to league events. The Sun Path Products NSL News service with daily updates is the current result of this evolution. This Blue Skies Mag column is another one with a different character, where I can speak my mind.
The World Cups and World Meets are only for the national teams in the AAA/ Open Class, which makes complete sense in the big picture.
USPA applies three different categories in traditional 4-way competition: Open (AAA), Advanced (AAA) and Intermediate (AA) with well-defined qualification criteria. I will NOT talk again about how sad it is that the reigning Advanced Class champion cannot try to defend their title...
Even that is still not the actual topic today. I wanted to discuss the amateur champions and the pros and who they are. Here is the historical background. I felt bad for the recreational 4-way teams in the Open Class who work so hard to get better without much attention, while the Advanced Class champions get the recognition, the medals, etc. So I decided to give them more attention, with the news updates. I invented the fictitious "unofficial amateur champions," nationally and internationally. So that's out of the way, and it's still not the actual topic...
This discussion is even more complicated than the ones mentioned above. We take for granted that the teams on the top of the leaderboards, the best teams in the world, are all "pros". Are they really?
I will once again be provocative and say that I don't see any "pros" in our sport at all, professional athletes, as they can be found in other real professional sports. Here is the truth about real professional athletes. They are paid (often very well) to wake up in the mornings, do their first training session, followed by a rest, maybe some business meetings. Then they have to eat well, do some cross training maybe and come back for the afternoon training. That's on the weekdays before they have to compete on the weekend - almost every weekend during the active season.
Well, they ARE pros - but only compared to other skydivers and 4-way competitors. As we know, it's all relative. They surely have a much better situation to train and get better than the vast majority of Formation Skydiving competitors, so you may call them "pros".
I leave this discussion up to all teams and competitors and wish everybody well in finding the situation that brings happiness and excitement. That's what it's all about, in the end...