Are you there, NAH? It’s Me, Crusher.

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Thank you.

Thank you for working for free, for listening to the people you work so hard for and who complain about what you’re doing all the time. I know, because I’m one of them. Thanks for thinking about the sport in big-picture terms, about what comes ten years from now and not just what happens tomorrow. Thank you for creating rules that you recognize still need work, but you’re willing to experiment and see what makes the sport better.

Thanks for admitting when you’re wrong and not trying to push conversations away that might be damaging. It’s easy, I think, to just ignore what a small group of people might be saying against you–but the NAH doesn’t do that. Ben, you in particular are ultra-sensitive to how well the NAH helps the entire world of polo, and I could hug you for it.

The thing I’m noticing more of now, though I knew it before, is that the people who appreciate what someone else does for them almost never express it enough. Instead the space is filled up with people who are critical. Don’t get me wrong–I think being critical of an organization is about as appropriate as you can get, but to do so without also recognizing the good that a group does is dangerous. It’s a good way of making those people (in this case, the group of folks that is the NAH) feel like they aren’t doing anything right, in which case if they have any sense, they’ll just quit. It’s not like it’s how they make money. Point in fact, they’d probably make lots more money if they didn’t spend so much time dealing with all the stuff that comes from trying to organize a governing body.

It’s easy to tear something down, especially when you feel as though that thing is not doing enough to help you. But  the truth is it’s only possible to do so much when you don’t have a budget, don’t have the people, and are balancing all of this work on top of your other life (work/family/etc). It’s a damned shame to not at least recognize this when we talk about what the NAH could be doing more of, whether it be community outreach or rule making or whatever. I get it, you’re stretched out. Nick is worn out  from this rules discussion, Joe is putting up the good fight to make the application of those rules work, John is trying to make a big impact in tourneys and Ben is, as ever, digging himself deep into the trenches for all of us to depend on, complain at, and suggest to.

But we almost never say thank you–at least not in the public space.

So, even though I point out your faults and hold you accountable more than I probably should, I thank you, NAH, for putting up with so much for so little. It’s a job I certainly wouldn’t want to do, but somehow you make it work.

 

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