Monday, May 19, 2008

Chess Club

You remember that story I told awhile back about the guy who was involved in cryonics? Well I have a similar story. Not anything on the same scale, but the mechanism was similar. So three years ago my daughter transfered to a new elementary to be in the gifted magnet program. When it came time for "Back to School Night" or whatever it was they had a whole list of programs that you could volunteer to help with. One of them was the Chess Club, I thought that sounded okay so I put my name down. I didn't really have any idea what it entailed, but I thought that just volunteering to help couldn't be that involved. I'm sure countless tales of misery start out just this way.

Anyway the first two years were pretty low-key. Someone else was actually in charge, we met every other week we'd get around a dozen kids if we were lucky. During those two years we were aware that there was another elementary chess club going on at the next elementary over, and that they were quite a bit more serious. But it seemed a good match, people who just wanted to have fun came to our club and people who were out for blood went to the other one. Well at the end of last year the other chess club ended, and so all the ultra-competitive kids and their parents joined us, and where there had been two clubs now there was only one.

They (the parents mostly) ended up making lots of changes instead of meeting every other week they wanted us to meet every week; we instituted a ladder; and where before things had been fairly easy going now the we did "touch-move" rules. I'm not complaining about the changes per se I think of lot of the additions were good, but it ended up translating into a lot of additional work and responsibility, not for the people pushing the changes, for me. For one thing the guy who was basically in charge of the chess club worked every other week, which meant I went from being a volunteer to being co-dictator (or something like that). This wasn't too bad during the year, but I found out on Thursday (or maybe it was Wednesday) that there was $300 in the chess club budget and it needed to be spent and we needed trophies and a party, etc.

Well it turns out that the other guy couldn't make it any of the last three times, so in affect that transition was finally complete. Without direct requests, using the time-honored death of a thousand cuts method, I went from being a volunteer to being completely in charge. Which means that I had to figure out and buy all the trophies. My overarching goal was that no children should cry. I don't think I can meet even this modest goal, but I can hope. In any case I had to spend a couple of hours today getting the trophies ordered, and I'll have to spend more at the end of the week getting everything else arranged, but that's how it goes. As they say, and truer words were never spoken, "No good deed goes unpunished".

Some day I'll learn to listen to Nancy Reagen and, "Just, say no!"


Blogger Suessica said...

Good luck with that.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Ed said...

If you feign incompetence, it's remarkable how much less work you end up doing.

5:10 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

One of the hardest things I've done this year is avoid getting sucked into Chess Club. All the chess parents think that since you are involved that they can use me as a go between. I can't count the number of times I've explained that they need to contact you or Alan; I don't know what is going on. Chess Club means I get to sleep in, and that's all it means to me.

5:36 PM  

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