"No ma'am, we at the FBI do not have a sense of humor that we are aware of?"
Well, I think that applies to the National Institutes on Health and to a lot of people in judo, too. I was giving a paper at a scientific conference a few years ago when someone from the NIH asked,
"Dr. Rousey, are you planning on publishing this research soon?"
"Hell no, I just make this #$^& up as I go along."
They did not laugh. In fact, I had to get married and change my name to have the possibility of ever getting an NIH grant for the rest of my life.
Some people in judo are like that, also. They email me all of the time to tell me, in the most pompous, snotty, possible tone, I should say, that I am not serious enough, that I did not follow article 11, section 6, paragraph b. Then, when I tell them, that, actually, I DID in fact read article 11, section 6, paragraph b and that whatever I did complied with it as verified by three lawyers and two accountants, that, as my friend Bill Montgomery has stated on numerous occasions, usually after several beers and being safely on the other side of the country,
"AnnMaria may be a ------ sometimes, but she's never a STUPID ----."
They run off screaming for the hills that,
"He said ---- !! And she quoted him !!"
I have been right about things in judo on more than one occasion. What I find interesting is how often when I am right, people are SURPRISED. They say things like,
"You said that it didn't matter if the Winter Nationals was a point tournament, if it was a good event, we would get over 500 people - and we did!"
"You said that if we had more electronic communication for our members, more people would join the USJA, and they did!"
"You said that if we made our coaching clinics more accessible to the membership with high quality clinicians we would have hundreds of certified coaches - and we do!"
Okay, people, why is it that when I am right, you are surprised? You really DO think I make this @#$% up as I go along, don't you? Contrary to what some people apparently believe, I actually do have a plan. Here are some key points, assuming the new USJA slate wins election, which, for most of us, will mean re-election to the board.
- Get a group together that has a common vision. This does not mean we agree all of the time, but it does mean we are committed to working together to get things done.
- The most important part of any plan is THE PEOPLE to do it. My plan is to include folks with expertise in management, technology, finance, medicine, fund-raising, education and coaching. We have people like Neil Ohlenkamp who runs the most read judo website in the WORLD and has been a legislative fellow advising the U.S. Senate on social security policy, Dr. James Lally who is the Chief Medical Office at a hospital has given over $100,000 to the USJA and traveled the world as the former president of U.S. Shooting, meeting with the International Olympic Committee. We have Roy Hash, a former Airborne Ranger and Green Beret, who has over 34 years of leadership, planning and problem solving skills garnered during active duty service with the US Army’s Special Forces , an AT&T Operations Manager, founder and head coach of TEXOMA Judo & JuJitsu, one the USJA's 10 largest clubs. I could go on, but you get the idea.
- Include individuals who can contribute. This isn't junior high, for crying out loud, we don't choose people based on who their friends are, we choose them based on their credentials. Twice this week, someone has passed on email from two different people who were convinced they would not be welcome in the USJA if our slate was elected because one of my friends did not like them. I recommended both of those individuals to committee chairs and asked them to reach out to them because they are two, smart, talented guys. A very good friend of mine said,
"I don't like ---."
and I responded,
"Yeah, and a lot of people don't like you. He is really knowledgeable in that area. What's your point?"
My friend answered,
"I didn't say you shouldn't have recommended him. I just said I don't like him."
I think this comes from picking professional people who have been very successful in life, some in judo and some in other areas. Anyone that successful has had to learn to work with people they don't like, to make selections on competence and not who you had a beer with last week.
- Make a serious effort to include diverse opinions on our board and on our committees. The youngest coach clinician we have is my daughter, Ronda, who is 22 years old (for those who suspect nepotism here, I hasten to add that she is a world silver medalist, junior world gold medalist, Olympic bronze medalist and has won a number of world cups. If I was a better mother, I would remember how many). The oldest is Charlie Robinson who is nearly 80. We have instructors in Louisiana, Virginia, Georgia, Arkansas, California, Washington, D.C., Texas, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Missouri, Rhode Island (I am sure I forgot some). I just forwarded to the committee recommendations for course instructors in North Dakota, Alaska, Utah, Wisconsin and Ohio.
- Operate for our MEMBER'S convenience. Especially try to offer a wide range of services, from electronic communications such as our publications, Growing Judo and American Judo (thanks to the wonderful Connie Halporn and her Associate Editor Dr. Ronald Charles), to the USJA Headlines managed by George Weers to local clinics everywhere, from Keith Worshaim's work in Mississippi to the many activities sponsored by Ed Thibideau in Arkansas, Joan Love & Bill Montgomery in Connecticut and Gary Goltz in southern California and much much more.
So, now you have seen a peek into my secret plan. I guess now that you have seen the secret documents I will have to send ninjas to kill you. Sorry if that is an inconvenience.