Saturday, October 11, 2008

No Good Deed

I'm sure most of you are finishing the phrase, "goes unpunished." Exactly. Let me tell you about our Friday night.

For many years, the DH was the announcer for the local high school softball teams. Our girls played, we were in the boosters, the whole schmear. The DH has a wonderful voice and being him, did it up right. He got a sports sounds program that is used professionally, at his own cost, and went to town. He became very popular, and I was proud.

So popular that the varsity football boosters came courting. Would DH do the home game announcing? Including pre-game show music, and all that jazz? Would he? You betcha. He asked me to be his spotter, and once I found out it didn't mean cleaning stains out of carpets, I said sure. What it does mean, for those of you as ignorant as I was, is the person who helps the announcer know who is in the middle of the play, running, tackling and the like. I get to use binoculars and feel important. :-)

Now, we've been doing these games for four years, and to be immodest, we rock. Okay, the DH rocks, but I sit beside him. He has pet phrases that are hugely popular, the crowd roars for them, and he really keeps them upbeat in spite of only one win this season. The music he plays is a good mix of classic rock and contemporary stuff, his sound effects are short, he does a great job, and all as a volunteer. We close the studio two hours early on game nights, and forfeit a fair chunk of potential income as a result, but it's our way of giving back.
One thing that has been a two-prong policy as long as we've been doing this for any sport. We are there for the fans, not the athletes whom we assume should be concentrating on the game, and we do not play music the kids bring us. The AD (Athletic Director) has always backed us on this, because we simply don't know what obscenity-laden piece of crap might be on that home-made CD. We don't chance it. So we've always told the kids, sorry, not without the AD's approval, and subject to our hearing it first. It's our reputation on the line; parents aren't going to be mad at the AD, or the music provider, but at us for playing it.

Last week we went through it again. Kids bring CD, we explain policy, kids leave. All's right with the world. Then last night, what looked to me to be the same kids and CD come up to the booth, and tell us that the CD has been approved by the head coach. We inform them it has to be approved by the AD, and then we'll listen to it.
A few minutes later, an older looking but still very young man comes up, and tells us that the coach cleared it with the AD, and we are to play the music. He has a serious attitude on from the first word. DH explains we need to hear that from the AD, that we'll begin ripping the music in so our program CAN play it, but we won't until we hear from him. Young man gets more testy. "The coach said to play it!" DH informed him we don't answer to the coach, and in a perfect snit (I know snits well, this one was lulu), YM says, "I'll tell him you said so!" We laughed and said go ahead, so he leaves, stompin' his widdle feet as he goes.

We got a literal thumbs-up from the AD on the field and started ripping in the CD accordingly. We still had no intentions of playing it without review for a couple of reasons. First, the football coach is a belligerent hothead and we had serious doubts that he'd listened to the CD. Second, as I stated before, it's our tails on the line, not his. BTW, and to give you an idea of the man's personality...colleges that want to recruit players send letters for the players to their coaches. It's protocol, then the coach passes them on. This one is so twisted that he KEEPS them and says nothing. One of the star players and a client of ours actually got wind of it, and snuck in and took them out of the coach's office. Which we heard about from his furious mother!

DH begins listening to the first few tracks as the rest rip in. Track one we already play, so duh. Track two is dull, but okay. The third is completely unacceptable. Called "I'm Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass" , it repeats that phrase over and over. Can you imagine that going out over a stadium sound system? With little kids there? As I said to the DH, if a kid said that in the hallway of the school, they'd be in trouble, and we're supposed to play it on the field? Nope.
As we make this judgment, YM returns, more pissy than ever. "Play the music, you got the okay!" DH explains that we're not done ripping it in, that we have the first three tracks done, and he's interrupted..."Then play them!" First, DH says, we don't play music as the band is coming into the stadium as they are now. Never. It's a courtesy, because, duh, the BAND is playing music. Then he adds that we won't play track 3, and why. YM gets ballistic. "Yes you will! You were told to!" Excuse me? DH reminds him that we are volunteers, we have a responsibility to not play objectionable material. "You're just volunteers, and you were told to by two officials!" he blusters. We reiterate we will play other tracks, but not that one, and as YM gets more aggressive, posturing WAY too closely into my personal space, DH tells him he wants him to leave. "I don't have to leave! I'm a COACH!!!"
WTF??? This is the first time he's identified himself as anything to us, and I swear to you, I would never have thought him to be a coach. We've never seen him before, and I'm still amazed he has the nerve to talk in this manner to people volunteering their time, let alone people old enough to be his parents, pretty sure. And honest to Pete, wouldn't you think coaches of a team that after last night is 1-5 would have better things to worry about before a game?

He finally did leave, realizing that with the band just below the press box there was no way we were going to start any music. He stomped back to the head coach and we saw him mouth something up at us. Luckily for him we have no idea what it was. Later we saw them all in confab with the AD, but we heard nothing more. And btw, after the band was quiet, we did play one of the tunes, but hey, the team wasn't on the field to hear it by then. Which is exactly why we play music FOR THE FANS, not them.

Today, my extremely easy-going husband wrote a strong letter to the AD, outlining what had happened. And you better believe he copied the booster's president on it. Did I mention that she's the quarterback's mom, and utterly loves both our work (we did his senior pics, including an awesome special effect shot) and what we do in the press box? He pointed out that we followed policy of years' standing, what we give up to be there, and that volunteers shouldn't have to put up with that kind of harrassment. He continued, stating that we felt abused, disrespected and that he expected a personal apology from that wet-behind-the-ears coach (alright, that's me, he didn't characterize him as such) to both himself and to me.

And I thought I was proud of him before. I'll let you know what happens. At least the three of you who may care.


Rosemarie Buchanan said...

What a little a**hole ... ooops, did I say that out loud? Must have been my evil twin. I have no control over her ;-)

I'll be interested to hear the feedback/fallout from this. The YM, IF he is a coach, needs to be sent to charm school (although I suspect that would be a waste of time). I don't get, no, really, I DON'T GET, this whole RUDENESS thing that seems to be so popular. Not that my son would speak to anyone like that, but if he did, even though he's nearly 29, I'd give him such an attitude adjustment that he'd be afraid to be rude to anyone for the rest of his life!

Do keep me and the other two of us posted.


Oh, you have four readers ... Dorne wants to be included in the cadre of people who care. :-)

Diana said...

Dorne is most welcome. I don't get rudeness either. It never works, except when used to make a business cave that's afraid you'll be more trouble than giving you whatever you want is worth.

And since we volunteer...pffft. People will be p*ssed if they 'fire' DH (most don't know I'm there!), and hey, it means we have four or more Fridays free.