ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Leading a Horse to Water

Updated on December 7, 2017
jackclee lm profile image

Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Jack has worked at IBM for over 28 years.

Introduction

I am reminded of this old quote “You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. definition. You can show people the way to do things, but you can't force them to act.” This applied to my recent efforts to help my Alma Mater Women’s Fencing team. As hard as we tried to offer suggestions, they seem reluctant at first. Some signs are changing for the better. I am hopeful...

- Dec. 2017

Background

As a former fencer, and a trained engineer, my instinct is to first gather all the information and come up with a plan to solve the problem at hand. This was the case over the past year when I learned about the plight of the CCNY Varsity Fencing team. They had a rough few years with budget cuts and declining membership. Last season, their star player, who carried the team, graduated. They are left with mostly freshmen and a very inexperienced team.

After the initial discussions and fact finding, I quickly learned that the problem with the fencing team is systemic and applied across the board to all of CCNY and in fact across most of CUNY schools. Recent events with financial scandals at the highest level of administration did not help. The acting President and acting Athletic Director were put into a very difficult position. How to keep the programs going with a $6 million short fall?

Our Small Group of Alumni...

The problems of the team are numerous. It included lack of funding, lack of proper facilities, lack of equipment and maintenance, and lack of student participation...and lack of training and discipline.

The timing of these events coincided with the retirement of a few of our former teammates including myself. We now have the time and resources to do something.

We started by gathering our group for a long overdue reunion dinner. We reached out to some family members of our former coaches. We created a small group of core supporters. We wanted to help but was not sure how to get started.

By reaching out to other Friends Group like Harvard, we received great advice on what can and cannot be done. It was a long learning process with lots of detours. Finally, we settled on a simple plan to move forward.

What Can Be Done...

I am very persistent by nature and I have lots of patience. So, I like to modify this old adage and say - “you can lead a horse to water...however, you can make an offer too good to pass up.” Or stealing from the Godfather movie, “making him an offer he can’t refuse.”

We did something right by engaging the CCNY administration. We offered them some donation of equipment with no strings attached. We then followed with meeting to suggest ideas for long term. Finally, we gave the coach space and freedom to act. Our ideas were always common sense and with few drawbacks. We help make it easy to change.

We abide by all rules and regulations of NCAA and the school. At times, it seems they were overly concerned about these rules when much more pressing issues are on the table and at times, the rules did not apply.

We always gave credit to the head coach for his efforts of keeping the team going in spite of all these challenges and adversity over the years. Without him, the team would have been disbanded years ago.

Some Positive Signs...

Here are a few tangible signs of progress...

  • the school have purchased a new van for travel to team events
  • the school have purchased new uniforms needed by some new team members
  • the Athletic Department website has been updated on schedules and results
  • the Campus News is open to publishing fencing related articles to help promote the team
  • the CCNY donation website has made allowances for donors to designate targeted teams - this was one of our suggestions.
  • an Alumni meet is put on the team schedule first time after many years of inactivity
  • the coach is actively recruiting on campus...
  • the Alumni Association is stepping up to help with fund raising...
  • a meeting to be setup with the Athletic Department to discuss holding a “subway series” home tournament - another suggestion made by our group.
  • a new website of Friends of CCNY Fencing created to track our progress.

Some Other Suggestions...

  • Hiring a team manager
  • getting a permanent room for fencing practice
  • recruiting at least 12-15 girls for the team
  • getting a fencing strip
  • donating a mirror
  • donating a practice dummy
  • improve the practice regiment
  • Hosting an annual home tournament “subway series”
  • holding an annual Alumni meet
  • publish regular article on The Campus magazine
  • help the Alumni organization reach out to alumni fencers
  • help with annual fund raising event
  • publicize activities via social media like Facebook
  • invite speakers on campus talk about the sport of fencing and how it can help...
  • reachout to local community organizations like the Peter Westbrook Foundation

Summary

This effort is a long term project. I envision it will take 5 years at least to see some significant progress. A good team takes years to rebuild. From recruitment to training to funding to publicity...and finally success, it is a long and winding road. We have started on this journey and it can only lead us higher. How high we can reach is anybody’s guess.

© 2017 Jack Lee

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)