A Volunteer, Non-Profit League – What Does That Mean to You?
— by Mark Boline, Former NSL Commissioner/Founder of NSL
Since its inception, the NOLA Softball League’s existence has been 100 percent because of the efforts of a few volunteers. No one in the league receives any compensation. Yet, many have selflessly given their time and energy to create a recreational outlet that never existed in the Greater New Orleans LGBT community before. Not only have we done it, we’ve done it in the face of post-Katrina adversity in parks and recreation, and we’ve done it well.
I began the effort about five years ago, when I started the frustrating search of finding fields on which to play. After reaching out to NAGAAA, I had a better idea of how to form a league, but never really had any idea of the time commitment this endeavor would consume. But luckily, other volunteers started coming aboard to help, including Roy LeCompte who has worked so very hard by my side to make this league the great success it is today.
Today, we have about 20 volunteers, including the Board of Trustees, Committee Chairs and Managers, who operate and run the NOLA Softball League in a purely volunteer capacity for your benefit. All of us have full-time jobs that at times certainly have suffered because of the time devoted to softball.
I tell you all of this not for self-promotion. Quite the contrary, I derive my satisfaction on Sunday afternoons watching everyone have fun. I bring this to everyone’s attention because in the recent weeks we’ve witnessed a few members publically malign the NSL and the volunteers that make the league possible. As one witness to a heated bashing session at a bar recently told me, “It’s not just that they are upset or disagree about something, it the verbosity and mean-spirited nature of the way they are complaining. There is just no reasoning with them.”
Whatever anyone’s beef may be with decisions or actions taken by the volunteers that lead this league, public airing of them is not only distasteful, it’s a detriment to our league. Consider that this is the time when we are reaching out to bring new recruits into the league. What will they think when they read or hear such negativity about our league from its members? And what does it say about these complainers, who don’t volunteer, who don’t attend our open meetings where the league’s decisions are made, but still reap the benefits of playing softball courtesy of the very people they are bashing. It should tell you a lot.
The NSL By-Laws state in Article II, Section 2.07, that “The Board may, by a three-quarter (3/4) vote, rescind a membership at any time for conduct in violation of the By-Laws, Rules of Play, or for improper conduct not in the best interest of NSL.” The NSL Board of Trustees will enforce this By-Law if and when necessary without hesitation. But it need not come to that. If you don’t like being part of a volunteer organization whose purpose is to promote fun and recreation for our community, and give back to its charitable organizations, then the answer is simple – don’t join.
Finally, since day one I have structured this league so that decisions can be made by consensus. Every Board Meeting, Managers Council, and Membership Meeting is open to any member per the NSL By-Laws. We always announce meetings well in advance without exception. We want you to come! About two dozen members came to our Annual meeting last year, which is outstanding for a league our size. Your participation is not only available, it’s encouraged in every communication we make. So when decisions are being made, your voice can and will be heard if you come. When members attend our planning sessions and behave with respect, they will always be given the opportunity to share their opinions and make their case for whatever topic we’re discussing.