President's Mid-Summer Message


President’s Mid-Summer Message:                                          4July, 2011


It’s the middle of the summer and the middle of our Sedona Swim Team’s (SST) 2011 summer season.  We’re in a new pool that already has the reputation of being “fast” and we’re on the cusp of some more serious racing.


The Senior swimmers will be going to their State Long-Course Championships this coming weekend.  Some Seniors have fresh Personal Best swims under their belts from our Sedona Splash meet to try and best at Senior States.  This will be followed in rapid fire by a Senior meet and the Age-group Regional Long-Course Championships in Kingman on 15-17July, the Sedona Mile on 22July, Age-group State Long-Course Championships on 21-24July at the ASU pool in Tempe, and finally the Verde Valley Championships at the end of July to wrap-up our summer season.  Sign-ups for these meets are posted and open – so, parents, warm-up your Team Unify portal on the web and get your swimmers signed-up. 


Many of our Age-group swimmers achieved new Personal Bests in their swims at our Sedona Splash, as well.  I anticipate that they’ll best these again at Kingman, States and the Verde Championships.  Swimming of this caliber is a testament to the quality and effectiveness of our SST Coaching Staff.  Not only did they coach effectively and take up the slack at our Splash, but what they’re doing on training days is clearly working, as well.


As I write this, I’m reminded of my Aunty Lena (actually my Grandmother’s sister, the eldest of eleven children, and certainly an “Aunt” to many).  She was not an educated woman.  She never went to school and only ever read one book.  The bible, in German!  She was tempered in her outlook by hard work, having carried the family farm when her father, the patriarch - Alexander Bernard, was skewered in the head by a pitchfork falling from the hay mow; rendering him both senseless and useless for the remainder of his natural days.  It was a big farm and still is.  Lena was fond of witticisms.  One that usually followed the blessing at dinner went like this;  “Do you know what makes us different from the animals?” she’d ask, even though we all knew the answer that was coming.  “Because we can share our meals, even when we’re hungry.”  The spirit of Aunty’s comment was subtle but clear.  Amongst God’s creatures, we are uniquely equipped to cooperate.


Our recently held, but poorly attended, SST General Membership Meeting on 29June would indicate that we could use a renewed commitment to cooperation from our swim families.  We are suffering a bout of both indifference as well as a small, but very vocal and critical cohort.  The good news from the General Membership meeting is that those families, the Griefenbergs, Cates, and Reeds, who stepped-up to fill the voids left last autumn from the resignations of the Seips, Rodartes and Clarks have committed to continued service on the SST Board.  There were no nominations to serve the Board from those Members gathered.  However, Tracy Geurts, who helped make the Concessions a huge success at the Splash, did accept a nomination in absentia to serve your swim team’s Board.  Along with the Deckers, Mayers, Hurketts, Crawfords, and Movassaghis, this brings your SST Board to full strength at nine (9).


A SST Board of this strength is a two edge sword.  There is a lot of work and serving the SST Board is not trivial.  There is budgeting and fiscal management, fund-raising, media contacts, recruiting, competition scheduling, pool contracting, and internal and external information flow, amongst others.  As a consequence, the team has always had an overwhelming need for parent volunteers.  We are self-described as a “parent run” team.  Specifically there are three critical roles that arise each year:  a Splash Meet Director, an organizer for the Sedona Mile, and an organizer for our childrens’ the end-of-summer awards banquet.


In the absence of a parent volunteer for this year’s Sedona Splash Director role, our Head Coach took up that slack and successfully so.  Nonetheless, his ability to also coach the meet was compromised and he was taken to the mat by a cohort of those attending the General Membership Meeting for that.  This reminds me of another one of Lena’s finest;  “If you didn’t work the kitchen, don’t complain about the food.”  Similarly, Craig Crawford and Gerhard Mayer have taken on the role of organizing the Sedona Mile, coming up on Friday, 22July, and the Griefenbergs will be organizing our end-of-summer awards banquet.  That these service roles are all falling on the shoulders of SST Coaches and Board members, when these same individuals are chartered to be coaching or are already investing somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 to 60 hours a month in this team, collectively, is simply unsustainable.  I think that’s worth taking a moment to consider.


As a team we have one simple focus:  The happiness and self-esteem of our swimming children as that can be had through the assembly of a peer community of other soaking wet children, development of their swim talents, and encouragement of their individual and team performances in the race pool.  Paying your childrens’ SST dues earns us nothing more (and nothing less) than the right to serve this goal.  As your SST President, I entreat you to ask yourself and then ask the Board or Coaches;  “What can I do to help?” and if you’re already engaged; “What can I do to be more effective.”  I ask that of myself regularly.  As Lena would occasionally say, invariably in German;  “Viele Haende machen die Arbeit leichter!”


Congratulations to your children – champions all, and thanks for your thoughtful consideration of this mid-season message.  I look forward to continuing the successful trajectory of this season and this team into the future.


I remain, faithfully in your service and open to hearing from you at any juncture.  Yours, Rand Decker