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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Confessions of a Little League President

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Shaun Fink
Shaun Fink is a small business professional in the insurance and financial services industry.

One month into this year’s Little League season, I have so far evicted a parent from the ballpark, banned another from attending games, bandaged a little girl who was drug 5 feet after being run over by a bicycle which is not allowed in the park, come between an angry dad and his young son, bandaged another child’s laceration after being hit in the head by a flying bat, and on, and on, and on…

As I am quickly learning, it is all in a day’s work for a Little League President.  When the former president of the league resigned in February, I was asked to assume the role.  Having only served for a short time on the board, I was flattered and bewildered at the same time because I had very little understanding of the gravity of the situation facing the league.  I learned fast just how consuming the position is and why we had gone through four presidents in the past two years.  There were severe financial concerns, disgruntled board members, no plan or vision for moving forward and a general sense of stagnation.

On the plus side, I had several key board members who are those hardworking types that put their head down and go.  In fact, after an early assessment I realized just how fortunate I was to have the individuals on the board that I have.  Out of 20 members of the Board of Directors, there are twelve who are willing to go as far as I ask them to in order to make things work.  Over half the board members are team players who actually put the children ahead of themselves.  That is an astounding percentage for any board, let alone for a little league.

I have introduced the theory of “Ducks on a Pond”, and it is paying off.  For those of you who do not know the theory, it goes something like this…When you see a duck on a pond, you are struck by the grace and simplicity of its glide.  As the duck seemingly floats along the surface of the water, there is barely a ripple as evidence of any effort being exerted.  But, if you could see below the surface of the water, you just know that you would observe the ducks little feet paddling away in earnest.

Just like that duck, I asked the board to struggle and paddle away under the surface of the water, unbeknown to the parents and players.  We have instituted an effort to look like a duck gracefully gliding on the pond.  The results have been a more positive outlook by all involved; an enjoyable and successful season for the kids, which is why we do it in the first place.  And, I am happy to report that the league is back in the black, with a vision for the future and increasing momentum…all because of a little duck.

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