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.