A Little Word Therapy

The two most common questions I get asked are, “What happened at your sports club?” and “Why did you leave so abruptly?”

Those are good questions that I can’t say I am removed enough from in order to answer thoroughly.  I have my theories, and my hurt heart guiding me, and that’s not fair, but I need to work through this because I realized this last weekend that people are still talking about it, and that bothers me.  So, here it goes:

What happened?

I know that there were parents that accused my husband and me of using money from the youth team’s registrations to fund the High School teams.  I know that there were parents that thought we also only supported the High School/older teams and not the youth.  I also know that wasn’t true. These same parents decided to lynch us for these rumors.  Do I care to rehash it all? Nope.  It’s a dead horse.  I know we had a family that I thought was managing the youth teams really well, and that I trusted.  Unfortunately, they left over a donation disagreement.  The only other thing I will say is that there is a lot that you have to do differently when you have a sports club that plays for a school district when that sport is not CIF.  You can’t charge money for your players to play because of AB 1575 (This bill prohibits a pupil enrolled in a public school from being required to pay a pupil fee, as defined, for participation in an educational activity, as defined, as specified. At Fallbrook high school, this extends to club sports that are played using the high school name, fields, mascot, etc).  You can request a donation, but it has to be completely voluntary with no repercussions of nonpayment. We never turned a player away. I’ll leave that right there.

The thing is, we were just 2 people that volunteered. What started as making meals for a team turned into managing registration for the entire club. What started as running water for another team, turned into keeping the books for the whole club.   What started as just wanting to help, turned into managing a club, and that club grew way too fast to over 300 members. We were 2 people.  Yes, we asked for help, and yes, we got it for some things.

The club existed before we even moved to town, and while there were coaches leading the players, no one ever really stepped forward to lead the club.  Parents were picking up random responsibilities here and there and doing what they could until one day, my husband and I had a meeting with the coaches and discussed applying for a 501c3 certification with the thought of applying for non-profit grants in the future to help ease the monetary burden.  It was a long journey that my husband and I traveled on our own while maintaining all of the other volunteer duties we had picked up along the way.  We consulted attorneys, we attended webinars, we read, and read again on the correct steps to take, on how to do this for our club.  Then one day, we got this little post card in the mail.  We did it!  We gained a 501c3 status for the club!  It was an awesome day!  We called the coaches and had a little celebration on our back porch! This happened in the middle of a season, so we didn’t make anything formal or official because we weren’t ready.

Then the new season began, and we lost one of our major contributing youth families.  There was an argument earlier the previous season about soliciting vendors to sponsor practice shirts for our youth teams when the club had outstanding bills from previous seasons to pay.  They left on a bad note, and it’s too bad, but it happened.  Unfortunately, the sour taste that it created stuck around.  When the new season began, we had big plans to announce the new status and have board elections and do all this wonderful fundraising.  We were looking forward to working toward buying new jerseys for the entire club from U8 – U18 in a matching design so people knew we all belonged together.  The youth parents had other plans, and refused to participate in a very vocal and hostile manner.

Why did you leave so hastily?

I walked away because I was angry.  I walked away because I was deeply hurt and I was not going to spend another second of my life working so hard for people I didn’t feel appreciated anything I was doing. I walked away because I didn’t enjoy it anymore.  But mostly, I walked away for my family.

We love the sport we were representing.  We love the philosophy, and the family that lives in this sport, and it didn’t exist in the group of people we were working for.

I was accused of things I don’t even want to think about, so I walked away after devoting 5 solid years of my life to this club.  We worked for this club all year long, even in the off season. We planned vacations around game schedules, and club events.  It was engrained in our lives as part of us.

Was there a formal investigation by the new board?  Yes.  Did they find any of the accusations to be true? Nope.  Did they publicly apologize after so publicly smearing us?  Nope.  Do I care?  Not anymore.

I learned a lesson to the extreme, and I will never volunteer again.  My heart was ripped out and stomped on, and it has taken me almost a full year to even feel comfortable going to a game to watch my own child play.

I am happy for the current board members.  I am glad they can be at peace with what it is they are doing.  The eight of them are not doing anything different than the three (including coach) of us did. There are just more of them and the other parents are happier with the fact that it’s not me.  I’m fine with that.  I’m glad it’s not me too.  I hope that they appreciate the work that was put into getting them where they are today, and I wish them nothing but the best.

The only thing I ask is that when someone asks what happened, I hope that they take a good long look at the entire situation and their involvement (or lack thereof), and that they are truthful and don’t let personal feelings interfere when they tell what really happened.  I also wish that those that don’t really know what happened, just stop speculating and perpetuating the beast.  It’s over.  Move on.  I have, now.

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