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National Pride II

October 2002
George Mathews

Last month's article really seemed to stir quite a bit of controversy. I think this is very healthy for our sport. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, the people who are in favor of the "status quo" are the ones I am hearing from.

Those who want change need to get their information to me. That includes you e-groupers. I forward all your e-mail to members of your Masters Executive committee. I will be trying to get a vote on National Championships qualifying standards and/or medal standards at our National Convention in Kansas City. So, you should also let your association masters delegate know how you feel about the subject.

The other curious response concerns our mission statement. Most suggestions I have seen look very much like the National Senior Games except they are more specific to track and field and race walking. I have challenged everyone to include how we differentiate ourselves. The committee idea is proving cumbersome.

I would ask everyone to make their suggestions to me as to what they think it should be. I will disseminate them to the Executive Committee and try to find some commonality in your views. The Executive Committee will work on several proposals for the Masters Committee to vote on at the Convention.

Speaking of the convention, please forward to me subjects and issues you think we should be covering at the convention. We will publish the proposed agenda in next months issue and accept other suggestions up until December 1. Unfortunately at the convention there is little time to deal with unplanned topics.

Another topic left over from the meet in Orono concerns marketing and public relations. We have to extend great appreciation to Bob Weiner, who is a professional public affairs and issue strategist, for spending time to open our eyes on the potential of implementing public relations for national and regional meets. We are in the process of budgeting some of this into 2003.

One really great idea that came from the meeting was the proposal to develop a masters biographical data base. I am working with our National Office to implement such a data base. This would make it easy for the media to get the information they need to do pieces on USATF masters.

On the subject of marketing we came up with some ideas that should help build our regional and national participation. We are looking at the best way to get applications for these meets to every USATF masters member and maybe some who are not. This is very targeted marketing on a limited budget. We will keep you updated on this project. Also, everyone should know that the National Office is working very hard to include masters in their marketing activities. At some point, I am sure it will hit a home run for us. In the mean time, if we can build our membership base we will become more attractive for sponsors to invest in our activities.

From Orono the idea of running the National Outdoor Pentathlon at a separate venue came up. The ability to run our Track and Field Championships is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on everyone including the pentathletes who then have to compete in the open championships. There was also unanimous support by the throws athletes to have rounds be no more than eight athletes. This would be an exception to the open rule of 12 and take more time to complete an event.

Some may be aware that everyone seems to be in agreement for the move of New Mexico into the West region from the Mid-America region. We are going to unofficially start working with this change.

It also means that we will need a new regional coordinator for the Mid-America. Thank you, Doug Schneebeck, of New Mexico, for all you have done in that region. People interested in this position are asked to get in touch with me.

Also, I am pleased to announce that Gerry Krainik has agreed to take over as Midwest Regional Coordinator. Thanks go to Ray Vandersteen for all the great work he has done as Midwest Coordinator.

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