Newsletter - 2005 Archive

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A Thank You
(Upon Receiving the 2004 Roger Street Award)
by Eric Fergusson

About five years ago Stephen Hinde, our webmaster, injured his hand in a cross-country skiing accident. The injury made it difficult to operate a computer and so he was forced to pass the web site baton. The timing was perfect for me - I had organized the Pacific Populaire for five years, and been in charge of the promotional/information brochure for four. I was ready to take my club involvement down a notch. When I took over from Stephen, I intended the web site to be my retirement project. It was a way I could keep a little bit involved - a way to do my part without it taking so much time. I thought that the web site might be relatively static, with some basic current information. I was also looking forward to using the web site to do some club history and archival projects, which is more in my nature anyway, and leave operations to others.

One thing you find when you're on web site detail is that all the information flows in your direction - results, routes and maps, photos, announcements, gossip, complaints about the rules and policies, suggestions for improving, well, everything. People were being very conscientious with the material they were sending, so naturally I felt I should treat the material with the appropriate respect. And when I did that, people sent in more and more good material, and now I find myself sitting on something that, far from being static, has spiralled into a 1300 page, 3200 image, living breathing monster that people expect to be updated daily. (These figures don't include the many pages on Susan Allen's newsletter site [2000-2004] and Mike Poplawski's discussion list pages.) It wasn't what I was expecting, but I must admit that the web site has turned out to be much more fun than I could have imagined.

The other thing that happens when you're on web site detail is that you get a bird's eye view of the operation. You can't help seeing the big picture, noticing when parts of the puzzle are fitting together, and also seeing when there are the cracks in the dyke. (Note the classic mixed metaphor!) And so finally this is where Roger Street gets dragged into this story. Seeing the big picture, and also imagining the club long term, rather than as an annual entity, was his particular forte. It often involved him being at odds with others within the rando committee and the membership more broadly at times, and it earned him a bit of a reputation as being "Mr Grumpy." The thing is, he was almost always right about things, and generally we would all be doing ourselves a favour by letting his opinions guide policy. He was also a nudger - with a little suggestion here, a little encouragement there, Roger managed to keep the club on track for the entire time he was on the committee as treasurer. I don't think I'm as persuasive as Roger, but one thing I think about when I make my periodic e-mail... let's not call them rants, how about "commentaries"... to the committee is that being the voice of dissent, being "Mr Grumpy", may be a way of keeping Roger alive for me. As for nudging, well I'm not as good as Roger at this either, but in the webmaster's chair I do have the opportunity to make little changes or additions that help shape the direction of this unique club.

Michel Richard said so many nice things about me before presenting me with the Roger Street Award at the spring social that I'm not sure I can pinpoint the reason or reasons that it's sitting in my living room instead of one of the many other deserving living rooms, and I'm not sure if any of the ramblings above concerning my involvement in the club were even relevant to the award selection committee. One thing Ali has made clear is that the award is to be given on the basis of current contributions to the club, and not for good work done in the past. (The award was Ali and Roger Holt's initiative, and they have a hand in choosing the annual recipient.)

One thing I can tell you is how nice it felt to be honoured with this award. Michel's comments were extremely generous and greatly appreciated, though I must challenge him on one account - on our relative cycling speed. Michel has never had any problem keeping pace with me. It's the other way around, and I think everyone knows this. So to Michel, to Roger and Ali Holt, to Sharon Street, and also to the many people who have made my involvement in club affairs a pleasure, and this club such a vital force - thank you.

March 31, 2005