In the past few months, people on Attackpoint have been critical of things that I have done. Perhaps, I should have a thicker skin and realize that the attacks come with the territory even though I was just a volunteer. I will also suggest that I am not immune to mistakes. However, the barbs thrown in this venue are unhealthy for the orienteering community and such personal criticism should not become the “voice” of OUSA. If Attackpoint is the first place where people look for information about the sport, they may not want to be associated with a group that attacks fellow members. The problem with Attackpoint is that it is too easy to click “add to discussion” without completely thinking about what you are saying. Often, an email communication to the individual(s) involved would be much more appropriate. Issues can often be resolved outside of a public forum. Also, people seem to make quick judgments using limited data or information and with more facts, they might understand the situation better. Getting facts allows better analysis.
The first issue that I am talking about was associated with the Marathon money. This wonderful fundraiser, greatly appreciated by the orienteering community, should have been dealt with differently. As Peter Gagarin has indicated, he thought he might raise a few thousand dollars and give it to the Juniors. When the number was much higher, he thought twice about that. My discussions with him after the Marathon were to give it to Junior Development over a period of three years. For over a year, I was working on getting this done with lots of dead ends. In February, a plan was basically in place to work with training camps across the country for juniors but then there was a U-turn. A plan was put forth with all the money going to an elite training center in the Boston area. In discussions with board members and the Executive Committee, this idea did not seem to be a good plan, in part, because it was going to disenfranchise people who were not near Boston (or San Francisco where another center was). Glen and I did not veto the idea as was claimed, it was the Executive Committee with input from others. We were concerned with whether it would work as planned and that many juniors would not be able to take advantage of it. When the final analysis was done, Peter Gagarin, the driving force (and source of donations through his running) said on AP that the center of excellence idea was “not ready for prime time”. It turns out that after 2 or 3 emails back and forth between Peter Gagarin and me, a resolution was found and the money is going to juniors over a three year period. Problem solved but it could have been done with a lot less angst.
More recently, I stated that “other commitments make it difficult to get everything done” as a reason for endorsing candidates other than the coalition candidates. Immediately, this statement was denounced because I was excluding these younger people and therefore making sure that only the “old boy” network was going to be on the board. Just because things are “difficult” doesn’t mean that people can’t do them. Running a National Meet, training for a US Team, making a map, getting people to come to a meet are all at least somewhat difficult. I said “difficult”, not “impossible” or “can’t”. However, looking at history of board members over the past decade, the intersection of being on the board and working full time has been an issue. There are exceptions. Clare Durand is a person who was working and was an active member of the board and president for more than one three year term. A couple other recent board members for two terms, were under stress to keep up with their board duties and jobs. Other board members have gotten off the board after one term because they didn’t have time to commit much time to working for the board or the travel to board meetings after one three year term. At least one of these people was critical of my statement, I guess without looking in the mirror. Being an active board member is difficult, in part because all board members are involved with their sport and are doing things at their local level. They don’t want to stop doing these “local” things just because they get on the board. But there is only so much bandwidth……
Attackpoint is a great forum to exchange ideas but occasionally, it has become a place where people make comments that are not completely thought out or the writer does not understand the entire situation. A number of comments about me have come from people I don’t even know or know in passing. My motives for saying or doing something have been analyzed on the slimmest amount of information. I am an egotist because of X, I am horrible for OUSA because of Y, and what I say is stupid because of Z. My belief is that when the whole story is known, I was a volunteer who was trying to do the best for the federation.
My advice to people who post is to make sure that you know all sides of a topic before you post something, especially something that is a personal criticism. Ask a question rather than make an assumption. Carry on a conversation and find answers using email rather than posting in the public domain. A problem might be solved and people won’t be offended. If you have a problem with what I say here, or just want to say hi, email me. I won’t look at any responses to this post. I am sure that some people will find what I say here abhorrent.
If anyone is interested, I am running for the New Hampshire House of Representatives and, if I win, would not have time to do the job of being president of OUSA. It may be “difficult” to be an active board member but I will try, I have two more years in my term.