It’s back. The big yellow buses are on the road. The kids are walking—on or off the sidewalks—to and from school/practice/meetings, detention (It happens)all that stuff. Watch ! No texting (Sexting is absolutely beyond the pale, in more ways than one), no putting on make-up, no scarfing down a three-course meal on your lap, no finishing up the kid’s science report on your laptop. Pay Attention!
And make sure that everybody is buckled up. Remember : Click it or Ticket. What’s Holding You Back? All of that stuff…corny or not, it’s making a point that we all ought to take to heart. Just because your trip is only across town or around the corner or to the next burg, nothing, absolutely nothing, guarantees that some nutball won’t ignore a stop sign or mistake the accelerator for the brake or try to impress the similarly immature individuals also in the car with a burst of sheer stupidity while at the wheel ( Perhaps there’s a standard headstone that reads, “Hey, guys, watch this!). Seatbelts are not about comfort—though they have improved over the years and there are gadgets for adaptation—they’re about SAFETY. Duh! Put them on!
AND…there’s a world of opportunity out there for volunteers. Yeah, YOU. Don’t just walk into a building and announce that you are there to fix the filing system. Fat chance! Find out what kind of help is NEEDED and volunteer to do that. There probably is not a booster organization on the planet –band/music, athletic, vocational–that is likely to turn away enthusiastic volunteers who will show up consistently, work with/for kids(Not just their own) and do behind-the-scenes stuff that makes the activity what it needs to be. Fund-raising is a big deal, of course, since most of the amenities that make the activities possible and enjoyable are not, and cannot be, paid for out of general funds. That’s why you could work at a spaghetti dinner or serve food to the team before a game or take tickets or carry “the sticks” at a football game or keep score in any competition or sell tickets for a fifty/fifty raffle at an event(That would be you, Steve Hadzinsky) or organize a Scotch doubles event or a mattress sale or a golf outing…whatever. You want those kids in better uniforms, better facilities? Step right up. You want every kid to have a shot at a new instrument, new music, distant competition? Show us the money! (My secret scheme : a cabal of boosters who every week plunk down cash for lottery tickets with the aim of winning big and turning over the money to construct whatever it is their little hearts desire. Riiight. That’s going to happen.) Be a room mother. Make cookies. Be a line judge. Be a scorekeeper. Take tickets. Sell hot dogs, popcorn, soft drinks, pizza, whatever. Work at a tournament. Travel with the QuizBowl as a reader. Are you an expert (We’re talking at a saleable skill, here. Competition eaters will have to find another venue)? Do you know a civic-minded expert who would volunteer in a class? Could you speak at a Career Day? Talk to a principal. Talk to the athletic director. Talk to the superintendent. Make yourself available. Don’t plan to take over anything, just be helpful in the most needed way. You don’t want to be like that coach, John Ralston who said, “I quit coaching because of illness and fatigue. The fans were sick and tired of me.” Be help, not hindrance.
By volunteering, you can meet some very nice people of all ages that you might never have met otherwise, some students, some teachers, some coaches, some fans, some officials, some nobody-at-alls. There will be good ones, not-so-good ones, people that you like, people that will never be part of your social circle. Look at it all as a learning opportunity, a chance to learn to keep your mouth shut, a chance to learn how and when and to whom to speak up about a situation, a chance to learn the rules that you thought you knew so well. If you think that you can do so much better, why aren’t you trying for the job? Think about that.
And you don’t have to be a parent or grandparent. Those folks would actually like to watch their favorite player without distraction once in a while. There’s your chance! Step up. Volunteer.