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The following message went out to our iContact list on 2015–02–12:
With a mixture of relief and regret, I announce my departure as a member of NASPA leadership. In order to provide for a smooth transition, this process will be enacted in stages, ending with directing the 2016 NASC, which will be my last official act on behalf of NASPA.
I have, for the most part, enjoyed the work that I have done for NASPA. The work has been both rewarding and challenging at times, but it has never been boring. It has also been costly for me and my family financially. Apart from a small stipend for my work on the National/North American Championship, I have worked entirely as a volunteer. Because I am paid in my day job based on production, I have sacrificed a lot of money to work for NASPA. And I was happy to do it. But it has become clear to me that my efforts are not appreciated, and perhaps not even wanted, so it is time for me to step aside.
I have to admit that it has been hurtful to read the recriminating statements made by some on the various fora available to competitive SCRABBLE players. I have been called a liar, accused of lining my pockets, and otherwise run down, sometimes by people whom I have counted as friends. I simply don’t want to continue operating in that environment, and I’m not sure how much longer I could do so, were I willing. We’re all passionate about SCRABBLE, and that’s a wonderful thing. But I think sometimes we lose sight of two salient points: 1. It’s a game; and 2. When we level insults online, there are living, feeling people on the receiving end of them.
Leadership work for NASPA takes a lot more than most realize, I think. As an example, my longest day working for NASPA was at the 2013 NSC. My day started at 4:30 a.m. and finished 21 hours later at 1:30 a.m. the next day. Late nights, time off from work, and time away from home have been par for the course.
Everyone has an idea of how they would like things to be run; far fewer are willing to lay their hands to the work. So many are quick to complain about the way things have been done, or opine as to the way they should be done; far fewer are willing to invest the hundreds or thousands of hours it will take to bring their vision to reality. We are a small community, and with our current ratio of stone throwers to bricklayers, I don’t hold out much hope for our ability to build into the future. Yet, my wish is that time will prove me wrong on that point.
My hope is that we will transform ourselves from a group that tears down to a group that builds up; that we will all broaden our perspective from “what’s best for me” to “what’s best for all of us;” and that we will all look for ways to contribute to the betterment of the community.