Friday, December 7, 2007

You have to wonder about some people

There are times when I really wonder about human nature. In September 2001 I was in charge of the Victorian Basketball League when National finals scheduled for Bendigo had to be canceled because of the collapse of Ansett Airlines. I had a huge number of complaints from people saying what a tragedy it was and how we should have done more to ensure the games could go ahead. There was also another incident that coincided with that time for those who do remember [and I can't imagine anyone who lived through those times not remembering] and that was the day of infamy when politically motivated criminals were flying airplanes into buildings.

I wrote and published a piece that night that asked people to put things into perspective. I said in part that there were mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, friends and relations who would not get home at all ever again. That rather than worrying about losing a few games of basketball we should instead use our energy in ensuring that the same thing never happened again.

This week I was reminded of that to an admittedly far lesser degree when I received the following email -

I have been playing basketball in the KABA for about 12 years now, and I am pretty annoyed at the way this association is being run. I understand that there is something wrong with the stadium for it to be closed. We had No notification, and this is just inexcusable and because of this, I lost money in overtime that I could have made. Some how I don't think you will be forking that out of your pocket or out of the associations pocket. This has really put me over the edge, the main reason I play there is cause it's local for everyone and you have a convenient day for us to play on.

The fact that this competition is more expensive for team sheets and entry fee than any other competition around is just ridiculous. With this money we are seeing none of it being put back in to the competition. The floors could be polished more than once a year, or even fix the roof that has leaked from the rain, or even purchase some new basketballs cause most of them are flat and worn.

I replied -

We also had no notification of the flood. We rang all teams on Monday afternoon and either spoke to people or left messages telling them that the games were canceled for that night. I was not in a position then to decide how many days competition we would lose so we have been contacting people each day as we make an assessment.

I also got a notice up on our website about 8pm that night after I got home. I wasn't able to do it earlier because we had no power at the stadium and in fact our computers have only now been switched back on after drying out for two days. ..

The floors are sealed once a year at Christmas because we need a week to do them and at least two weeks after they are done for them to dry and cure properly. We do not have any other period during the year when we have that amount of time off. They are cleaned every night after competition and washed and buffed at least weekly.

The roof does leak occasionally in heavy rain. Most places with an expanse the size of this do leak. On Monday, whilst we had some water through the roof, most of it came in through the doors. I've attached a couple of photos to show you what I mean. Note the people who are sweeping the water off the court – some of whom are paid staff but most of whom are volunteers who came down to help out. Note also the picture outside of people unblocking drains, again most of them are volunteers who gave up their time so that we can clean up and get your team back on court as quickly as possible. I've been overwhelmed by the amount of offers we got for help. I think your email is an insult to all of those people who have been understanding and who regularly and willingly give up their time to keep this Association running.

As for forking money out of my pocket, you maybe should be aware that I and my staff put in many hours of overtime each week which we are not paid for simply because we care about this place.

Now I don't mean to trivialise 911 in making this flood seem it's equivalent. I simply want to point out that there are many times when people lose perspective and concentrate way too much on their own personal situation rather than showing some understanding about what other people are going through.

In this case I will finish with two further comments. Firstly, to the credit of the complainer, he did respond to my email and apologise for flying off the handle. Secondly, I've had a lot of people say what a disaster this has been. It's not. It's certainly been inconvenient but let's reserve the term disaster for events like the recent floods in Bangladesh where more than 3000 people died.


Linda and her Surroundings said...

Indeed people do have a perspective problem at times. Easy to get caught up in the web of life's small issues and not step back and look at what really matters. Your reply to him was very well written.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more Laurie and Linda.
I have tried to learn that when we are in the middle of our own little 'crisis' to step back and look at the big picture. It really is so small when we look at what is really going on in the world. I have even stood back and started laughing at "my situation."
Also once you have a good laugh, or maybe even a good cry, you can then get focussed and get on with the fixing. Works for me. And I have had a fire at my place, and a flooded couple of rooms, and of course lots of other things like we all do.
Beautifully written reply Laurie.
Was thinking the poor kid must have been so busy working his overtime, he hadn't caught up with the news that week. lol.

Josie Two Shoes said...

Amen Loz! It's amazing how many people can't see beyond the level of their own inconvenience. While a major headache for all concerned at the moment, in the big picture of life, this is small stuff. I really liked your response to Mr. Complainer. Sounds like he heard you loud and clear!

Finn said...

"We also had no notification of the flood." That's going to keep me laughing all day.

I've gotten yelled at because my office was closed due to a hurricane... People are waaaay too concerned about themselves sometimes.

HappyStill said...

Welcome back.
I agree with you all about perspective and your response was excellent - I wish I had your way with words.
I work in a job where a lot of people think it's ok to come in a shout and bawl at myself and my colleagues. It's not nice and most of the time it's not acceptable.
But we try not to get too upset about it. We try to remember that we don't always know what's going on in their lives.
It happened again this week. We learned that the man who was bawling us out had lost a close family member to suicide less than a week ago.
He wasn't angry with us.. he was angry with the world.
The crisis in another person's life might just be a little bigger than we think.

Worldman said...

Loz, you have about the same number of visitors then I have. But you started blogging about a year after me. Which proves (and this post does it again) that your blog has a tremendous value. And I am pleased and happy to have you in my favorites.

Jeff said...

Sometimes a person's need to vent is like playing spin the bottle - except when the bottle points to you, you don't get a kiss. ;)

HappyStill said...

Jeff, I think that's what I was trying to say! but you are so much more eloquent!

Pen and the Sword said...

Wow. People really do get jacked about things... not stepping away from their vanity mirrors and look at the world as a whole. Perhaps it is just easier to cope by placing the focus on the one person who can really care; themselves. You handled the situation beautifully, though with tact and professionalism.

Dorothy said...

Loz, please don't let these self centered people get under your skin. They will always be there, as well as the ones who volunteered to help. Lets hope for more of us and less of them...the idiots..
Your values, are the true values, and seeing your son, tells me that message rings loud and clear in your family.

My best,
Dorothy from grammology
remember to call gram