|Internat'l symbol for Orienteering|
While Americans were inventing basketball and volleyball, the Swedish military thought a little competition might help their officers improve their land navigation skills. In 1919 the first public competition was held.
|A traditional course|
A second popular race format is an O-meet is sort of the inverse of a traditional race. These races have a time limit and you decide the course you will take to find as many controls as possible. Controls that are farther away may have bonus points for the extra efforts you'll need to make. You may also been penalized points if you return after the deadline.
These two formats can be used for bike races or cross county skiing, they can be short sprints or last 6 hours. Our favorite versions take place at night when everyone wears or carries flashlights. While Schnickelfritz and I are drawn to the competition, others simply like to take a stroll in the state or county parks. I've seen grandparents and dads carrying kids on their shoulders. The O-meet map above is of a sculpture park. Now if I'd tried to get Fritz to go observe some art with me, he'd have a fit. But the clever organizers placed many controls on or in or around the statues so he had to interact with them.
But before you head off into the woods, be sure to check out the other O blogs at Ben and Me.