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I fought the lawn… and the lawn won

Snack bar sacrifice

Filed under: Columns, So Cal Living on Thursday, May 25, 2006

Volunteering to run a three-day swim meet food concession is like volunteering to throw yourself into a volcano: the rare individuals who make such offers rarely last long enough to do it again.

And then there are those who get talked into volunteering: clueless souls who never even notice the volcano part of the job until they’re sailing into the crater.

“You should never answer your phone,” Abby said. “I stopped answering mine last year. I screen all my calls.”

I considered this and then lit up. “But you always pick up for me!”

“You nut! Of course I pick up your calls. You never ask me to do anything! It’s only a few swim moms I have to avoid.”

Abby was sharing her Swim Team Volunteer Avoidance Secrets with me in case I survived the snack bar long enough to be shanghaied into doing another meet. So far, her tips also included hiding in the car when picking up a swimmer—but only if a booster club board member was nearby.

“You don’t have to avoid ALL the moms,” she explained. “Just the board members. They’re dangerous. You stop for a quick chat and the next thing you know you’re next year’s meet manager.”

“Yikes!” I said.

“Look at me,” said Abby, jabbing her thumb at her chest. “I volunteer when I want, where I want. I choose the job. That’s because I can spot a board member a mile away and I screen all my calls. And I don’t let myself get talked into anything I don’t want to do.”

These insights were extremely informative and I probably should’ve been taking notes, but I was already thinking about how to properly phrase my next question.

“So,” I said, in what I hoped was a non-board memberish fashion. “Are you free on—”

“Forget it. I’ll work Hospitality for you Saturday afternoon, but I don’t ever work the snack bar.”

“You’re on!” I said gratefully, and wrote her name down.

I may be sailing into that crater, but I can recognize a good food concession volunteer when I see one.

  1. Oh, your good! Remind me to screen my calls. Oh, I live in New York…hehehehe…I shouldn’t laugh, maybe you have Soccor mom friends in this state! They’re as bad as Swimmer moms, you know!

    Comment by Bonnie Calhoun — 5/25/2006 @ 8:28 pm

  2. And they are so good at the guilt trip technique too…

    Comment by Bernita — 5/26/2006 @ 3:11 am

  3. Greetings from Enland, not sure if I’ve posted a comment her before or not. I do enjoy reading your blog!

    Oh my you are a brave, brave soul!

    Comment by Vanda — 5/26/2006 @ 6:11 am

  4. Clever, Bonnie.

    Must remember that technique..for dodging. 😉

    Happy swim meet.

    Comment by Kait — 5/26/2006 @ 6:31 am

  5. Yuh know what? My mom never did any of that kind of stuff. And she was a great mom. She just didn’t think much of other people’s children and didn’t want to get stuck dealing with hordes of them.

    Of course, I grew up in a predominantly, low income, Hispanic area where extracurricular activities included knocking up your girlfriend (or being knocked up) because the Catholic Church said birth control was evil.

    Nonetheless, I don’t think saying no to “self-involved committee members” is a bad thing. That much parental involvement is overrated. (Hint: us kids don’t necessarily want parents around that much.)

    Comment by pat kirby — 5/26/2006 @ 10:07 am

  6. Hi, guys! I’m cleaning house like mad today because we’re hosting 2 swimmers from out-of-state for this weekend’s swim meet—not the swim meet where I’ll be running the food concession. That’s in July. The meets are coming fast and furious in the next few weeks!

    I don’t know any soccer moms, Bonnie C., but I bet they are just as bad!

    The guilt trip is what got me volunteered, Bernita. I am a pushover. With a capital P. And it’s not like I don’t do anything else for the team. They want blood!

    Hi, Vanda! I think you did visit once before. Welcome back!

    We’ll see if I can remember that technique for dodging, Kait. Like I said: PUSHOVER.

    Pat, maybe I could channel you the next time I get cornered by a board member. “Think Pat Kirby. Think tiny. Think tough. Think about what Pat would do if somebody tried to guilt-trip her into doing this again!”

    Comment by Bonnie Wren — 5/26/2006 @ 2:55 pm

  7. Once. Child #1, aged 2. Organized bake sale and other fund-raising event.

    NEVER AGAIN. Children #s 2 and 3 have a sadder, wiser mommy.

    I’ll tell them to think of it as more time with me, and I will (gulp) drive on field trips.

    Comment by KJ — 5/26/2006 @ 7:24 pm

  8. You got her! LOL. I know the feeling. I get suckered into those types of things WAY too much.

    JUST SAY NO…not only to drugs but to volunteer work as well! HAHAHAHA

    Comment by Mimi — 5/26/2006 @ 9:59 pm

  9. Oh, dear. My dear, dear Bonnie. We have ENTIRELY too much in common!

    Let me guess: Cub Scout den mom? The-Teenager-Formerly-Known-As-Pumpkin talked me into that one. Newsletter editor for the booster club? I thought it would be good experience. Until I found myself up at 3 a.m. because the copy came 2 weeks late. Free fundraising brochure development for that great kids charity? They actually fired me in a huff because I let my paying clients interfere with their deadlines. Silly me, i was actually hurt at the time. Until I realized the incredible gift they had given me: I would never volunteer writing or design again.

    I volunteer during services at my church. I’m there every Sunday anyway, so why not be helpful. I bring pizzas to my son’s theater group on final dress rehearsal nights. Only chance I’ll see him all week.

    Anything else? Show me the money.

    Comment by Elizabeth — 5/27/2006 @ 8:40 am

  10. Lordy, Elizabeth, we are sacrificial sisters, all the way!

    I’m really dreading this project. It’s like this huge weight on my shoulders, dragging me down. Bleah!

    Comment by Bonnie Wren — 5/29/2006 @ 9:02 pm

  11. […] Snack bar sacrifice […]

    Pingback by Ballpoint Wren » "Take on Me" Versions 1.0, 2.0, 2.1, etc. — 6/8/2006 @ 8:32 pm

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