Sunday, June 6, 2010

Being a Tiger

You probably heard about the not-quite-a-perfect game controversy this week, right? That didn’t help alleviate my funky (not the dance floor kind) mood. Detroit - the city, the team, the region - just can’t catch a break sometimes.

It’s been that way for a while. Not for the past few decades, but centuries. The City’s official motto is Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus. In English: "We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes." It’s not something new or recent: it was adopted in response to a fire that completely leveled the city - in 1805.

A couple days later, Mom wanted to do a little local garage sale hopping. Pickings were a little slim - it was late in the day, and the pickers had already finished picking - but look at what I found in spite of it all:

A Lomonosov Tiger Cub! I really shouldn’t keep him, but I will. I have to: it feels like a gift from my late grandfather, Louie. He stood by his team, and his city, in good times and bad.

So can I.

Yeah, we know things are desperate and messed up, but it’s not hopeless. The city I know is not the city the rest of the country knows. But I’m at least glad that the rest of the country got to see a little of what I’ve seen all along, reflected in the way everyone here acquitted themselves in the matter.

Following up on the discussion of the volunteering subject, here are a few more words on the matter. I was going to just add them to the comments in the previous post, but it was starting to run a bit long, and I didn't want them to get lost in the shuffle.

I have no problem with show-specific specials, the kind anyone who happens to be attending can simply purchase by standing in line and paying the money - like the BreyerWest or QuarterFest Specials. If there's any problem there, it's in the distribution and selection of the events that get them. The specials involved haven't been so rare or desirable that it's become a problem, yet. (The LSE/VRE events are definitely on the edge, though.)

I also have no problem with raffle items: as long as the opportunity to purchase tickets is available to all participants. Most raffles work towards the benefit of both parties financially: the raffle holder gets money for their cause, and the raffle winner gets a treasured prize in return.

Live show and volunteer models are problematic because they are now seen by many as entitlements, the benefits of which flow almost entirely to the receiver. The problem with entitlements is that, for better or worse, once it's been established, the potential receivers are loath to give it up.

That's what the brouhaha about the Youth show prizes was about, and why I included them, in passing, in the original discussion. Reeves is trying to scale back to prizes more appropriate to the nature of the show, but many aren't having it. They’re now seen as entitlements - an entitlement that’s now also disincentivizing some showers from moving beyond what is essentially a teaching show. (Useful baseball analogy: what’s the point of moving up to the Majors, if there’s better money to be made in the Minors?)

A similar dynamic is going on with the volunteer specials.

Because of inertia, expediency, or old-fashioned politics, some people will be volunteers for as long, or for as often, as they want to be. I think that the volunteer model encourages some of those folks to continue, at the expense of others who are equally capable, or have a different or fresher approach. If you have skill or expertise in an area that’s already being covered by someone else, the only option that’s left to you is to toss your application into the highly competitive general applicant pool.

Reeves tries to emphasize that the models are a gift, and could stop the practice at any time. But the entitlement has been established, so going back to a standard volunteer package is unlikely at this point. Creating a second tier of volunteers that will work for food? That bird won't fly (and might not survive a legal challenge, either.)

Time for me to be a Tiger and move on. And hope for better things: I was watching TCM the other day, and I came up with what, I think, is a brilliant idea for the Celebrity Look-a-like Contest. (No telling, no clues - y’all will have to wait and see!)


Xyzzy said...

As a longtime volunteer for a wild range of non-model stuff, I agree with you completely... People like us already want to volunteer for events, and I think that "our" kind are usually happy if we get a special event-staff shirt.

It sounds like the special-skills aspect isn't being handled as well as it could be. The orgs I volunteer with use shifts/teams/mentors for special-skill positions with a surplus of applicants, and use 'unrelated' skills (graphic design, writing, flower arranging, cooking, etc.) to make the overall experience as great as possible... If you check out you can see what one fundraiser saddled with 300+ volunteers pulls off that way. :)

Anonymous said...

I don't know, Andrea. I've been picked for BF volunteering before and I have been rejected, as well. I am not going to whine about it. It's a volunteer thing and I know Robin tries to rotate thru people so some new faces get a chance to volunteer. There are only so many "crafty" people who's skills are good enough to showcase in the HIB. I can't do any of that, but I can stand and hand out JAHs and tell people where to buy ice cream.
I like getting a volunteer model, yes, but if they paid me $$, I'd probably save to spend on a rare model anyway. And, people only "expect" a certain type of compensation when that type of compensation is offered. Saying you'd volunteer for a tuna sub as payment probably isn't exactly truthful...we all know you'd love that volunteer model just as much as the rest of us. If the tuna sub was the ONLY thing offered, you bet we'd all work for just that type of compensation. Given the choice between working for tuna or a model, 99.8% of us will choose the model. Isn't that what we're there for? Back when you just got a ribbon and a photo, you didn't expect more, but you'd be ticked off if they DIDN'T give you that ribbon or photo, right?
Cheer up...I don't think it's anything against you. Just the luck of the draw...and I wasn't lucky this year either. I will try again next year. Life goes on.