The calendar turns to March, and FFCC Color Guards start to make their final regular season appearances at FFCC shows. Why is this significant? Well, all instructors know that this means their ensemble is about to be seeded for FFCC Championships in Tampa. But, how much does seeding really matter? And if it doesn’t matter, why do we do seed in the first place? Hopefully this page will provide some clarifications of how seeding works, and what it’s actual purpose is.
First of all, who is seeded? Ensembles are automatically seeded if rounds are used at Circuit Championships or if they compete in a division without rounds that has 9 or more competitors. Our largest classifications (Class B, Scholastic AAA, Scholastic AA, and Scholastic A) are automatically split into three rounds for Circuit Championships. Other divisions in our circuit are split into rounds if they reach 16 competitors.
Color Guard ensembles are seeded based on their most recent score received at an FFCC event, with growth each week accounted for by a factor of 2.
The rounds are divided as follows:
Round A – Seed 1, Seed 4, Seed 7, Seed 10, etc.
Round B – Seed 2, Seed 5, Seed 8, Seed 11, etc.
Round C – Seed 3, Seed 6, Seed 9, Seed 12, etc.
Once in rounds, ensembles will be divided into thirds based on their seeds, and then their performance order scrambled within their third. So, teams in the top third of seeds will perform in the last performance block in the round, in a random order.
The performance order for the rounds as a whole will vary based on logistical needs in regards to the operations of Championships. (So, Round A does not necessarily perform first or last).
So, why do we seed? The common perception is that the seeding is in place to “help” the judges get the competitors in the right order. However, this is not true at all in today’s activity. Judges do not lock their scores for any class of competition until all ensembles have performed. This gives the judge more tools and options to get the ranking and rating right, no matter what the performance order happens to be. Judges are comfortable with this process and understand their captions extensively enough to confidently rate and rank a group where they belong regardless of performance order. In the past, ensembles have medaled and even won FFCC Championships divisions from all blocks of competition. Seeding blocks are not even a topic of discussion for the judges as the mantra of “judge the show of the day” has been, and remains a universal theme in our activity.
So, the question still persists, why do we seed? The answer rests in the realization that the FFCC Championships is first and foremost a spectator event. Ticket buyers come from near and far to enjoy the excitement of our activity at our performers’ ultimate show. Seeding creates a general trend upward in the quality level of the participants. This creates a crescendo of excitement as the anticipation of what the next ensemble will bring to the floor grows with each performance. However, it must be clarified, this trend is only a general one. It is not a linear trend. There are always outliers to the trend and those outliers sometimes generate the most memorable experiences at FFCC Championships. This mirrors the same theory we follow by scheduling our younger divisions first and then growing to the more experienced divisions as the weekend goes along.
Every performance by every performer at FFCC Championships is a special moment. No matter their seeding, or final placement, the work and dedication that young person has dedicated to their craft is something that we will celebrate each year at FFCC Championships. Creating an exciting event, with an enthusiastic audience that celebrates each performer in a world-class arena is the mission of our FFCC Championships event. Seeding creates another layer of excitement to the weekend. We salute every performer in the FFCC who is now starting to turn their attention towards FFCC Championships. The excitement of this event is something you deserve and hope you will enjoy. Get ready…there are going to be amazing performances in Tampa over Championships weekend. Make your plans to be there to experience and celebrate the amazing performers of the FFCC.
– Tom Slaughter, FFCC Vice President