Wednesday, April 16, 2014

FIS Proposes Code of Conduct for Witch Doctors

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive
Over a year after Germany introduced witch doctors to the World Cup, teams have been asking the International Ski Federation (FIS) to come up with a Code of Conduct for them. If racers, trainers, and other support staff have rules to follow, then witch doctors should have them too. Here to talk with one of our intrepid reporters is a representative from the FIS. It is not our usual friend Bob, who is on holiday, but his able assistant Diego. Let's find out what he has to say.
BB: Is Diego your real name?
Diego: No. I don't want to reveal my real name for fear that my bosses will think that I have too much time on my hands at work. But I am a big Atletico Madrid fan and that team has several great Diegos: Simeone, Costa, Godin, and just plain Diego. Uruguayan great Diego Forlan also played for Atletico. I thought that Diego would be a good name for me too.
BB: I see. I don't think you need to worry about your boss Bob. Nobody knows what Bob does at the FIS, but he always seems to have time to grant us an interview. (short pause) Why did the FIS decide to come up with special rules for team witch doctors?
Diego: Safety is our number one priority. We want to ensure that team witch doctors act in such a way to promote athlete safety. A Code of Conduct will guarantee that.
BB: Please tell our readers some of the features of this Code of Conduct for witch doctors.
Diego: First of all, every witch doctor who works for an FIS member team or racer must be certified.
BB: How will they earn this certification? The current team witch doctors are all from the Congo and their knowledge has been handed down from father to eldest son since the world was created by a swarm of giant mosquitos.
Diego: What did you say about the world being created by a swarm of giant mosquitos?
BB: That is something that every witch doctor from the Congo knows. Since you are part of the team working on the new Code of Conduct for them, and the certification process, I figured you would know that. Anyway, how will witch doctors be certified by the FIS?
Diego: The current team witch doctors will be grandfathered in and they will automatically be FIS certified. But any new witch doctors must graduate from an accredited school of witch doctoring. They must also pass a written and practical examination. This will prevent any Pygmy from the Congo from calling himself a witch doctor.
BB: Didn't the Congo stop issuing witch doctor visas to the FIS and Red Bull?
Diego: Yes. But we are preparing for ordinary Congolese Pygmies to say that they are witch doctors just so they can come to Europe or America. Also, by going to witch doctor school, people from other countries can become real witch doctors too. Think of small teams like Slovakia or Japan, which don't have the money to acquire a witch doctor. They can send someone who is a service man/driver/masseur/cook/samurai warrior to witch doctor school.
BB: Are there really any witch doctor schools in existence now?
Diego: Yes. Canada has a program for training witch doctors. We have currently sent a representative from the FIS to check out the curriculum and then set up a training program in Europe. It would be a lot less expensive to send people for witch doctor training in Europe than in Canada. We hope to open the European school next year. In the meantime we will send any interested witch doctor candidates to the Canadian school.  
BB: In which language will the written and practical exams be?
Diego: The exams will be in either English, German, French, or Italian. Those are the four main languages of the FIS Alpine skiing World Cup.
BB: I see a problem already. Will interpreters be provided for people who speak a Slavic, African, or Asian language?
Diego: We hadn't thought of that. I'll have to look into that one and get back to you. At the FIS we don't want someone to call himself a witch doctor because he read "Voodoo for Dummies" one weekend. We need our standards, thus the exams.
BB: Of course you have your standards. That is why you can measure ski length or width or boot height to the nearest 0.000001 millimeter. What else is part of this new code for witch doctors?
Diego: Witch doctors must refrain from casting their spells or using their voodoo dolls during races. All curses and counter-curses must be performed at least 30 minutes before race time.
BB: That makes sense. It would look bad if an athlete had an accident that was the direct result of a curse aimed at him or her during a race.
Diego: Right. We also found that most magic potions that witch doctors give the racers last longer than an hour, so curses performed shortly before race time would not be effective anyway. Any potions created by witch doctors should be also consumed by the athletes at least 30 minutes before the race's scheduled starting time. Exceptions could be made if races are delayed because of the weather or snow conditions. 
BB: What about fans in the stands who have voodoo dolls of their least favorite racers? Would they be considered witch doctors because they are using voodoo and trying to curse an athlete?
Diego: Witch doctors will be the only ones allowed to use voodoo dolls at races as long as they are put away 30 minutes before the start. Voodoo dolls will no longer be allowed at races and fans will be searched for them before entering the race venue. Ninety-nine percent of the voodoo dolls that fans bring to races are worthless, but we must guard against the 1% that really work. At the FIS, we can never be too careful when it comes to athlete safety.
BB:  Will witch doctors still be allowed in the start area before races?
Diego: No. There is too great a risk of them throwing curses and counter-curses when the athletes are concentrating on the race.
BB: What about an athlete who wants the team witch doctor in the start house to help him or her mentally?
Diego: He or she will have to figure out a different way to mentally prepare for races. Ski racers are professional athletes. Until two seasons ago nobody even heard of  having a team witch doctor, so most of the racers should know how to prepare for a race without one.
BB: That is true. One more question. If a team fires its witch doctor, can he be hired by another team or does he have to go back to the Congo?
Diego: Witch doctors cannot be traded or sold to another team during the racing season. The transfer window for trading or buying witch doctors is during the off-season.
BB: What about announcing that a witch doctor will work for another team during racing season?
Diego: Hmmmm....I believe that teams should wait until the season is over before announcing any changes with their witch doctors.
BB: What about if a witch doctor stays with the same team, but transfers from the men's team to the women's or vice versa? Germany's Dr. Mabongo will start working with the men next season instead of the women.
Diego: That will be allowed since the witch doctor is still with the same team. Germany set the precedent at the Schladming World Championships, when Dr. Mabongo worked with both the men and women. 
BB: Will teams be able to have as many witch doctors as they wish, or will there be limits?
Diego: For now there are no limits. Currently teams only have one witch doctor because of the visa restrictions. We will have to come back to that issue when we see how many people decide to go through the training program.
BB: Have these rules been finalized, or are they still proposals?
Diego: They are still in the draft stage. The Blickbild is the first news source that we have talked to. They will be discussed and finalized at the FIS's annual summer meeting.
BB: What about rules for Mafia enforcers? There are quite a few of them who have been hired by individual racers or major sponsors like Red Bull and HEAD.
Diego: We at the FIS are also working on rules for Mafia hit men to follow. You will be the first to know when we come out with rules for Mafia enforcers. 
BB: It looks like our time is running out. Diego, I want to thank you for this interview. It will be interesting to see how these rules will affect witch doctors next season. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

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