Transparency in NAH

April 5, 2013


On our April Fool’s Day post, Kev from League of Bike Polo and Max from Northern Standard both said their clue to it being a fake post was us stating that NAH held a press conference. Well joke is on those two, because last Sunday Ben Schultz and I cuddled in the corner of Panera Bread and did a Google+ Hangout with NAH Secretary Eric Ransom and Matt Kabik, the Editor in Chief of Lancaster Bike Polo. We all joked around about it being the first NAH press conference, but all jokes aside, that’s essentially what it was.

Eric and Ben wanted to bring Matt and I together to discuss NAH’s plans for becoming more transparent, and they wanted to start this off by releasing their financial info in a way that wouldn’t get lost in hundreds of comments. Since this was me and Matt’s first time attending a press conference, we decided to work together and split the information into two completely different posts: he would report on the finances and I would report on transparency. (If you missed his post on NAH’s finances, check it out HERE)

Eric Ransom said he is afraid that everyone views NAH as a Mothership hovering above bike polo, just shooting down orders and commands. He fears that people think what they have to say has no effect on NAH’s decisions on rules, tournaments, etc. He wants to destroy this stigma and show that NAH is nothing more than roughly 30 hard working volunteers who want to better this sport that we all love. As posted in Lancaster’s post on finances, NAH released an Organizational Chart that allows bike polo players to see who makes up the NAH body. The chart also helps players understand the appropriate channels of communication to voice concerns/comments to help the sport progress.

Ben Schultz says that as much as he loves having a great phone conversation with anyone that calls him with NAH problems/suggestions, he wants people to get in the habit of using these communication channels. Most channels start with talking to regional representatives. The regional representatives are then expected to share the information given to them with the appropriate NAH committees. As started in the finances article, people are always welcome to contact the committees themselves as well. The NAH board will then check up on how the reps and committees are doing in monthly progress reports. These progress reports will be made public so that all players can see the growth of the sport due to the NAH.

This information will become available to the public in a couple different ways. First, NAH plans to run their website like a blog, with frequent updates on new information and the progress of the organization. They plan to release financial information this way every year as well, so that no one is in the dark on the state of NAH money any longer. Secondly, they plan to use the base management software Trello to organize their plans for the future and show what they are currently working on. They plan to set up a public overview board where people can look up specific dates of released information. For example, say NAH plans to have the 2013 Rule Set released on April 11th; this information will be on a chart that everyone will be able to see, and if they miss this date then they can expect ridicule from the public. Ben hopes that by making these release dates public, NAH can stay on top of their duties.

NAH members put in a lot of time and effort to help better the sport, but before now it has all been done behind a curtain, leaving polo players to speculate on what it is they really do. With the help of Trello, the NAH website, and monthly progress reports, we are hoping that NAH will become more transparent to us all; and if not, thanks to the organizational chart, we will know exactly who to point our finger at. Here’s to hoping for progress!