Soberly accessing minor hockey
Earlier this month, Perry Mercer officially stepped down as president of the Bay Arena minor hockey association in Bay Roberts.
In his final and lively report to the members attending the Annual General Meeting, he spoke about a busy and successful 2010-11 year and an “enjoyable” two-term run at the head of the organization. As well, he highlighted the role played by the “ healthy number of volunteers,” without which the association would cease to exist.
However, to his credit, he also used the occasion t o re l ay a s ob e r assessment of the future of Bay Arena minor.
Of particular significance were Merc e r ’ s comme n t s about the burnout volunteers invariably experience because of what he called the “abuse” caused by “political posturing” and “ pressure from parents.”
Many volunteers resign with great reluctance, while others stay the course because, in actuality, the “rewards, though few as they are, are always encouraging,” he said. Honourable route Mercer is to be commended for his forthrightness in speaking out publicly about a matter of vital if rarely acknowledged concern among voluntary organizations.
The route of least resistance for the departing president of any organization is to speak in glowing terms about the glory days of the past, the wonderful accomplishments of the present, and the unlimited potential of the future.
However, the more demanding but honourable route is to honestly and realistically portray things as they really are. If that includes bringing to the surface the abuse volunteers receive because of political posturing and parental pressure, then so be it.
Organizations such as Bay Arena minor are dependent on volunteers, people who willingly give of their time, often sacrificing quality time with family and friends to serve the public. They deserve the utmost respect for the work they do.
As Mercer steps away from the presidency, may the sober assessment he made about the burnout volunteers experience not be buried in the association’s musty archives. Instead, may it be kept before the new executive as a template to help make the association a more conducive environment for volunteers.