PRESIDENT'S BULLETIN UPDATED 3RD DECEMBER 2023
"Two blokes met in a bar & had an armwrestle..." could be the start of a joke & for many it was the beginning of an obsession. After the Pro Nationals I had some thanks yous, moans, observations & I think it well here to tackle some of it & give some perspective on what it's like to be running the show.
I publish a lot of information on this site. It is not widely read judging by the questions that get asked. When is the weigh in? What time does it start?Can I compete? Hollie Stewart & I answer the enquiries & mostly it is redirecting them back to what has already been published. I've done this a lot when I've been working - I get a message & I know to that person it is urgent - maybe they want to plan what they are doing & need to tell their family. Wives might not be so understanding & want to know if they are going to be back in time to take the gerbil to the vet so a quick message to Dan is all that is needed & it's quicker (for them) to wait for the reply. I guess that people might think I sit in an office with an antique wooden desk waiting for the phone to ring & that I'm similar to the President of the Football association who is paid & has employees & a whole gang of lackeys at his beck & call. The reality is I'm often out on a site, with muddy boots & tools & I'm a volunteer. Next year there are 9 events that I am directly organising & I will likely help in some way with 4 or 5 others. The information rolls around my head like a swarm of bees & there is a lot to think about & be responsible for. I don't want to give out the wrong information so a referal back to the site is always the best option. Read it before asking is the quickest route.
The Nationals were in the main popular: they went on too long, a few errors were made by me on the scoring, the food was good. The old chestnuts of Drug testing have been raised again with some in favour - "just do a few random tests Dan & it will solve everything," say one group of people. I have seen a few turkeys this week publicly vote for Christmas which made me laugh a lot. Obviously they did listen when I gave detailed reasons why we don't & won't be doing it, so know that they can argue that it should be done with no danger of them falling foul of it. I know who you are.
There are other concerns: "What you need to concentrate on is getting four tables running at once," or "You need to find referees who aren't pulling in the competition," or "You need to stop people wearing scruffy clothes," or "We need a bigger venue," & so it goes on. Everything requires consideration & involves cost & a judgement as to what the benefit will be. I listen the broadcasts, read the chats, respond to messages & those I miss are usually relayed to me by my spies within a few days. The whole thing was filmed & broadcast live & the feed back from that has been very positive. I take no credit for this as it's a separate set of difficulties that I do not concern myself with at all. Paul Maiden & others provide free entertainment & put a lot of work into doing it. Boxes of expensive kit gets transported & set up & someone like Paul, Dean Bolt, Daf Lewis or Tim Massey provide commentary which is not as easy as people think it is to do. It is the habit of the age to require others to do the entertaining & then complain that the sound didn't live up to their expensive speakers or that the angle or lighting wasn't very good. In this I am quite clear in my intentions. I try to put on tournaments that provide opportunities for progression for those who want to armwrestle. Nothing more. I care less for those who did not turn up for whatever reason. During the summer I miss a lot of other events due to work & I watch replays on a small Nokia phone screen. If the camera used has a smear on the lens & the commentary is in a foreign language I don't mind. If I get to see it's him against him, & the result I have done better than if I had not seen it at all. That's my point of reference.
I get on well with people from all contingents. There are the serious athletes who are dedicated to improvement & tournament wins. There are the casual workers looking for some light relief from the stresses of their monotonous jobs. There are alcoholics who come for the social aspect & like the theatre of performing on stage. There are the shirkers hoping to make a living by being the next big thing on film & there are roid heads who are looking to smash all in their path. There are pot heads who are tripping man, just tripping. Sometimes a combination of all those things are rolled into one complex personality. Some of the drunks want drug testing introduced. Some of the athletes want the drunks kept off stage, & so it goes on.
I hear from all the passionate people from each group who want me to shape what we're doing into a model of what they see the thing should be. I look at what's possible, the cost of it in both time & resource & add in my own motivations. It has to be fun for me to want to carry on doing it. I am a scruffy person generally & rarely adhere to dress codes for weddings, funerals or social events. Obviously I don't get invited to many. Imposing a dress code on others is difficult, but if you turn up with concrete on your boots or dressed in clown shoes I will have to intervene. I noticed at the weigh ins that some of you could definitely do with a wash but if you got to the age you are & your mothers, wives or girlfriends couldn't make you do it, I don't see that I will have much influence. However I take this opportunity to tell you by Presidential Decree: Keep your beer off the stage. Have a wash. Be polite. Don't threaten anyone. Stop taking drugs. Don't argue with the refs. Don't try & cheat. And I will see you all in church next Sunday.
I laugh a lot listening to the broadcasts, sometimes I'm quoted to have said something which I didn't say & find out that I'm introducing something soon that I did not know about. When I was eleven & beat the woodwork teacher on the day trip to France at an armwrestle I think I might have fallen in love with the sport then. Obviously I didn't imagine that there would be so much to it - technique, politics, complaints, drugs, intrigues & such like, let alone that it would be me running it here. I see the high level stuff like EvW, run these shows & sometimes battle someone on the lid of a wheelie bin. Is there much difference between those three examples? At a primal level we're having a battle & the rest of it is just fluff. Armwrestling is like two bald men fighting over a comb. We think it is fun to do & interesting to watch but to the majority of the world's population it's pointless.
Before I got involved in all this I considered starting a touring wheelie bin league under Udezumou rules - that might still come when my successor arrives. Drug testing, a more professional President & all you could ever want from this sport is not too far away if you can find someone who will do it better. Until then & whilst I keep finding the banter, bickering, argueing & scrapping entertaining you're stuck with me.
Which brings me on to the AGM. I will later this month provide details of what, when & how to those of you who are associate or Full members. It is a legal function of the association to hold an Annual General Meeting where issues can be discussed & proposals can be put forward & voted on. The Officers of the association can be elected or ousted & there is a clear framework & process for this. If you've been an associate member for at least a year & then pay to be a full member after that you get to vote & shape the direction. In practice there are not many who are that interested & I don't blame you. I would rather put some effort into the Udezumou Wheelie bin idea than hold the AGM, but I signed up for this gig & I will see it through.
One of the motions at the AGM is to join IFA as a member nation. There is a page all about this which you could read (if you can read) on this site called IFAQUESTIOIN. IFA have higher ideals than we have & there will be a lot of work to do to improve. At the moment there isn't qualification to enter their championships - you pay your money & sign on registration to say that you agree to participate. The small print bit that none of you read details the fact that you are clean & will play nicely under their terms. If any of you roid heads get tested positive at their championships you'll get banned & if we were a member nation you'd be at the risk of domestic exclusion too. I have yet to ban anyone from competing - my sanctions are usually much more effective. Don't we all just want to do our thing? There's room for all of us in some sort of format & even the idiots have their endearing qualities that make me smile between grinding my teeth & growling here & there.
Anyway, beyond the introspective naval gazing & what might be's there has been some action to report: D1 Beast from the East went on in Newcastle on Saturday. I haven't seen results yet, but it was popular according to a few of my spies who attended. Ad Barnet won a match in the Nordic Open in the 86kg class taking pins off Kevin Berberach & Patrick Berg amongst others. Over in the USA Kyle Hutchison has been touring about with some high level guys. There is a lot of good stuff going on & I intend there to be much more after Christmas as you will see if you care to take a look at the events calendar.
See you down the road.