Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Politics of Skating

I just want to skate. I want some decent ice with relatively few people on it so I can do my thing. I want to mind my own business and skate. What is it about the human psyche that coerces us into politics and makes things difficult for everyone involved? I skate at four different rinks, five if you include Lake Placid. At every single one there is upheaval in the skating clubs that run the figure skating programs. One club just ousted a popular coach who took close to 20 students with him when he left. He estimates that the club will loose close to $60,000 this year as a result. Of course, I heard from other people that he might poach the occasional student, which is not the done thing and highly frowned on by other coaches. At another rink the president has two kids that skate and are now old enough to coach. Now, there are trained, certified and insured coaches who can't get work there since the kids are teaching. I wonder if the parents have figured out that the teachers aren't certified? What happens when some kid is hurt and the rink/club gets sued and they find out there is no insurance? Yet another club is having trouble since a second club is muscling in on their territory setting up a skating school on their home rink. So what is a skater to do? Ignore it? Just keep skating and make pretend nothing is wrong? Go on a crusade trying to fix everything? Why does running a club turn into a big political mess?

Of course this isn't just in the skating world. I saw it happen in the gardening club I was in. One of the women made a grab for power trying to shut out people that had paid dues but didn't come to the winter meetings. She didn't like it when I stood up to her and said that if people paid dues they had a right to participate in the club decisions. Then I was in Toastmasters, a speaking club, and I watched a power grab at district level which governs the eastern half of my state. A group had banded together and had the sitting president removed. We have no idea what happened or why since everything was done behind closed doors. Why were people taking this so seriously? It is just a speaking club. Why did they have to go and crush this poor woman who was just trying as hard as she could to run the district? Was that really necessary? It is only a speaking club.

What is it about the wiring in our brains that makes us this way? How can we avoid it? This is supposed to be a democratic society with everyone having a say and a vote so why are there grabs for power? Why do club presidents think they have been filled with the power of God?

I just want to skate.

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