Monday, 14 February 2011

Let them eat cake

It is with great glee I read this via a tweet from @csv this morning.

It brings a sense of closure to me, after butting heads with a stone wall ever since I failed to regain Board membership at last year’s AGM, I have been a persona non grata within CSV ranks. This includes no longer receiving notifications, agendas and minutes of Race Commission meetings, despite being advised I was still a member of that commission.. Well until last week that is, when I was told the Commission had been dissolved some time ago. Funny, as members of that Commission were asking if I was attending meetings in January, and the Commission Chair seemed to think the Commission was still in existence a just under a month ago. But apart from those verbal discussions, I’ve had nothing but silence, and last week complete denial. How do you get rid of people you don’t want from a Commission? You restructure, change the name of the commission, and tell the people you don’t want on board that the commission no longer exists. In business such restructures happen all the time. The process fails in credibility when the advertised new position looks and sounds just like the old one, with a minor tweak to the position title.

Anyway, I feel a sense of closure, and that it is time to move on from cycling governance and politics. It’s been a funny week, with women copping a fair blow in track racing, losing the diamonds from the Ladies’ Diamond Stakes, junior women failing to be acknowledged in racing lists in the fixture, and dumbarse, patronising comments from Max Stevens of Cycling SA in regard to the type of women he wants racing in particular events in that state. Mothers, aunts and bunnies do not qualify, need not enter.

It’s frustrating and bloody annoying to look back on the time and effort and work put in over the last 4 or so years, and realise that the dent made is invisible, quickly puttied over when you turn your back for a moment. Ground hog day. What did I achieve in that time? Nothing.  An omnium that will be non-existent in its current format as of next year (including being a girls only day out if the new format Race Commission has its way). As I won’t be there to argue the case, the format WILL change, guaranteed. The boys win, nothing changes and the System keeps grinding on.

What do I see as the main issues with Cycling governance in Victoria?
·         Poor communication
·         Lack of transparency
·         Lack of focus (core function guys!! What is it?? )
·         Poor communication (oo did I say that?)
·         Lack of understanding of grass roots racing (ie club level, not marginal groups that attract Vic Sport and Rec funding grants)
·         Egos (personal and between individuals)
·         Lack of acknowledgement, true, genuine meaningful acknowledgement of the volunteer base that actually does the work of running races
·         Burnout of those volunteers
·         Lack of support for those volunteers – many pay their own way the whole way to officiate at races, provide their own resources and equipment to do their job properly
·         Patronising lip service only to issues of importance to club racers ie all talk no action, no real care

I had a nice chat with one of my mentors over the weekend and it was clarifying. It made me realise it really is time to move on. The sport administration/governance is not ready for women, not ready for shifting too far from what it is comfortable and familiar with, which is looking after its very own, and doing its own thing in what is actually a highly dysfunctional manner. If cycling governance was a small business, it would be broke and without customers. Currently it survives because people want to race, and they make it happen.

As for me, I’ll race when and where I feel like it, and enjoy my chosen sports. I have a full time job, part time study, a new business to get up and running, two horses to look after and work. I think one race this season is pretty good going, and I achieved more than I had planned. As for those who govern our sport, I wish them luck, because they are going to need it.


Leon and Sue Sims said...

Like to know more about this tirade - believe there must be a whole lot of frustration (and truth) behind it.
Time for a bbq soon but like you, busy, busy - it will happen after the masters.

Leon and Sue Sims said...

And who said, "Let them eat cake"?
Where was his/her home and in what century?

Anonymous said...

??? but you're still listed on the Women's commission.
Oh well probably better if you move on - could be good.

Anonymous said...

I agree - if you feel that vitriolic about it all maybe you should resign.

Lawrence said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

did you check the link - that link is direct from the aghast! tweet that you linked through in your original post - at the bottom - or did you not get that far.

Mark Drechsler said...

Hey Lawrence,

Egos in the cycling community? Surely not! ;)

Sorry to hear that its come to this, but if this has been sapping that much energy then I guess you have to make a judgement about whether its worth your time.

Onwards and upwards :)


Lawrence said...

@Leon BBq sounds good. It was Marie Antoinette and it was bread, not cake..

@Anonymouses CSV website is incorrect and has been for 4 or so months, not that it seems to bother them to provide up to date, accurate information to the membership.

@Anonymous #2 perhaps try rereading my post; comprehension may follow. You cant resign from something that doesn't exist...

Post edited for auto text amendments..

Lawrence said...

@ Anonymous, did you read the content of the tweeted, webpage to which you refer, before you clicked on the link at the bottom of said page?

Anonymous said...

just as well you're not a part of that hopeless rabble at CSV if they can't even keep their info up to date.

Lawrence said...

@ Mark, absolutely! Got better things to do than repeatedly bashing my head against the proverbial.

Leanne said...

Hey Lawrence
This is really depressing and not at all what I like to hear. I'm kinda part of all this as well, and I knew when my daughter started cycling that it was a men's club, but surely they aren't still in the dark ages. Though, you are clearly showing they are. I can see it all the time the discrimination between men's racing and women's. We constantly get told it is because their aren't enough women, fair dinkum, are there ever going to be enough women racing when they get treated so badly. Who is going to put up with it. I saw some of it at the club teams events. No special measures taken to guarentee that all clubs could race because some clubs only have one woman racing.
I believe to get women into racing more, especially on the track, special consideration needs to be made. Then to be told the rule book doesn't even have rules for women, well, that took my breath away.
I'm sorry that it has been bad for you. Though, I know the stone wall you are talking about, have been hitting it myself at times.
I look forward to seeing you at some races.

Lawrence said...

Hey Leanne

I am surprised to hear that about Club Teams, as there is now provision (or should be, as it was meant to be ratified and put into place for this season) for composite teams in these kind of events for just that purpose ie to give women (and men) an opportunity to race when one isn't available.

So the boy's club continues, and the failure to facilitate racing for those who want to also continues...

I am over it, as you can tell :-)I see a lot of good people (and I am referring to others, not myself)put a huge amount of their life, energy and effort into trying to move the sport along, to provide opportunities for growth, only to have their efforts dismissed as some trivial agitating by minorities (and I am not just talking women's racing either). That's sad.

Anonymous said...

so, like I've read nad re-read and I still don't get it. There's no "race comission" now, but you're on the "women's commission". And as the commissions list includes the new "road nad track commission" I thought maybe it wasn't out of date. Seems odd that CSV would link an out of date list of commission members to a post announcing a new commission structure. So I'm still unclear as to what's what and if that is the case I have to agree with the comment about the hopeless rabble and onwards and upwards.

Lawrence said...

@anonymous... I think you've got it ! They linked an out of date webpage to an announcement about a new commissions structure. Race no longer exists;replaced by 2 separate commissions, both headed by the same person (so why bother, really). The handling of the change to structure and demise of the race commission is my main beef. Not worried about the women's commission as that will be in good hands. So absolute agreement from me on the rabble and onwards and upwards!

Lawrence said...

Ps I'm not chair of the women's commission, which I'm happy with... It needs new blood to reinvigorate it. I'm too bitter and twisted!

Anonymous said...

Just got up-to-date with your blog. The lack of women at the Masters this past weekend, I suspect, might be, in part, due to the sidelining of women in cycling in general. I'm not sure what incentives will bring more women to the track, but I suspect our multiple roles in life might be one of the reasons behind many not showing up. On the other hand, it's really hard to provide women with events if they don't show up. Despite the fact that the Max Stevens' view is quite outdated I think there are quite a few guys in the upper echelons of cycling might hold this view as well as the related view - Women can't race, they just crash! It does seem to be a bit of an issue in women's sport in general (professional netballers often have a paid job as well), so we're not totally alone.

The question remains though, chicken or egg?

Lawrence said...

Thanks for posting Anonymous # xx.

I agree with you, but I fear that saying "it's chicken and egg" then allows for a way out, a way to not address the problem ie it's a gloss that says "why bother, it's too hard". Well for some anyway. I think action needs to be taken to promote, encourage, provide avenues of access. If something doesn't work, then review, and try again. It's not an overnight fix; it's a long-term project that requires ongoing commitment and input and energy to keep the momentum up.