I’m sorry to say that Tim Altnether is not running for any real presidential position. Maybe the President of Party, but there wouldn’t need to be an election for that since his 2012 Lock-In attire speaks for itself. I’m also sorry to say that the real purpose of this article is not to show off my excellent Microsoft Paint photo editing skills. The real purpose is to discuss the upcoming NAH elections. (This information is relevant to the entire polo world, not just NAH members.)
Since every club in the world does things a little differently, it is important for the poloverse to have a place to come together and discuss what has and has not worked for them. League of Bike Polo is a fantastic site, in that sense. It allows for the hashing out of problems that players experience, as well as giving them the ability to express an opinion, no matter how poor their argument may be. This ability to come together is a great first step in allowing polo to grow and maybe even give it some legitimacy in the sports world.
While discussing the problems is the first step, the remaining steps are made by the real decision makers. As we all know, at the end of the day the real decision makers are not the people posting on the forums, but they are the club and region representatives. The North American Hardcourt election season is coming up, so it’s time for people to step away from the computer and work on real change.
Right now clubs should be meeting up and discussing which members would be best suited as their representatives. In the most basic terms, this seems like an easy position to fill: the occasional email sent to a regional representative and maybe a group phone call once a year. This leads to the assumption that any Polo Schmo with a telephone and a computer can represent a polo club, but digging past the surface you will find more important qualifications.
There are several characteristics that your club should look for when nominating /voting on a representative. S/he should be someone that is well versed in the current rules, as well as have an awareness of rules discrepancies presented on League and elsewhere. They should have a willingness to talk to club members when someone has an NAH matter that they need clarified or if they have something they would like brought up to the NAH board. This characteristic should go hand-in-hand with patience. Every club has that one person who seems to complain about everything that NAH is doing.
On top of these, they should be well spoken. They need to know how to clearly explain NAH changes to the club and voice concerns to the regional representatives. They would and should be the ones to bring up your club’s concerns to your regional representatives so that it can officially be looked into. The club rep is your club’s connection to the grander poloverse, so they need to put in the effort that allows your club to be heard.
In the near future, your club should be meeting again to discuss voting on representatives for your region. Although there is no word on who is running for reps in the regions at this time, it is important to think about which traits would lead to a great regional rep, instead of turning it into a popularity contest. Just like club reps, the regional reps should have an awareness of rules and rule discrepancies, an open door policy, patience, and good communication skills. Since these reps are diplomats of your entire region, you should expect more from them than club representatives.
They should be organized. It is important for them to keep track of all the concerns presented to them by club representatives and then bring them up at the NAH board meetings. As an organized leader, they should know how to keep things on track. If they see NAH slacking off, they should step up and bring the board back together to keep the discussions fresh and pertinent. They must have a strong dedication to the sport and region. They need to make sure their regional qualifier has a location each year and then make sure it is being organized to its fullest potential. They need to be at their regional qualifier helping run things and be there to help answer any questions about rules, format, etc. They should then plan to attend the North American Championships — even if they didn’t qualify — and do the same thing. The regional representatives need to be bike polo’s William Wallace or Maximus Decimus Meridius, in our fight for a brighter hardcourt future
It is time to step away from the computer and into a bar, pizza parlor or living room, and discuss with your club what is important for it in the growth of hardcourt bike polo. Talk about what steps are necessary to reach this utopian polo future, decide which people should head the fight, and then help put them in charge because the club and regional representatives are the ones that allow every single polo voice to be heard, instead of being lost in a thread of hundreds of comments.