Benevolence

As the New Year gets underway you can’t help but wonder what it’ll have in store for you. I have in theory given up my responsibilities at the cycle club. A new management team has been elected and I have everything ready and in place to hand over to the new team but none of them seem to be showing much interest in getting the handover underway. I’m wondering if they are labouring under the misapprehension that their new roles commenced with the start of the new year?

I have no real worries on the Treasury front. The club’s honorary auditor and I are swapping hats. He’s an accountant, so there’s no need to teach Grandma to suck eggs. The incoming President, a recent retiree who lives locally and one who’s been president of another club is slowly getting to grips with the club’s affairs and is learning that I’m pretty much the go to person for pretty much everything. So the sooner I can pass on the baton, the better.

He recently complained that he didn’t have the email addresses of some of those on the new management team. I politely explained that was because a) they didn’t have email and b) nor did they possess computers. He seemed a bit taken aback, as well he might be. No doubt he was wondering where exactly these members were going to “lend a hand” not with the papaerwork, that’s for sure. He’s not been overly forthcoming himself. There’s been no circulation of the minutes of the first management team meeting nor an organisation chart explaining who’s now doing what. I understand via the grapevine that the first club event of the year, the famous Galette des Rois, has been scheduled for next Tuesday evening and today – two days before the event – received an invitation.

I have seen the new M le President out riding with the club and maybe he’s taken that opportunity to advise verbally of forthcoming events. But not all members ride regularly with the club. Here we may be coming to the crux of the issue. The Club was a member of three federations, two of which were solely for the benefit of our racers mostly, but not all, long since departed. The remaining association is the one which our president presides over. Yes, he’s once, twice a President and therefore keen to only promote membership of the one of which he’s president.  If that’s truly the case, membership will dwindle even further and the average age will rocket to around 65.

A sizeable number of disaffected members have already started another Sunday ride which leaves not from the club meeting point but from our local bike shop. Discussions are afoot to start another small club of like-minded and similarly skilled riders whose interests will no longer be catered for by our current club. I’m not sure the new president fully appreciates the ramifications. Shorn of racers, the club shirt will no longer feature prominently in the local press and our commercial sponsor, Skoda, may well withdraw its support. In addition, the subsidy we receive from the local authority is membership based. With the local sport’s federation strapped for funds, money will – and quite rightly so – be diverted from the old to the young. In addition, those members who currently sponsor the club are part of the disaffected block likely to move to pastures new, thereby further exacerbating the situation. Without those funds to bolster the coffers putting on events such as La Kivilev gets called into question. Already the decision has been made to return it to a cyclo-tourist ride, thereby eliminating the competitive  – and most attractive – element.

In truth I cannot complain as I was unwilling to either stand as the new president or remain a part of the management team and continue to carry my rather unwieldy work load. A professional to my finger tips I am handing over things in a very different fashion as to how I received them. Everything is documented and in apple-pie order and I have offered to help ease in those acquiring new responsibilities. But that’s where it ends. So you can understand why, when I recently received an email entitled “Interested in Volunteering?” I deleted it immediately.

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