What is Lincoln’s responsibility in this?

I think once again, it's important for me to state the following. I am not now, nor have I ever been conducting a witch hunt. I have stated one point time and time again, but apparently some have chosen to ignore it. So I will state it again in large type;

There are now, and always have been many, dedicated, sincere and hard working people on the USARS Board and past Boards of Directors. They are there now and have been there in the past. The sole interest of these people is the betterment of our sport. They have given of themselves in every way possible. They are dedicated, honest and sincere. And we all owe them a great deal of thanks. I am second to none in my admiration of these fine people.

But there have also been people on the Board who have had their own agendas. You know it, and I know it. And the other folks on the Board over the years know it first hand. Many of these honest people have just left over the years out of frustration.

Over the past 40 plus years some of the finest teachers/coaches were appointed to and have served with distinction on various committees including the very important Artistic Technical Committee. On a number of occasions The Artistic Technical Committee(ATC) would make its recommendations to the board with unanimous approval only to have the board, or in many instances the “Executive Committee” decide to go another way.

You would assume that the people on the ATC were placed there for a reason. If the board isn't going to listen to the people in whom they placed their trust to do that job, then what was the point in setting up these committees and wasting the time of the people who served on them? Perhaps the wrong people were chosen for the ATC. Or perhaps the wrong people were doing the choosing.

But certain facts seem to have become very clear

Lincoln may NOT be capable of helping the teacher/coach to create and build their class structure.
Lincoln may NOT be capable of helping you get more private lessons.

Lincoln is the home of the current National Governing Body (NGB) of this sport. It would seem that one of the responsibilities of the NGB would be to support those out in the field in ANY and EVERY way possible for the future growth of competitive skating in the United States. To have future growth in our sport we need a large pool of skaters to start in the lower divisions and progress their way through to some day reach the upper echelon of competition. That is NOT happening at this point in time. What has Lincoln done over the past 30 plus years to foster and promote this growth? We now know that they simply may not be capable of providing this kind of leadership.

I want to make one thing very clear to everyone who reads the material on this web site;

I do not now, nor have I ever been, nor will I ever be in favor of replacing Lincoln and USARS as the National Governing Body for Roller Skating in this country .

I do however feel, that serious changes need to be made to the structure of governance in this sport.

It makes no sense to continue with a National Championships format that creates meaningless events just to create additional revenue through entry fee's to support the hosting of this event in an arena type environment. The building was E.M.P.T.Y. What’s the point? We need to circle the wagons, consolidate and put the National Championships back into a rink until such a time that we can re-generate the numbers that would justify returning to a major facility. The few spectators that were in the Civic Auditorium were in different zip codes.

We need a complete and comprehensive re-structuring of the Artistic Competitive Program to once again focus in on what made this sport develop into the largest and strongest Roller Skating Organization in the world.

Prior to the merger in 1972 the structure of the competitive program was designed by the R.S.R.O.A. to attract the masses and not designed for the benefit or the elite few. There was another skating association that was designed for the benefit of the few which has already met its demise. And now it’s happened to us and for many of the same reasons. We have ignored the many for the benefit of the few. We concentrated on creating a few elite champions at the expense of everything else. And it was the MANY that paid the bills for those few. And now we have the skates who are left skating multiple meaningless events just to create additional entry fee's. And that must stop and it must stop now!

We took a system that was designed to be attractive to the masses and re-designed it to force everyone into a path that most could not handle and even more decided not to even try. Where are they now? Someplace else.

We took a system that wasn’t broken, a system that at one time produced membership numbers that exceeded 30,000 registered amateurs in a single season and “fixed it”. Now the many are gone and there are few left to create the new elite.

We need to consolidate the events that we have and make them meaningful once again. To win an event against no one else does not make anyone a “Champion”. This is supposed to be the United States Championships. Have we forgotten this? Where is the glory or accomplishment in winning or placing in an event where the only reason you got there was that there weren’t enough entries to keep you home?

We need to take a very hard sobering look at what just took place in Omaha. We cannot have a repeat of this dismal showing.

So here are some thoughts to consider.

1. Suspend the running of the National Championships for a period of one year. The exception to this would be in the World Class events. These skaters have earned the right to compete at the world level for the years of effort and dedication that they have put in. A Separate “World Trials” could be hosted and promoted in the manner with which it deserves. In that way we might be able to showcase our best.

2. Other events would be competed for but stop at the Regional level.

3. This suspension of the National Championships would effectively give us 24 months to re-evaluate and restructure the competitive program in this sport. It's Time to re-group folks. It's time to make the events that we compete for meaningful once again.

4. “B” and “C” events would be permanently removed from the National Championships Structure. They have no place there. A revised Entry Level Program could be created that would stop at the regional level. But this program MUST include a one or two year limit for participation. I’m sorry if anyone is offended by this. It is not intended to do so.

5. Each Region would have conferences to discuss and develop the new competitive structure for roller skating in this country. Local, Interstate and Regional Competitions would continue.

6. Each region would select their own delegate to a National Conference to create the new structure.

7. One of the prime factors in the development of the new structure should be the elimination of the “B” and “C” level events. The skaters in these events can be re-integrated into what would be the new consolidated and meaningful structure. Not everyone is going to win. But winning will once again mean something.

I’m sorry folks but at some point you have to work hard to achieve success. You know it and I know it. This isn’t going to be popular with those coaches that promote the idea of the professional beginner. They have held skaters back from progressing up the ladder and they do it for their own self-gratification. A coach who would do this is just plain lazy or incompetent. In either case they are useless to this sport and are stealing the money from their skaters. Don’t like the sound of that? TOO BAD!

It’s a cold hard fact of life that sometimes you win and sometimes you loose. Skaters who have been held back in these “B” and “C” level events have been lulled into a false sense of achievement. In High school you have to work hard to get good grades to get that scholarship. You have to put in the extra effort to get into the College of your choice. Some make it, some don’t. But even those who don’t can take great satisfaction in knowing that they fought for what they achieved.

With the inclusion of these “B” and “C” level events at the national level we have given our skaters a false sense of achievement. Then when they look at the quantum jump it will take to compete at the “A” level we loose them. There isn’t a single successful individual in any endeavor who hasn’t failed many times before they finally achieved success. That’s what makes success so sweet.

Winning and placing in ANY event at the National Championships should be HARD. In many cases at our Nationals you just had to show up and remember to bring both skates. That’s not the way it should be.

Life is hard. Getting good grades in High School is hard. Getting into the best Colleges and Universities is hard but worth it. Getting out into the real world and getting a good job is the hardest of all and getting harder every day. What example are we giving to the kids involved in this sport today that they can take with them into the future? Just show up and you’ll get a medal placed around your neck? Every teacher and or coach in this country should be ashamed of what we have allowed this sport to become.

And we’re the only ones who can change that. You, Me and everyone else that cares enough to stand up and scream NO MORE!

Do you have a comment or suggestion? This is what it's all about. Sharing and exchanging idea's and suggestions. I don't have all the answers. I never claimed to. But the answers and the solutions are out there. If we want this sport to continue in this country and once again become a viable entity in World Competition then drastic measures MUST be taken NOW!



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