Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Saturday, 24 January 2009

The Womble And The White Flag

Regular reader of this blog will know that I have had a bee in my bonnet about my enforced membership of England Athletics (EA), courtesy of my local athletics club. Basically when I joined the athletics club, they passed my details on to EA, to whom they are affiliated. EA sent me a membership card I didn't want and charged me £5 for the privilege.

I've argued my case with both the athletics club and with EA themselves. I had a number a very civil email conversations with the club's General Secretary, who said that subscriptions were democratically decided at the AGM and there was no option; you were either members of both organisations or of neither. For their part EA, having previously said that members of affiliated clubs could "opt out" of EA membership, later back-tracked and said that if an affiliated club wished to refuse to offer their members such an opt-out, that was up to them, and that there was nothing they (EA) would do about it.

Last week the club chairman confronted me in front of my 12-year-old daughter and told me in no uncertain terms to "drop it", and that the club would "not budge", citing administrative difficulties of having a two-tier membership system where some belonged to EA and some did not. He also accused me of "harassing" the club's administrator, whom I have written to once, at the start of all this in December. He did later withdraw that allegation and apologise, but only after I protested vigorously and very nearly lost my temper entirely.

It was shortly after that that I decided to resign from the club. I despise myself for doing it. I feel as if I'm giving in. Some people would have fought on, drumming up support and taking motions to the AGM, telling bullies from officialdom exactly where to go along the way. The reality I have to face is that I'm not like that. I'd love to be, but I'm not. I'm not charismatic or even a good conversationalist. I never even talked to any club members about this issue, so I'd have been starting from Ground Zero. And the prospect was just too damned hard. I didn't have the guts, the energy, the resourcefulness or maybe even the ability to change something that was, in the scheme of things, oh so small.

I know I come on here and blast the likes of David Cameron for showing a lack of courage, and I have to accept that I'm guilty of exactly the same charge. There is a difference I guess, which is that he's put himself in the political arena and asked people to put their trust in him, whereas I haven't. All the same, I had a chance to try and change something I felt strongly about, and I've blown it.

Maybe I should go away and read Gordon Brown's book.


Sue said...

You know when you are wasting precious time and energy on a bunch of self inflated moronic bureaucrats.

Sometimes banging your head against a brick wall just isn't worth the effort!

Dick Puddlecote said...

It's not a defeat. You stated your case and made sure your voice was heard. If only more did that, we wouldn't be in a lot of the mess we are in now.