Sunday 30 June 2013


I’ve never been one to volunteer. I have done so over the years, but I’ve mainly been driven by Hobson’s choice. Either I do it or someone else will do it, and not as well as I could, and if I don’t do it, I can’t complain. I like to complain, so really I have had no choice.

 I would imagine that my reticence of volunteering began early in grade school. The teacher would ask a question and knowing the answer, I would eagerly wave my hand back and forth until she would pick me to answer. I would give my answer, but instead of the awed silence at my wisdom, there were giggles and titters from my classmates and a simple “No” from the teacher. I don’t mind telling you that it doesn’t take too many of those embarrassing situations before you spend most of your time in class avoiding eye contact with the teacher and hating the “brainiacs” that put up their hands, who actually knew the right answer.
I suppose that the culmination was in grade 11 French when the teacher, Dr. Dawson, kept me after class and made a deal with me. She would never ask me another question if I promised not to disrupt her class. It seemed like the kind of a deal that would work for both of us and strangely enough, once the pressure to perform was taken away, I did much better in the class even though I didn’t have to pay attention.

Many years later, a friend talked me into going to the Annual General Meeting of the Properties Soccer Association. His reasoning was that I had three kids playing soccer and I should know where the money goes. Makes sense…right? There was a point during the meeting when they needed to fill the empty positions on the board. I watched the poor suckers who put up their hands when Treasurer, Secretary, Equipment manager, and Fields were filled. Didn’t they even go to grade school? Maybe they were the brainiacs and this was their punishment, serves them right!

The position of Girls Co-ordinator came up and I looked around while sitting on my hands wondering what sucker would get conned into this. My buddy Wayne Hanson (Fields) put his hand up and said “Ken has two girls in the program and would be a great co-ordinator.” I checked to see if I were still sitting on my hands and was wondering if I were finally having one of those recurrences that the cops promised I would have back in the good old days. I stammered that I knew very little about soccer and have never been a good organizer. Wayne said he’d give me a hand (never did) and the others promised that it would only be about two hours a month of commitment. Lying bastards!!!!!! I did the job for about six years, winter and summer, and it was just as much trouble as I thought it would be. It became something I was proud of and I met many very nice people and I wouldn’t change a minute of it. I also will never go to any AGM again.

Many years later, I put my hand up again when Scouts needed a co-leader for the Venturers. I knew I was getting into a several year commitment this time, but I hoped that I could give the boys an experience they would remember over and above what they had already done in scouting. We let the boys make most of the decisions and gave a little advice when it was needed and watched when they learned the hard way how things should be done. The only rule that we had was “Don’t do anything to embarrass us!” They did of course, but that’s part of being a teenager. I like the men and women that these youngsters have become. Maybe I had something to do with it…Nahhhh!

Generally speaking, whenever I have volunteered during my life I have never regretted it. Most of the good friends I have as an adult come from going against what common sense dictated. I guess that just goes to show that I don’t know what the hell I am doing most of the time.

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