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New to a sports board? Here's some advice for you

Look to those with experience to help find your way
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For many board members who help organize the world of amateur athletics in Sudbury, it's their child's involvement with the sport that is reason they are in that position. File photo.

With the start of the summer sports season now upon us, a handful of well-intentioned parents in and around the city, will inevitably enjoy their first experience of manning a position on one of the multiple boards and associations that organize the world of amateur athletics in Sudbury.

More often than not, they will tackle their new role armed with the knowledge of all that ails their particular sports organization, based on the oversights they perceived over the course of a few years of observation as a parent.

While there may be some absolutely great and visionary ideas that are suggested from these volunteer freshman, a word of caution: There is also great value in tapping into the vast experience of those who have been around this block a few times over.

One of the first adjustments one must make in attempting to properly fulfill their role on the board is a tweaking to the scope of the issues which are discussed around the table. Effectively, one must understand that they are now looking out for the greater good of all those involved with their sport.

That might seem obvious, but remember that up until this point, their read on their own association was biased heavily by the impact of various decisions on their own child, and perhaps his/her team. Backing up a step or two, and keeping in mind a more global perception, is key.

Which brings us to a key in terms of not jumping in too quickly. As surprising as this may sound, most of the rules and regulations that are in place with the new board that you have only recently joined, were actually implemented for a specific (and generally good) reason.

It is easy to think that there is a better way of doing things, only to subsequently find out there actually are some unintended repercussions that had never crossed your mind, repercussions that quite possibly became obvious to board members years before your arrival.

It’s seldom a bad idea to seek out, as a sounding board, the voice of reason that comes with those who have gone before you, especially if they no longer have a vested family interest in the organization. Many are more than willing to share their journey of what worked, and what did not work so well, during their tenure in charge.

In the end, be as consistent as you possibly can, recognizing that inevitably, not everyone will agree with every single decision that you make – no matter how well-intentioned you may be.

Randy Pascal is the founder of SudburySports.com and a contributing sports writer for Sudbury.com.