Friday, October 7, 2011

The Encounter, Part One

I was president of my local running club in 2009, being forced by circumstances to resign when my presidency was deliberately wrecked by a young contingent on the board (all 20-somethings except for one 30-something) that was made up of the IT department of the club plus a sad-sack lackey VP who was in their pocket. These young men, led by the head IT guy whom I'll call Bryan, loathed me personally and disrupted my administration of the club by doing things like unilaterally removing my president's post from its traditional spot on the club's website and conducting important club business without my knowledge or approval.

This posse of four miscreants took to actively disrupting the board meetings I conducted by sitting in a group and noisily acting like muttering, smirking school children in an out-of-control classroom. When they voted and seconded among themselves to "end" my last board meeting before business was concluded, personally affronting a friend of mine whom I was trying to present to the board as the next newsletter editor, the other board members fled the restaurant to escape the contentious scene and I found myself standing confronting Bryan, the henchman of this gang, while his three juvenile friends pressed in behind him in support. My friend interposed and led me away from this tense impasse before it degenerated into fisticuffs, and I tendered my resignation to the non-supportive board the next day and quit the club.

This was a great disappointment in my life because I had worked hard in a volunteer capacity for years to develop the club's training programs and I did some wonderful things in my six month tenure like overseeing its lucrative association with the country's premiere ten-mile race by becoming the race's official training partner. I wasn't able to properly develop my vision for the club of making it more inclusive of runners of all types by developing more programs and activities, but who ever said life was fair? The VP who took over the presidency, whom I'll call Carol, is a grownup and she stepped down this year whereupon Bryan, now barely thirty, fulfilled his consuming ambition by becoming president.

One Saturday morning last month I was standing on a sidewalk in downtown Arlington after a six mile run when the current president of my former club ran by. He was running alongside a woman as he approached and he caught my eye from thirty feet away. Bryan instantly looked away and, only having a woman for support this time around rather than three strapping young men (well, two strapping men, the rogue VP is a pathetic pint-sized little guy), he found something of absorbing interest to look at in the curb on the other side from me until he was past me even as I looked directly at him the entire time. One president passing right by another, you know?

I have heard that Bryan has said slanderous things about me since I stepped down, for instance to the management of the premiere running store in the area. That conversation with Bryan will have to wait for a time when he doesn't run away from me.

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