Sometimes I run into random signs at restaurants, usually in the restroom.
What is good for the industry? Many people have ideas, but no one really knows the answer. Maybe a better question is what is bad for the industry. I would like to think most of us would agree on the items that would make this list, but that’s not reality. I’m not even sure Andre on Monday agrees with Andre on Tuesday all the time, why should I expect others to agree with me or each other consistently. One of the things that has consistently stayed on the good side is transparency.
Sunday night in Destin I received an email alleging wrong doing by a prominent group in our industry. The email had all sorts of details attempting to support the claimed wrong doing, none of which I could say with certainty were true or false. Personally I don’t think anything “illegal” was done, but things were done that wouldn’t be “legal” in a perfect world. It was in what many of us would refer to as the “Grey” area. I put “illegal” and “legal” in quotes because I’m referring to industry rules, not laws punishable with jail time. I’m not saying this to imply what was done shouldn’t have been done, in fact it’s probably the smartest thing that could be done. If the rules permit something to be done don’t you owe it to your group to do it if it helps your group? If it were a pyramid or tumbling trick we’d likely give credit for being creative, but other areas lead to someone’s moral compass being questioned.
After getting the email and getting back to a place conducive to work I forwarded the email to the person accused of wrong doing. This was late Tuesday night and I planned on giving her a call the next day. Instead she called me about 30 minutes after sending the email. We talked about the details and she explained what was going on, including many details I was asked not to share. I told her that I would be posting something about the issue on Spirit Post later that week and let her know if she sent a response I would include it. She said she would send me something, but wanted to be sure the official people received her response first. She later let me know she wouldn’t be able to send me her response, which I interpreted as legal action would be taken soon and she didn’t want to do anything that would put that in jeopardy. I was later sent her response, without asking for it, from another person.
I’m not certain of the order of the next few events, but it doesn’t really matter, and they all took place by Thursday evening. Among the events were more emails from the accuser with additional support for the claims and a response to the accused being cleared by the governing body. Let me repeat that, the accuser was sent a letter to let them know the accused was investigated and cleared of the allegations. At this point I decided there was enough info to put something on Spirit Post on Friday. I wrote a 3 sentence post. The first sentence said allegations were made, the second said the allegations were investigated and the accused was cleared, and the third mentioned a different allegation involving an event producer.
Within about 30 minutes of publishing the post I received a text from the same higher up at Varsity All Star that emailed me after the April Fools Day joke telling me I need to be responsible and a phone call from the accused implying slander or defamation of character. There seemed to be a great urgency to make sure no one knew allegations were made, even though they we found to be invalid, for no apparent reason. This doesn’t fall into the transparent category.
April’s Fools Day came and went and I was only involved in 3 jokes. The first was using Spirit Post to say Varsity Brands was pulling out of the USASF. It was a short and sweet post that led to a firmly worded email from one of the higher ups at Varsity All Star along with a decent discussion on cheerleading message boards about whether or not Varsity pulling out would be good or bad for the industry. The second and third jokes started shortly after reading the email about the first while eating lunch. The second was a simple attempt to get Kat’s family to believe she just found out she is pregnant, while the third was an attempt to convince a male friend of ours that he got someone pregnant.
Kat’s joke started at lunch by having a friend, also at lunch with us, put a message on her Facebook wall saying how excited she was and hoping it was a girl. About 30 minutes later I posted on Josh’s wall, Kat’s fiance, that I just heard the news and I hope it’s a boy. This didn’t snowball as much as we thought it would, but Josh did get a message or two about it. The third joke took off as expected. It also started at lunch when we decided to ask a girl our friend got to know, in a biblical sense, a few months earlier if she was up for playing a joke on him. She said she was in, but we never gave her full details of what we were going to do, but told her we would send her text messages to send to him throughout the rest of the day. The first message just said she really need to talk to him as soon as possible and it was really important. She also said they had to talk in person. By the end of the day he was convinced she was pregnant and all of their friends knew it, despite us never having her say what she needed to talk to him about. We managed to increase his stress level enough that he was dialing his mom’s number to let her know the news as we told him it was all a joke.
My last judging event of the season was in Destin, FL. Leading up to the event I ate lunch in 5 different states in 5 days. Monday was Jackson, MS, Tuesday in Nashville, TN, Wednesday was Lexington, KY, Thursday in Birmingham, AL, and Friday I was in Destin, FL. The weekend in Destin was great in large part due to having a day with nothing to do on both sides of the competition days. All of the people were great, but Kelly, “Becky”, and “Sparky” led the charge. Kelly started it off by being completely unfiltered. It she thought it, she said it, and it was usually funny. Kelly was the cause of one of the most interesting and entertaining dinners I’ve had in a long time. Becky & Sparky kicked in after the event. What started as a attempt to have a low key night by cooking dinner and hanging out in the condo turned into a bit of craziness thanks to the do whatever the sheet of paper says to do game introduced to us by Becky and Sparky.
For my parting shot I want to remind people to live in the moment and to live in the present. By live in the moment I’m asking you to be involved with the people around you. Don’t sit at dinner with a group of people and do nothing but text the people that aren’t there. Enjoy the time with the people you are with. By live in the present I’m asking you to realize that the past is over. The good and bad of it is something to learn from, but life goes on. Don’t let it pass you by.