Pre-registration, pre-payment and the personal dilemma
In the early days of the canine flying disc sport, competitors would meet up, sometimes informally with their coolers of beverages, their dog and a bag of discs to jam with their friends and canines, so I’m told. It was a simpler time than it is now as I understand it. I play the game of disc to spend time with my dogs. I work a full-time, corporate job so I am away from home 9 hours a day. Spending any time with them is cherished.
As I continue along this path of life and in this sport, I find myself more drawn to operating events, preferably non-qualifying events, and getting new players into the game. I ran one this past weekend. We were operating as part of dog-centric festival of sorts so in the grand scheme of things, I reported to the organizers of the entire event. They were, essentially, my bosses. I had a staff of 3, including myself, but ultimately a lot of decisions regarding the disc event were left to me. If it wasn’t agreed upon, event organizers trumped me. No problem. Roll with it.
Those who know me well, know I abhor the idea of pre-registration and pre-payment. I have never been a fan, especially of pre-payment. No one has the right to tell me how and when to spend my hard-earned money. However, sometimes you have to swallow your pride and bite the bullet. If I didn’t comply with pre-pay as a competitor, I’d rarely get to play. That’s simply the state of the sport these days. Same with pre-registration. I believe if you want to play, just show up and play. Yes, it makes the day a little tougher from an administrative stand point but it all works out in the end. Of course, when you have an event of 100 teams, its tough. I get that.
There are times in our lives where you have to weigh the pros and cons of what is being asked of you and at times, it even makes you look like a hypocrite. It was requested from both the organizer of the event and the coordinator for our club, to require pre-registration with pre-payment encouraged. Did I really want to offer pre-registration and pre-pay? Nope. I hate pre-payment, pre-registration is fine for what it is. Because I value the relationships I have with those involved, I made the decision to comply, knowing full well it opened me up to criticism and someone would have something to say about it. Sure enough, mouths started running. We live in the land of free speech. I do not take it personally or as an attack, simply an opinion. People are entitled to their say on a variety of things and I respect another’s right to an opinion, disagreement or counter argument. Whether I am right or wrong in my opinions, they are still mine to have, same as others, and yes, sometimes you gotta eat crow. We’ve all been there.
Have I publicly spoken out against organizations that required pre-registration and pre-payment in the past? Yes I have and I will never try to hide that fact. I have spoken out against my own club in regards to pre-registration and pre-payment. It is no secret how I feel about it. Do I regret any of that? No, I do not. I do, however, wish I had handled myself and the approach differently. I allowed emotion to take control instead of speaking with integrity and reason. We all falter sometimes. None of us are perfect, not even you reading this. I won’t apologize for what was said but I can see where I was wrong in my approach and should have handled things differently. I can apologize for that but I will not apologize for having an opinion, be it right or wrong. How I said it could have been better and more appropriately thought out. I’m enough of an adult to admit that fault in my opinions and actions. I’m not ten years old.
I can’t change it now. I can’t retract any of it and I don’t feel I owe anyone an apology for an opinion and/or stating so. Mistakes are made on both sides of any disagreement. It cost me, what I considered, valuable friendships but that is not to say I was the only one to make a mistake. I am not, however, wrapped up in a grudge. Life is too short for that shit. I will be polite, cordial and smile even with people I may not see eye to eye with. If I was that wrapped up in boiling blood, I’d never experience any form of happiness. No one has that level of control over my life and happiness. I’m above mud slinging these days. I’m better than that, as are you. Its not worth it. But I am entitled to disagree with things. Smear my name across town but that’s a reflection on you, not me. No press is bad press and all you’ve done by blasting me is make me famous. When people come to know the real me, they will understand exactly where I stand and who I am.
If those I’ve had disagreements with in the past asked for help, I wouldn’t think twice about it. I’d step up, throw down the hatchet and give them my hand to help themselves up the cliff face. That’s how I was raised. I don’t hate anyone and I would never wish bad karma on those I’ve had disagreements with. Life brings each of us enough turmoil, sadness and pain that wishing for more in someone’s life is screwed up. I change course and pray for understanding both on my part and theirs. We are all human and we all inhabit the same planet. We all breath the same air. We are all family. Dysfunctional at times but still family. All of us mess up. You, the reader, are as guilty as I am in some form or fashion. But are you adult enough to own it? I am. I’ve messed up plenty of times and will keep messing up, inadvertently.
How I administratively operate an event is not a reflection on who I am as a person or what I stand for necessarily, because ultimately, it’s not important. Some would say that’s hypocrisy and by definition, it is, admittedly. I’m not going to disagree there. It has reeled in my mind, and still does, that my personal beliefs did not line up with the administrative responsibilities of operating a disc event. But it is simply a means of operating an event as requested by those entrusting me to do so. Anyone who operates events will undoubtedly run into this from time to time. That doesn’t make it any less hypocritical.
In the scheme of life, its a moot point. I don’t owe the world, or you or anyone, justification. Had someone showed up the day of the event, I would have let them play with no penalty because that’s what I feel is right. I do not believe in depriving anyone the opportunity to play with their dogs because at its core, that’s what our sport is about. If it was a stand alone event that I was running, I would not require pre-registration or pre-payment. That will forever be my stance.
Pre-registration in and of itself is not the worst thing in the world, surely, but I really hate the idea of pre-payment. I do realize that the sport is growing so rapidly that in some areas its hard to manage entries but in today’s technological age, the tools are there.
Sometimes one must do things in administrative operations that we may not always agree with, same in my regular full-time job. I sometimes have to do things I don’t want to do. You deal with it, do it and move on. Pre-payment will never be something I like; not a big fan of pre-registration either but I roll with it. I can comply but that does not mean I have to like it. It does not define me as a person, neither does the sport as a whole. Its a game I play with my dogs. That’s it. I am so much more than that. There’s more to me than a piece of plastic and those who know me well, know my value. If disc is all that defines you, then I feel sorry for you.
I don’t believe in turning people away from playing with their dogs and I don’t believe in penalizing them for wanting to play. This will never change. Pre-registration is simply a convenience for administrators. I get it, really, I do, and while I can comply with the requests of those I report to, I am under no obligation to agree with it. We always have choices and we are always allowed to disagree and sometimes we have to flow with what’s given to us, even if it puts us in a weird spot. That’s what makes us unique.