By Rick Stonebraker
Running score is used in major tournaments so that competitors and spectators can see where the top archers are ranked. The only reason the running score is used in all other tournaments is for archers to get used to running score in the event they go to one of these larger tournaments. Other than that, the running score can cause an archer to make errors in their score. In the last couple of years, I have seen many archers use the running score incorrectly.
At the end of every 3 arrows or 6 arrows, the score is tallied and it is called the end score. The next end score is added to the previous end score for a running score. At a major tournament, the running score will be collected by score runners, who will give the scores to the organizers. The organizers will display the scores to see how you rank against other archers during the competition.
At the end of a distance or the end of a round, an archer should add up all the end scores instead of using the running score as the score for that distance or round. You can check it against the running score for validation but do not immediately use the running score as gospel. It is very easy to make a mistake using the running score and that mistake will carry through the rest of the tournament.
Running scores are carried over to the next distance or the next round. This is fine but at the end of the next distance/round, the scorekeeper should not subtract the previous distance/round from the running score to obtain the current distance/score. This is where errors can occur. You should add up the end scores to obtain the score for that distance/round. Place the distance/round scores in the blocks provided and then add them together and compare them with the running score. Do not lose points for yourself or your opponent by relying on an erroneous running score.
Does it matter? Yes! I was the arrow caller at an indoor state championship several years ago. During the scoring after an end, one scorer did not say the end score but only the running score and the other scorer agreed. What actually happened on that one end was one scorer added the end score wrong - he wrote a 28 when it was a 29. The other scorer also made an independent error by adding the running score incorrectly so there was a double error but both their running scores matched and the event moved on without notice. At the end of the match, I added my end scores like I mentioned above and did not catch the error. As it turned out, I did win the tournament by a single point. A week later, I looked at my scorecard and saw the end where a 28 was written instead of a 29. I should have won two points - did it matter? Yes, read on.
For example: Let's say my opponent above shot one point better then he actually did, that means we would have tied for the match, even though I actually shot one point better but it wasn't spotted at the time. He would have won the championship on the "hits-tens-nines" tiebreaker. Once I sign my scorecard, it is deemed to be accurate. So, it can happen and I am sure it has happened to others.
Scoring in General
While on the subject of running scores, scoring itself should be noted. You should be involved in the scoring of arrows in some manner. Whether it is calling the arrows, writing down the scores or looking over the shoulder of those keeping score. You are responsible for your own score whether you are writing it or not. At the end of the round, you sign the scorecard and it is your responsibility to assure that it is correct.
Typically, two people keep score and compare the end score and the running score. This is fine but in almost every instance, one person is a lot faster scoring than the other. Many times, the faster person will say the end score and running total before the other person is done and the second person will just write down what the first person says. If you notice you are faster than the other person, then get in the habit of waiting till the other person is done. Then let the other person announce what they totaled for the end score and the running score and verify it with what you have. This gives the other person a chance to actually think about what they are doing. When both parties are doing the same thing, you can be assured that the scores are probably correct. This does not mean the running scores are correct but it is close. You still need to add the end columns at the end of each distance/round and then add up these totals for your overall total.
Although I would like to see more people adding mentally, the use of calculators to add scores is perfectly acceptable and encouraged to insure an accurate score sheet. No one is going to check your work and make corrections. So, "IS THIS YOUR FINAL ANSWER?"
Tom Barker comments: "At an indoor event, I made a similar mistake. After the first end on the second day, the other scorer and I made a mistake. We carried an incorrect running total the whole second day. It was not until we checked scores that we found our mistake. For us it made no difference, but it could have. In golf if you sign an incorrect scorecard you are "Disqualified." Tom also added that the real message here was "attention to detail", a valuable life lesson. Doing sloppy paper work on the score sheet reflects poorly on you as an archer. Take the time to do it right and then you won't have to do it over or submit an incorrect score sheet. Another point Tom made was that one of the best things about archery is sportsmanship. No one wants to win by submitting an erroneously high score sheet. Furthermore, no one wants to get beat by turning in a low score sheet. Much as in golf, the scorecard is gospel and we want it to be an accurate reflection of the archer and the event. Shoot straight and write right! RWS J