When volunteers are in a position of management, they often have to deal with complaints.  Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect system.  Sporting clubs in particular, are run by community volunteers.  They don’t always have the skill sets to deal with issues.

Often times, community members forget that they’re dealing with a volunteer who is just doing their best.  They’re not an expert.  They’re a time poor, sometimes unskilled person who hasn’t got a clue what they’re doing and are just trying to do their best to bring about a resolution that works for everyone.  Often times the complainants are precious, entitled, smug drama queens (that’s a gender neutral term in my view!), who should have probably been told to pull their heads in on a few more occasions that what their parents did.

From the complainants point of view, club volunteers are often referred to as incompetent or inept, or uncaring or biased, because they didn’t get the result they wanted.

From the volunteers position, they are finding themselves increasingly having to deal with members of the public who expect a perfect system and are only willing to accept their preferred outcome, and when they don’t get it, regularly make threats of retribution or legal action.

My response to this is to ask everyone to take a step back and calm down.  Set an example for your kids! It’s kids sport, and it should be able to be resolved by the adults being reasonable and respectful toward each other.  When that doesn’t happen, volunteers become anxious, agitated and in the end, too scared to volunteer and they walk away from community service because it’s just too hard, or too scary, or too unpleasant.  The agitator often feels like they’ve won a battle, but rarely step up to take on the role vacated by the volunteer, so in the end the only loser is community sport and the community being served by the volunteer.

If I could have some magic wand power today, it would be to wave it and see everyone calm down, walk away, take a breath and decide how important it really is for you to be right in this thing you’re arguing about?  Will it matter to you in 5 years time?  Will it change your life or that of your child?  If it won’t matter in 5 years time, don’t give it more than 5 minutes now.

Just imagine for a minute how hard the job of the volunteer is (that’s a word that describes someone who’s working for their community FOR NO PAY!).  They’ve been at work all week, just like you.  But the difference between you and them is that they come home, get changed and then start working again for you, for nothing, so your child can take part in a sport at a lower cost, because none of the workers delivering that service are being paid.

So, please.  Pull your head in.

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