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The Road to Varsity : Dealing with Disappointment

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The 2012 Summer Evaluation Program, or SEP as my association calls it, is coming up and several officials have been invited to attend and be evaluated for potential promotion. I was NOT on the invitation list and am very disappointed to say the least.  The elation of last year's promotion has been abruptly and unceremoniously replaced with a lousy feeling of failure and self-doubt.

My inner voices are having a field day shouting over themselves trying to be heard. One voice, that of the injured ego, says, " I'm not good enough anyway..."   Another voice scolds, "Barbara! Stop sulking, get hold of yourself!"  Yet another voice offers spiritual consolation with, "You ARE good, Barbara, its just not your time yet."  None of these voices offer welcome words. But, as they are silenced in time, the voice I have been waiting for finally speak up and says, "OK Barb, it is what it is ... now what are you going to DO about it?"

What am I going to do about it? One thing that I have learned about life's setbacks, is that for me, they represent blessings in disguise. Sometimes the setback involves the goal itself. I was determine to be a journalism major, a sports writer in particular. Once in college, I found I had no patience for journalism, nor a knack for it when compared to others, so I switched my major to business and marketing, where I thrived. 

Sometimes the setback was the venue.  I was turned down by a prestigious computer firm for entry into their intern program after college.  I was hired by their competitor, a firm where I met my future husband and whose basic lessons in sales and marketing seeded my success over the years.  This current setback represents a different challenge, for it is not the goal nor the venue in question.   It is in one sense - timing of the goal - but in a larger sense it is the MEANS by which I achieve it.  Hence  the question, "HOW do I achieve my goal?"  

The answer is, "Barbara, you achieve your goal as you help others achieve their goals."   

Simple enough?

I was recently elected to a four-year term as member-at-large for my association's Board of Directors. The election was meaningful, as I had served the previous four years as a JV member-at-large. Of the 380 officials in the association, roughly two-thirds are non-varsity officials. And, of these non-varsity officials, approximately 30 were invited to the SEP, leaving 220 officials, including me, who were not invited.  I decided to solicit opinions from officials regarding the current evaluation process, asking them, "If you were king, what would YOU do differently?"  Their responses were remarkably similar and formed the basis of a proposed solution that I will be presenting to the Board in the fall.

I will propose the creation of interim evaluation events, similar to SEP, by expanding on SEP 's operational model in which officials are observed and evaluated by senior officials during off-season varsity leagues.  While SEP takes place in the summer, the proposed events will take place in the spring and/or fall, as varsity teams prepare for the upcoming season. The key difference, however, is that while SEP is "by invitation only," the interim proposed events will be open to all eligible non-varsity officials. 

This minor change could make a world of difference for so many officials.  And while their participation does not guarantee them a promotion or an invitation to SEP, it would guarantee  hundreds of officials an opportunity currently afforded to only 30 officials, once a  year: to be learn and be evaluated by the best.  If I can be a catalyst for helping 200 officials versus 30, why not? The math is easy, with the only cost being the cost of changing the status quo.

I have already begun drafting a plan and enlisting the support and guidance of Board members to make this vision a reality. In fact, creating a vision and building a team is my forte. And, in doing so, my ethusiasm is back on track, replacing the pain and self doubt with unbridled optimism once again.

I have no doubt my proposal will gain traction, so stay tuned, MomsTeam readers, stay tuned.