Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Frustrating is like when you are waiting for Netflix to load!!

Sometimes our kids have the most unhindered, real life view of the world. A couple of years ago when my now almost kindergarten age son was asked what Frustrating is, he responded by saying "Frustrating is like when you're waiting for Netflix to load." This has since become a standard in our family. On a long day at work or when a project just isn't going quite right, well tell each other, I'm just waiting for Netflix to Load today!

I'm not trying to knock Netflix, they've come to the rescue many a time in our house and quite honestly Hoyt's comments are a reflection of our mountain town slow internet service, not the service Netflix provides. It's the price we pay for living in the closest thing to heaven I've found. But this also reflects, to a point, the slow moving, sometimes to slow, nature of our town. We have amazing people that will give you the shirt off their back, (literally), low crime, (the most common crime is bike theft, most of which are usually found at a local bar the next day), and a surprisingly well educated core. But sometimes motivation seems to be at the bottom of the list.

With the 4th annual Chamber fishing tournament around the corner, it was concerning to hear there were only 9 teams entered. We'd been averaging close to 40 boats the first three years and I felt that we had attractive payouts. Typically close to a $1,000 for first and paying out 7 places or so. We almost always had enough door prizes for at least half the entrants and our regional Lund Dealer has done several promotions to give away bigger prizes as well. It has been a great tournament and at 40 some boats, probably one of the top 5 or 10 in the state for size of field.

But I can't say I'm surprised. As an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and the Community, perhaps the most frustrating part of working in that capacity, is all of the time and effort that goes into putting these events together with low participation and help. It almost falls back to the old adage in a church, 10% of the people do 90% of the work.

I think the hardest part for me is what people don't see. The bigger picture. Not only do these events typically help generate funds for local organizations such as the Chamber or local churches or non-profits, but it also brings people to town. It puts bodies in hotels, butt's in seats at restaurants, a run on early morning donuts at the gas stations and the latest lure at the sporting goods store, and on and on. Those not directly effected by an event, such as the fishing tournament, very often miss the bigger picture. Though your job may not directly have anything to do with fishing, the dollars generated by such an event pays taxes and wages. Those dollars are in turn used to fix roads, build infrastructure, are spent on other services and goods that will most definitely, at some point, directly benefit everyone who lives here.

I'm not much of a mountain biker, I don't really spend much time bird watching, and I can most definitely say I have no desire to enter a long distance foot or ski race. But I will encourage everyone I know who does enjoy those things to enter and support them. And I will continue to work behind the scenes even on events I don't necessarily enjoy myself, because the bigger picture shows it's good for all of us, not just a small niche. The work that very often goes into the events mean countless unpaid hours on the part of a few. Very rarely are they recognized or thanked and often people act as though they would have been just fine without the event. But if we start losing an event here and one there, pretty soon small pieces start to make a big piece.

Think about the advertising of a large corporation. When I worked for Budwieser right out of College it was almost a war like mentality when it came to getting spots to hang propaganda. Quite frankly one poster by it self probably never accounted for a single sale. But if you take that attitude into work, then pretty soon another poster is gone, then another, then another. If this happens in multiple places at once, pretty soon the larger brand starts to get hurt. Not because one piece of the pie has gone missing but because slowly over time small piece after small piece has devoured a huge chunk of it.

So, we canceled the tourney and a small piece slipped away this year. It's like waiting for Netflix to Load all over again. Almost 4 years of hard work seems to be all for not. But then it again, it's part of the bigger picture. So, we'll tread on. Perhaps the hardest part to stomach is knowing it's much easier to lose a piece than build one back up. I haven't decided if we'll give the tourney another go next year or not, but I can guarantee if I don't pursue it, I'll be working on something else, because its for the greater good of our entire little heaven on earth, not just my little niche of buddies.

Tight lines and shoot straight!

Ryan Johnson
Weekend Warrior Outdoors

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