We are imperfect in our power, drama and expectations. It is possible to control and navigate specific behaviors and expectations based on leadership and team principles. This is a mutable relationship built upon trust and enforcement.
This trust is dependent upon expected exchanges agreed upon by determined rules and regulations. Trust on the racetrack is also lifesaving and sportsmanlike conduct for competitor, staff and spectator.
These relationships are specific between several entities, associate governing bodies and staff members, sponsors, competitors and their supporting teams, regional and national pride, culture, boating rules and regulations, maturity, spiritual presence, equipment compliance, physical ability, sanctioned rule books and expectations.
This is a complicated blend of human directives.
Racing has a distinct pattern to it. Racing is a game. In the game there are rules, actions, weather and water conditions, human interaction, equipment demands and dialogue. In this game there are liabilities, and risks. This game holds disappointments, tragedy, success, ambition, fulfillment and enforcement.
Facts are important because they decipher truth. It takes an interview process based on facts and where those facts are derived from and how they are interpreted to arrive at plausible conclusions. The truth must be accepted. Otherwise corruption is given allowance.
A person can have all the answer that are appropriate in the room, but if the audience denies the answers, then the neglect will continue to operate with poor results the audience demands.
Race preparation is an extensive process. It is costly and bears aspirations from both staff and participants. The demands are vast and complicated, when fatigue is an admixture a lot of volatile patterns can evolve, some are in the imagination and some are concrete fact.
The content that evolves and is transmitted for racing is complicated. It requires study, proper training, vetting and education.
Fundamental understandings and expectations may be in conflict. To move forward as a competent race community, we face a myriad level of chaotic events, and structures that are based in factual domains.
There are many people serving towards the goal of a podium finish. Only a select few individuals will attain the elevation of a Championship attempt let alone bear the #1 plate.
On Friday, the IJSBA Awards for Amateur Ski Lites were to be gifted their trophies. These competitors raced on the previous Wednesday, which means they wait an additional 2 days for their awards ceremony.
They were not called to the stand up on the podium in front of their race peers to receive their due recognition for World Championship earned placings. After waiting through the entire awards program for their class to be called up. How could this happen? We have to perceive a lot of contributing causes and reactions.
The awards announcer and responsible staff for the awards did a poor job reflecting sincerity regarding the lack of accountability and a deserved explanation and public apology from complaints received. They may not have been aware of the situation regarding the trophies.
This could be due to multiple factors, such as staffing issues, fatigue, it could have been a communication error, or the chain of command may have failed. Trophies were stated to have been stolen after the Awards were completed.
However, once the alarm was raised by the competitors themselves emergency actions could have taken place at that time to make amends and modify some solution for petition of error or acknowledgement. Who would be responsible for this action?
Staffing hierarchy structure would need to be clearly outlined with operational guidelines to ensure program success.
Along with the Amateur Ski Lites Champions, likewise the Pro Runabout 1100 Stock Class Champions did not receive their trophies.
This is intolerable at a World Championship event from what appears to be incompetence in managing an awards program in hindsight. Staff needs to make admission on this and not cower in ego defense. Admit the wrongs, identify the issues and fix them, now.
PREPARATION IS EXPENSE
There are also Technical Inspection calls that are in dispute. My question to staff is how familiar are you with the 2019 IJSBA Rule book and the interpretation of those rules? Who mentored you and signed you off after a vetting process? How were you tested and what evaluations occurred? What are your qualifications?
I also extend this responsible accountability to the competitors. Many who do not have English skills and staff has limited international language skills, do you understand the rules and the spirit of the rules? Did you experience frustration in understand and comprehension of rules or expressing them to others?
When we look at a problem you must also look at ourselves to find the answer. Communication is the best place to start.
Interpretations must be fact based. This begins with the Technical Inspection crew and Race Director along with Scoring or Registration (if that applies). It relies on the documents and inspection lists that are filled out for each entry. This is also a responsibility of those in Staging to be looking for any infractions as the race vessels come to the line. How is this noted and conducted if at all?
It is also a responsibility of the racer themselves, and their teammates to understand and ask effective questions far in advance if they are not understanding a specific issue.
This also means that the IJSBA needs a dedicated staff member who is highly trained in human relations communications (able to handle stressful situations and communicate with compassion and stand grand when needed) to be accessible on the race site from start to finish with language skills. This person needs an iPad to document each question and answer and load it into a database for access. This can support evidence based appeal processing. This iPad can also assist in language translations as needed.
However, in the IJSBA defense there may be secondary issues not exposed here that should be taken into consideration. This is the only way to gain understanding and equitable solutions. Blame is easy to project, solutions are what people step away from, because its uncomfortable to be held responsible, it requires time and effort.
We do not have the full story, only the expressions of competitors who did not receive the benefits of their efforts. There was a press release from the IJSBA stating that trophies were stolen and misappropriated, this could explain a lot, however the racers whose trophies were stolen should have been contacted as soon as this came to light individually. People understand hardship, they can deal with it.
Staff and Management need to be educated on the protocols and procedures of problems that may occur from unforeseen circumstances and have what is called an ‘action plan’ or what others would simply say ‘damage control’. Sincere apologies go a long way.
People can handle the truth, but not to be dismissed.
Here is a Pro Tip for the IJSBA staff and other venues: I propose a meeting, take notes, race stakeholders’ public comments, structure the complaints and the timeline of problems faced at the venue. Evaluate the issues that took place with fearless courage. Issue public apologies. Ensure these athletes, their teams and their sponsors are given a platform for recognition after the fact for their earned efforts.
Secondly; IJSBA needs to responsibly train staff members to a higher level of functionality with organizational solutions for secondary controls. Staff members need to be vetted, tested, evaluated and assessed. Some people may not be the right fit for this job and they have to go away. Their Character and principles may not align with altruistic work. Others deserve more support and encouragement.
These people deserve a stronger leadership platform to assist them in the safe and competent production of a legacy event.
Perhaps it will take novice and seasoned IJSBA staff will take this into consideration and care about their constituents they represent with a higher level of professionalism. It would be helpful if staff would remember these simple pressures that people are placed under.
There are emotional and physical demands, lack of language translations from staff to teams that lead to frustration and misunderstandings. Many competitors who travel from all over the world, pay high costs throughout the year to compete for qualifying for this event, acquiring equipment, funding, sponsorship and travel demands.
It is demanding for both the supporting staff as it is for the athletes and their teams. There is a lot of emotion, hopes, aspirations and disappointments that are experienced during an event like this. There is the political climate, territorial issues and personality conflicts to navigate.
The IJSBA has disenfranchised many seasoned race event staff personnel and competitors. Some are deserving and some are incompetent rulings.
There may be financial considerations in these changes, personality or management conflicts. Whatever it is, solutions are potential for advancing the mission, vision and goals of Championship race events. It takes both parties to work together, like a marriage it is not about both sides, it is about the sum of the whole.
This problem is not just for Havasu, but worldwide. This has left a great void in mentorship, safety and event flow from crews and leaders. The time is now to address these concerns that have been voiced publicly by participants and former staff for a few years and organize a stakeholder meeting.
In defense of the current and past IJSBA staff, many are not paid high salaries, or they are volunteering their time, taking away from their work, livelihood and families. They sacrifice a lot to be a part of this amazing venue! They work long hours, in adverse conditions, and perhaps only once a year, or at local events, they may not have any training. Some of the rules and manners of racing may be different from where they are coming from in relation to this event.
Staff, you must hear the things you do not want to hear, you may shut down and become adversarial, that is not to your advantage.
Some of you may not be as great as you think you are. This goes the same for competitors. If you want to look at integrity in motorsports it begins with you.
Fearless review and inventory of your mistakes is the only way to grow the sport in unity. It’s not one against the other, it is everyone combined as a community invested in the culture and spirit of a dangerous and stressful motorized power sport. Otherwise carry on with the ‘Clown Down’ and drama, because it will only continue to slide downward with you driving it. It is your reputation you should be concerned about, not ego.
Do not expect affirmation or fame, expect sacrifice, hard work and personal achievement.
There are intolerable personalities who will continue to be a determinant to themselves and the race community by their own contempt and avoidance. There is nothing we can do to support folks such as this, they are unable to evolve.
LAZINESS IS AN ENDING
However, we as a culture can evolve by addressing known problems or recurring problems without ego or spitefulness. It will take effort and that is the problem. Some will inflict politics and strategy into dominance to undermine control. That is and has always been a challenge, but with personalities focused on unity a lot of that can be enforced and subsequently dismissed.
This is a strong justification for staff training and mentorship. Instead of focusing on the negativity, I have addressed concrete issues to solve. You may have others to bring to light. What are the solutions?
I am offering a solution.
If any noble IJSBA staff member who is willing and has the volition to further their competition event management skills, I would like to offer free training, mentorship and guidance to assist you in professionally developing your skill sets. I have the answers.
I also extend this same invitation to any race competitors who are interested in professionally developing their race career. This invitation will stand until the deadline of October 24, 2019 to allow enough time for sincerity in considering the truth of these matters for those who care and are willing to be constructive in resolution.
This is not about ego, company, nation or team bias or political affiliation, it is about competency in race management for both staff and competitors for power sport safety and competence. This commentary is positive in spirit and driven for the purpose of creating solutions and to deny future drama, blaming, shaming and mistrust of a sport that I helped develop along with my colleagues. Stand with us.
I have a strong pedigree in racing events and event management. However, I acknowledge that I have in the past made mistakes and I did make corrective measures after the fact. Today I remain in regret over some of my decisions that had negative effects on others. However, I determined not to make them again which I did not, and to apply myself towards a higher level of dedication to service, safety, accountability and communication towards others.
It is not easy to change, but it is the only way to move forward. Otherwise expect the same results. These are not new issues, they are just growing. In 2012 these same concerns were presented to the race community by myself and others, its now 7 years later and the issues are deteriorating. Many new racers have a sub-par race platform they enjoy today because they have nothing to scale it against. Those of us who are legacy pioneers know the difference.
What I learned about my mistakes was that I was not fully prepared to meet the demands I wanted to manage; I did not receive training because there was no source for such competency.
I had to retrain myself. In owning a mistake, the goal is not to repeat it. Once negligence is established as an awareness it is up to us collectively and individually to alter course. This means we must hear the truth, the hard facts, the mistakes and the full understanding of the situation and its reciprocal effects.
We must admit that these problems may have ancillary options we can understand and should. Ignorance is not an excuse. Safety is a behavior. Racing is not Fair. Staffing cannot rely merely on having a good heart, one must have competence and structure. Racers must come to an event fully prepared.
Not all racers are ready for the race track, they may not belong on a race track and therefore their scrutiny is most important. Do your homework, study, prepare, find a mentor or a coach, don't just show up to the starting line. Show up as a representative that understands the history, rulebook, water and your boat.
There is no value in pointing out problems if a solution is not offered. It is up to us as individuals to decide right now, what kind of a staff or competitor do we want to be? Do you want to be the person in the room or on the racetrack others will be able to depend upon?
The real question here is what are you willing to do to make effective changes? What effort are you willing to exert for solutions?
The past cannot be changed, but the future can be addressed. It begins with you, or it ends with you.
Private message this page PWC Competition if you are interested in accepting my proposal.
Those who do will not be disappointed, be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get to work.