I was reading today an argument regarding the validity of terminating an affiliates license based on lack of good will shown by the affiliate towards CrossFit. Good point, and I considered that myself as an Affiliate. After all, I certainly did not pay to join an organization just so I can turn around and disparage that organization. That would just be silly now wouldn't it?
But, call me crazy, I do expect it to work both ways. As far as I'm concerned the relationship should be reciprocal. I will be happy to have good will towards an organization I paid to be a part of and expect the same in kind. So what got me to feel that this reciprocal relationship did not exist and the organization I had joined did not seem to have the same good will towards me that I had intended to have towards them? For starters, a few months after I affiliated, specifically on 5/3/09, I read on the website (www.crossfitrrg.com
) promoting the Risk Retention Group (RRG) the following:
"Imagine you have the best, most well-equipped CrossFit affiliate on the face of the Earth. Gleaming Olympic bars, dedicated platforms, all the climbing ropes and pull-up bars and bumper plates anyone could ever need or want. There are hundreds of people dying to join your affiliate, but you’d be a fool to open your doors and let them in. Why? Because if they hurt themselves and sue you, the result will bankrupt you."
So, I think to myself, if I proceed as planned with promoting myself as an Affiliate I am a fool, and a potentially bankrupt fool at that. That's nice. Why wasn't this disclosed to me before my money was accepted for affiliation? I certainly did not think I was joining an organization to be a fool. But, fool that I am at least I'm not alone, there were a good 1,000 or so (at that time) fools that came before me, so at least I'm in good company.
So while I'm still digesting the fact that I am a fool if I open a CrossFit gym as planned (unless I buy into the RRG of course, but then even if I do buy into the RRG I am a fool if I operate my gym until the RRG is formed and issues me a policy. And, OMG what if it doesn't get funded!!! I'll be doomed to be a fool forever...oops, sorry, rambled on a bit there), I come across another selling point to the RRG:
"Affiliates and trainers who don’t participate risk being singled out and separated from the herd by opportunists. They will be devoured in the courtroom, stuck between an indifferent insurance company and omissions and errors in their insurance policy. When the time comes, they will be as valuable to the CF-RRG as the affiliates who do support it. By serving as sacrificial lambs, they will demonstrate the importance of being inside the castle wall."
So, the organization that I just paid to be a part of not only considers me to be a potentially bankrupt fool if I go ahead and open a gym as planned using the brand name I just paid for the privilege to use, but if I don't join the RRG they also see me as valuable to them as a sacrificial lamb. My good will was really starting to erode right about this time, but I figured rather than be silent regarding these tactics I found so disagreeable I'd hop on over to the affiliate section of the message board and share my views. Other than complaining about how broke I was (yes, I like to whine), I wrote the following (again, on 5/3/09):
"I thought the RRG was a great idea, but I don't like being coerced into contributing 100% or not at all. I don't do well with hard sells. I didn't much like the "sacrificial lamb" and "outside the castle wall" selling points to the RRG. That angle holds a vailed threat of noncompliance that is unnecessary and, frankly, vicious. I felt/feel it was completely unnecessary. I purchase things based on merit AND if I have the money. Not through peer pressure, coersion, vailed threats, or fear tactics. I thought/think the RRG has merit; I like the idea of taking ones destiny into ones own hands and protecting ones self. The RRG is supposed to have the affiliates best interest at heart but it does not have my best interest at heart because it is not in my best interest to not pay my rent next month and use up the little bit of a safety net I have remaining. If it's 100% or nothing count me in as a sacrificial lamb. Bah."
It should be noted I kept my opinion regarding this matter off the public message board out of good will and I limited voicing my complaints to the affiliate section of the board out of good will. That said, being a fool I didn't mention in my posts my dislike over being called a fool, but I did bring attention to my dislike over all the other tactics being used.
Now the economy was tanking at this point and many other affiliates were struggling financially, but this reality in the lives of many affiliates did not matter. Those affiliates that wanted to help and donate less than the required amount were told their money wasn't welcome and that it "wasn't the right thing to do" if they donated less than the full amount as an affiliate. We were repeatedly being told (via peer pressure) that if we really wanted to we could find the money to contribute. And for those affiliates like me who could not afford to join the RRG, well we could take heart in the fact that officially we would still serve a purpose for the cause in the form of being a sacrificial lamb. Several well-meaning affiliates replied to my posts and one suggested I not take the selling tactics personally, to which I replied in part:
"And I do take it personally, and I think that is the intent. The tone and methods of how this is being promoted is to make every affiliate feel personally responsible, so by extension if we don't contribute we are made to feel like sh*t for not doing so, even if we genuinely can't afford it. I really don't need stuff like that in my life and don't want to be associated with those that employ those sorts of methods. It's coercive. Irony is it is my understanding CrossFit has it's genesis in small gyms. Seems to me there may be a lot of "garage gyms" or small ventures like mine who may be in similar situations given the economy. I suspect there may be many struggling and/or new affiliates stretched beyond their means. I don't believe the answer for us is to give up. I've already invested too much time and money as it is. Struggle isn't so bad. I'd rather struggle financially than compromise on what I'm trying to accomplish. (And I do have a backup plan...if this don't work out I'm moving to Nevada to become a whore...one way or another I'm getting paid doing what I enjoy LOL.) I really just don't want to be lectured to concerning my choices (especially the whore one). I believe a previous poster actually offered to look over peoples financial documents to help "find" the money. What are we children??? Passion is one thing, presuming to know other's financial situation, presuming to have a say in how someone chooses to spend one's money, and presuming to lecture others on their finances is another. I don't buy lattes, I don't go out drinking (I stay home with my dog and read), I don't get my nails done, I haven't had my hair cut in 8 months (I cut my bangs myself so trust me, they look like sh*t), I don't throw my money away on frivolous things. But what I do decide to spend my money on is my choice. I think that those of us that can't contribute the full amount would have gladly contributed what we could afford. And I'm not compromising my credit for this...that's just absurd and will have long-lasting consequences that are not worth it. I would advise other's to think twice before using such means."
Now going back to the good will argument, I ain't no lawyer or anything like that, and I certainly have suffered from light reading comprehension skills in the past, but it seems clear to me that being called a fool headed for bankruptcy by executing my right to use the brand name I just paid for, being seen as a potential sacrificial lamb, and being coersed into contributing to an RRG using methods that show an utter disregard for my intelligence and immediate financial well being are not gestures of good will towards me. But hey, I've been known to be a bit dense at times.
P.S. Sorry to go all Cooperesque on your asses, but I needed to get that out of my system. I feel much better now. Time to move on.