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.