I suspect that if this is an Olympic post-mortem, there will be a post-post-mortem and possibly even a post-post-post-mortem in the coming weeks. A gig as fat as this five ring circus inevitably has stories that trail off like comets, and a few fanatic followers like myself keep our telescopes trained on them until they vanish completely into the universal void. Hm. France seems to be putting me in a poetic state of mind, doesn’t it? It must be the wine.
I really wish that the only mental souvenir I was taking home from London was the tremendous experience of what was definitely for me the best major games I have ever covered. I’m talking from a purely selfish point of view when I say that. If it’s not going to be all about me, then I have to be quite depressed about how Canada failed in its Eventing and Dressage aspirations. And then I have to be outraged at how Equine Canada utterly failed in its most basic duty, to support an innocent athlete, rather than leave her like an orphan on the FEI’s cold front stoop. See, poetic mood is gone, poof. I’m seething all over again.
I got a Facebook message from someone who has been following Tiffany-Gate on this blog and who wanted to tell me her thoughts, but in a private way. She wasn’t comfortable signing publicly, but she also didn’t want to join the ranks of what I call the anonymous dribblers, those cowardly souls who haunt the nether regions of cyberspace, spilling their bile while hiding behind self-indulgent fantasy names. Back to my reader’s message. What she said to me was that she didn’t believe EC members are so much apathetic as they are unsure of how they could effect change. Well, here is one thing you can do right away. Take a bit of time to read through the proposed bylaw changes that you can vote on by going to this page of the EC site. I’ve not recently been the biggest fan of HCBC, ever since its current president took over, but the HCBC site does have some good information explaining the issues that members of a provincial association should consider – and as you know, we are all by necessity members of provincial associations since it’s now obligatory to our EC memberships. Your first step toward having a say in the future of our federation is to take up the invitation to vote on these bylaws. You have until August 23rd, which gives you the whole weekend to find a bit of time to be a conscientious member of the equestrian community.
The FB message I received made me aware of a gap in my communications to you regarding EC’s special edition cocktail of three parts gross ineptitude and one part disrespect for members (especially if you are an Olympic athlete) spiced with a dash of backroom politicking. I have failed to outline what we members might do to combat the malaise that results from accepting a glass of said cocktail. I’m going to do a bit of research, but if anyone out there has the time and inclination (such as a particular fellow fan of wiener dogs who has a good working knowledge of the situation already), we need to determine one very important thing: toward what government body (preferably a warm one), and within that body what individual (preferably one who doesn’t consider chair warming to be the extent of his or her duties), should we begin directing our pointed questions? EC can not operate at the top of the food chain with no greater power to hold its Board and employees accountable. So who is it? If anyone out there has the answer I welcome a comment to this post with the information.
I woke up this morning thinking about this post, and my mind kept circling around the need to try to capture the essence of what we have been witnessing in the behaviour of those who claim to govern EC. By extension, I include the staff of EC – not all of them, but I can shake a stick at an un-merry few who have simply given up in spirit without physically vacating their posts. Until zombi-ism is a certified form of insanity, those who have taken the line of least resistance to its lowest point are just as guilty as those who both falsely pretend to care about the best interests of the members and presume to know what those best interests are. Part of the problem, evident to anyone who has worked at a Subway, is EC’s policy of musical job-chairs. You know what I mean, right? Like when someone leaves or when a job becomes redundant, people are shuffled around until the job titles (and salaries) they hold have absolutely nothing to do with their qualifications or abilities.
I’ll bet most of you have no idea how many people were in London as part of the Canadian Equestrian Team (yes, it does exist and don’t you dare let anyone try to convince you otherwise) official support party. And don’t even get me started on the COC, which seems to have become some sort of perverse role model for EC to try and emulate. As one reader said in a comment to one of my posts of last week, some of those people might need to be reminded that volunteering for a position to help guide Canada’s finest equestrian and equine athletes to the greatest success they can achieve is not ‘about the free trips’. It’s a privilege, not a right, and a duty to take on only if you have the skills to contribute and the lack of private agenda to keep you on the right path. And as for some of the paid staff members (not all, not by any means – those of you worth your salt know who you are), ’nuff said.
When I think of the ‘leadership’ of last week during the Olympic show jumping, the image that keeps coming to mind is that of someone attempting to drive a car from the back seat. I don’t mean back-seat driving in the traditional sense, where you just can’t shut up about the person sitting directly behind the wheel. I mean sitting in the back seat of an otherwise empty vehicle.
We could stand to take a page from the Dutch when it comes to honouring your athletes. Maybe if we gave our athletes a homecoming more like the one captured in the video here, our athletes would actually feel confident enough to win medals.
I have a whole pile of London photos to share, and I will sit down in the next few days to try and come up with some silly captions that will restore this blog to some semblance of good cheer. In the meantime, Chorizo and I need to see another chateau.