This is one of those brain-dead obvious things I thought I would never have to tell you, along the lines of,
"Lying is bad."
"No, you cannot win the Olympics working out twice a week, even if you work really, really hard."
"Why can I not hit my sister in the head with a chair? This is not a 'why' question! It isn't even a question!"
My business partner, Dr. Erich Longie, wrote a blog post on how his ancestors, the Dakota Sioux, put liars to death. More people should read it.
Here is the truth ....
A few years ago, Jim Bregman got one of those brilliant ideas that after someone tells it to you, you slap your forehead and exclaim,
"Why didn't we think about this years ago?"
His idea was this... many of us in judo travel for a variety of reasons, our professions, to visit friends and family, or just because we feel like seeing someplace new. If you are a fairly accomplished judo player and you happen to be in Georgia, Virginia or Missouri, how about letting the local clubs know you would be available? They can have a clinic for a very modest price, because they don't have to pay travel expenses, and you can do judo with some new people. How modest? Our clinicians are paid $250 a day. They do it as a public service. So, someone flies in from three thousand miles away, teaches for the day for 25 or 30 people at a cost of $250. Many of the clinicians donate the money to the USJA Development Fund, others give it to their own club. Very few that I know spend it on cheap whiskey and expensive women.
How do we contact the local clubs? Well, this is where the idea of regional coordinators came up, people who would be willing to organize events for a region. Doesn't all this sound like a win-win -- getting people involved, getting instructors who were world, Olympic medalists, outstanding coaches, for a cost of next to nothing?
I happen to be one of the people doing a LOT of those events. I was in Washington, D.C. at the SAS Global Forum (a conference on statistical software). The university paid for my ticket to the east coast. Chuck Wall had me do a clinic in Virginia before the conference. Marshall Coffman picked me up, drove me to Maryland, where I met and stayed with a lovely couple from his club, taught another clinic and then went to my conference. I have a daughter and granddaughter in Boston. I flew up there and, after visiting her, and just before going to D.C., did a clinic in Rhode Island. I stayed at Liz and Serge's house. Liz made me coffee. I think this was my total payment. It was very good coffee, I might add. Maurice Allan picked me up at my hotel in Washington one night and I did judo there. Maurice bought me a beer after practice, so I guess I did get additional payment.
Four clubs, three states and a whatever D.C. is - district, I guess because that is in the name (if you read this blog often at all, you know I am notoriously bad at geography) - my total payment was a beer and a cup of coffee and the total cost to the USJA was nothing.
Another example, I was in Missouri, for my cousin's wedding. I caught a ride with my sister and mother to Kansas City, visited with them, went to the AAU Nationals, taught a coaches' clinic with Steve Scott, stayed at Steve and Becky's and then flew home. Kenny Brink gave me $250 for doing the clinic. Total cost to USJA $0. I do recall that Steve and Becky gave me a lot of coffee, plus a great dinner at an Italian restaurant. I used the $250 to pay off part of the ticket from the week before when I went to Little Rock, Arkansas to do a coaches' clinic and a clinic for athletes the next day. This was supposed to be part of the trip to Missouri - I was supposed to see some friends but it fell through and I had given those folks my word I would be there so I bought a ticket and off I went.
What are we up to now, five states and a whatever?
I could go on and on. Anyway, in the proof that some people believe that no good deed should go unpunished, a few people have emailed/ called me and said that some people running against our slate in the election have been telling the bald-faced lie that "AnnMaria is in the USJA because they pay her expenses and fly her all around the country."
This isn't one of those cases where someone misunderstood or misinterpreted something. I don't expect anyone sending me flowers saying 'oh you do so much good for the USJA'. It was great to see Becky, Steve, Liz, Serge, Marshall, Ed, Chuck and all of the rest of the nice folks in Maryland, Arkansas, Missouri, Rhode Island and Virginia. However, for someone to take things I did out of a sincere effort to help judo, at substantial personal costs and LIE about that and say that I was taking money from the USJA is just a little much. Now, I don't mean this to offend all of you who think Rhode Island in slushy March or Little Rock at 98 degrees is the optimal vacation, but here are my non-USJA vacations before I became USJA president:
cruise to the Bahamas
resort in the Bahamas
different resort in the Bahamas (Grand Bahama Island)
Beijing, China - with a stop in Tokyo coming home on my 50th birthday
resort in Palm Springs
Here are my 'USJA junkets
West Warwick, Rhode Island
Big Canoe, GA
(It seems there should be a Medium Something,ST in between Big Canoe and Little Rock, doesn't it? If you live in Middletown, call me up. I owe you a visit!)
I have a Ph.D. with specializations in Applied Statistics and Psychometrics, work a full-time job as a statistical consultant for a major university, teach statistics at another university and own a consulting company. Does anyone SERIOUSLY believe that I want to be USJA president so that I can escape from the dreadful Santa Monica beach where I live via fully-funded vacations to Bob Byrd's judo club in Georgia?
It is all a lie. I have never taken any travel money from the USJA. Although the USJA has traditionally had a president's travel budget, I believe I am the only one who NEVER took any money from the USJA. Our total expenses for board travel since I became president are $0.
If you are at an event and you hear this lie repeated, do me a favor. Say, "That is a lie. Why would you say that?"
Why would someone say that? If you find out, let me know.
Speaking of people's mothers, Ronda was unamused when she heard this lie repeated. Her original working title for her post was,
"Stop! You could be voting for a bunch of @$&**!s "
The combined good influence of Bruce and Michelle (of Big Canoe, GA fame) convinced her she should tone things down a little. I will be interested to see what she has to say.
In the meantime, how is this for good advice.
Don't tell lies about people's mothers.
In fact, don't tell lies, period.
Lying is bad.
I never thought I would have to tell you this.