The day before I left for vacation to the exotic Saint Lucia in the Caribbean I got invited to a NNJR SCCA party held just a few towns over from where I live in Northern New Jersey to have a one-on-one chat with the flag chief of the region about my performance as a marshal and what I must do to improve. Or so I thought.
There have been a number of accusations that were made against me including some that were made directly by the region’s flag chief himself to the division’s administrator. Which I found out almost by accident by asking that person for a letter of release to marshal the Le Mans 24h race with the ACO in France.
Long story short, the meeting was very brief. It started out with the flag chief and a region’s administrator or some such titled person (presumably there as a witness though he seemed to be more concerned with holding the flag chief back) pulling me into the hallway from the main dining hall, and saying that he had a strong urge to “sock” me for all the things I said online, especially those about his wife whom I had worked with a number of times at Lime Rock. It’s not hard to find exactly what I said about his wife because I made a public post on the SCCA marshals facebook page and all of the comments are publicly visible to the people that are a part of that group. I did this because the accusations against me were made behind my back and except for the picture taking in Montreal or the blue flag Nazi in Daytona, were never actually addressed with me directly. The comment had to do with training, and I stand by it today as I did the moment I wrote it. An innocent subject that I have been talking about for over a year now, and I sincerely thought would be beneficial to others. But it turns out his wife is the best trainer in the country, even though new marshal recruiting in our region is minimal and those that they did claim to train at NJMP when the track first opened, I was told by the flag chief himself to watch out for the employees because they don’t know what they’re doing. So the message would have been mixed had I actually believed the guy. But just like he accused the NJMP employees of being incompetent when I worked an event with them last time, he has been spreading the same rumors about me whenever I participated in events around the country. And rumors are like cancer, once someone puts a bug in your ear it creates doubt about the people you work with, instead of concentrating on the job at hand.
I am sick and tired of anyone undermining my reputation, so the goal of the meeting for me was to make it clear that I want nothing to do with the flag chief or his wife in the future. I was dumping the NNJR SCCA region and joining another – Guam.
The conversation continued with more claims that I left collateral damage from Montreal to Daytona, and Austin with my post about the bad station assignment for F1 last year. And how I had a meltdown saying that I had to drink in order to make it through the weekend because everything was so bad, and that I threw everyone on my station under the bus in that negative post. The post, which can be found unedited here: <click> is pretty clear. I had a bad time, and I described it as such. But apparently as a result of sharing my opinion, the flag chief of the F1 at COTA will never work with me again. The flag chief in Florida will never work with me. And the admin lady in Montreal will never work with me either, even though she invited me to come back but put on probation for taking pictures when such an activity was not allowed. The guy was full of shit and I stopped him from making more claims or taking more credit for things he had nothing to do with by saying there are people that are willing to work with me at Lime Rock and I intend to work with them directly, even at events where this guy and his wife are present. And to that I got a stern: “Never gonna happen!” as he stormed off in anger towards the buffet line.
So the outcome of the meeting was clear. No matter what was sent to me in the letter signed by the flag chief and forwarded to me by snail mail from the division’s administrator was false, the mind was made up to prevent me from marshaling… period. And for an organization that is meant to recruit and train marshals that is utter bullshit. I realize that I’m generalizing the actions of at least three people in the above statement under the umbrella of the entire SCCA, but as a flag chief, the best trainer in the country and division’s administrator they are direct representatives of the club to a mere volunteer that I am. Or thought I was. Apparently it is OK to be a dickhead to other volunteers, but as soon as you call someone a dickhead for their actions then everyone gets bent out of shape.
I have reached out to the president of the club with no response. I have also reached out to administrators of other specialities besides F&C and have not heard any response. Maybe the NNJR flag chief has that kind of influence on everybody else in the club, or maybe nobody else gives a fuck about what is happening. Or maybe people are so secure in their little position of power they avoid drama no matter how petty it seems to be.
Since I obviously don’t have any voice in the club for which I have been paying a hefty membership fee for the past three years, I will share the letter sent to me below. Maybe the flag chiefs of the future events I have an interest in participating will read about the shit I had to deal with and make up their own mind whether they want to work with me or not. It would be especially nice IF they make up their mind before I spend money on booking flights, car, and accommodation and be turned away at the event itself.
I will also add that it is amazing to me how much individual people have influence over someone’s experience as a volunteer. Jessie from SponsorAFlagger.com and I started about the same time here in the US. Her flag chief has been extremely supportive with her participation and as a result her experience with the SCCA as a club has been the polar opposite of what mine has been. Even though we worked many events together and allegedly got in trouble for the same things. The key obviously is to avoid assholes, which is hard to do when they vow to prevent you from volunteering. Lame, sad and pathetic all in all!
I must also say that my experience can and probably will be completely different from yours, whoever you are reading this, especially when you are considering volunteering with the SCCA. So I would not automatically dismiss this post as a “Negative” rant about my attitude. I get defensive whenever I am reproached, that is obvious. It’s really up to you to make up your mind how you react to similar circumstances…. and now without further ado, the letter:
e-mail or facebook me to request the letter
Inevitably someone will ask why make this public?
And the reason is simple: I have experienced questionable treatment from the day I joined the club. For every helping hand extended to me there was almost always a certain punch below the belt for something that I had allegedly done or not done. The current system of keeping accusations secret is stupid. The club can improve by reprimanding members for their actions, as well as having a feedback loop for when actions of the superiors are threatening or questionable. The only way I can express my opinion is through this blog, and no bully will threaten me to give up a hobby that I enjoy just because they don’t see things my way or I don’t see things theirs.
Ultimately, nothing was given to me by the SCCA. All the events I participated in, whether here in the US or overseas I paid out of my own pocket and each one taught me something, whether good or bad. Nobody can take that away from me, no matter how much they try!