Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How it all went Down

Let's just say there was a great reason for me to call the first post AMBUSH! On Tuesday evening I was at the soccer centre from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., helping out with the Team Norway pre-tournament duties like hanging the flag, going over the opening ceremonies set-up, and picking jersey colours. Then, all of the dominos started to fall in the extremely messy and unorganized way that is the World Class Players Sport Inc.

9:05 p.m.: I'm standing up on the balcony watching a game when Adam Ailsby (Laos striker, WCP confidant) comes up to me, tells me 'they' are waiting for me to come and meet, and that we should get on with it. When I ask what he's talking about, he tells me I know exactly what he's talking about, we're meeting about the blog. I say nobody has contacted me about meeting on Tuesday the 29th. I had received an email last Tuesday, the 22nd, requesting a meeting (without a reason or agenda), but when I gave available times and asked what it was about, no one bothered to respond. As far as I knew, they were letting the whole issue go.

9:06: I tell Ailsby that I'm not willing to meet at that moment because I don't have any of my notes (I've got all correspondence and letters prepared in a binder), I'd already been drinking (two hours doing WCP stuff on a Tuesday would get you drinking too), and if they wanted to schedule another meeting then they could respond to my emails and do it properly. Adam walks away.

9:12: The woman from the organizing committee comes to me and requests, in a nice and congenial manner, that I come and meet with the discipline committee. She gets my attention because it's the first time anyone has ever asked me to do something - every other time it's been a command. She says that it's really in my best interests to sit down with them and talk it out and that it wouldn't be a good thing for me to refuse. At this point I'm vaguely aware that they want to talk about the blog, but since there's been zero correspondence I'm still not entirely sure what was so important that it couldn't be done through email like they'd done before.

9:15: Myself and a Team Norway representative sit down with Kevin Holness, Adam Ailsby and the woman from the organizing committee at a square table near Sillinger's Corner. I'm on one side of the table facing across from Adam (who's running the circus), while Kevin and the woman are on a third side, in my periphery. The Norway rep sits on a bench nearby.

9:16: As the meeting gets underway I reiterate that I'm unprepared, I've been drinking and I'm unclear why nobody bothered to email me. I'm staying calm, but I'm still pissed that an apparently important meeting is being handled this way. Ailsby tells me that an email was sent and that I should have received it, maybe it was in my junk mail. I say that I check my email all the time, including junk mail, I definitely didn't get it and I'm also pretty sure the Norway rep didn't get an email. Ailsby says there must have been a miscommunication. That's when Kevin jumps in and says that he talked to the Norway rep on Saturday the 25th and told him about the meeting in person. Asks why didn't the Norway rep tell me about it (Norway rep had already had numerous drinks before he talked to Kevin - it was coed playoffs). Norway rep says he assumed the discipline committee had sent an email to me. To sum it up - no email that everyone was expecting. I again ask, why, when all of the previous communications had been through email, didn't anyone respond to my email asking about the date? They decide we should just move on. Of course.

9:20: Ailsby lays out exactly what the discipline committee wants. He walks it through, step-by-step and covers everything. It's exactly the same as when the lawyer contacted me and Ailsby admits as much. Nothing has changed since I originally said no to their command. He says they want to work this out, that's why they're meeting with me. I ask why they didn't just meet with me in the first place, instead of get the lawyer to send the letter out of the blue. Ailsby says they're meeting with me to discuss it now, to get it worked out, that's what's important. I ask again, why not just do that in the first place instead of getting a lawyer involved? He says they wanted me to know how serious the issue was. He doesn't say why there's no lawyer at the current meeting or why the original guy never bothered to respond back when I turned down his demand. I'm guessing because there was nothing they could legally do.

9:25: Ailsby again lays out what the committee wants. He looks at me expectantly for an answer. That's when I ask, "What happens if I refuse again?" He looks at Kevin, looks at the woman, takes a long pause, then responds that if I refuse, they'll ban me from participating and officiating in the 2011 version of the WCP Cup. (Technically they don't have the power to bar me from officiating, but they had already stong-armed the tournament's assignor of officials to go along with them. They did this THROUGH AN EMAIL.) Ailsby says it's my choice to change the blog or not. I say that it doesn't sound like much of a choice. He insists that it is. At this point I know I'm sunk because I'd give my left nut to play in WCP, especially after winning in 2007, starting this blog and talking up Norway so much.

9:30: I agree to what they're demanding, but insist that I get a signed paper saying essentially that if I follow through on my end then I'm able to participate in the 2011 WCP Cup. I also get a verbal agreement (for what it's worth) saying that they are no longer interested in the content of the blog and won't ask me to change anything more. Adam writes up the agreement right there and Kevin and I both sign. I'm holding it as I hunt-and-peck this out.