Weekly Note  #69
The Lobby
August 13th 2013
This Week's Note
Quote of the Week
Those who do not know the plans of competitors cannot prepare alliances. 
Those who do not know the lay of the land cannot maneuver their forces. 
Those who do not use local guides cannot take advantage of the ground.
-Sun Tzu
"The Art of War"

The Art of War
In the pre-Ten years, the late 1990's, a group was formed that we called The Four. Most didn't know about The Four, but every single event director did, as did most of what I now call the Deep Water people. Those who are not on the surface of the sport, but deep, deep below.
Since I had my ear to the ground in both worlds, I learned some new terminology...

like, "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer."

It was a motto of The Four, and perhaps the very reason of its existence.

Anyhow, a couple of them were reading certain books, like The Art of War. 

That should have been my signal to get out, but look, it was two people - not the entire community, right?

Guess I underestimated The Art of War.

If you're in a battle with The Ten or their supporters, you might was to learn their rules first by reading up.

Or by just leaving all together. There are plenty of healthy communities out there, right? Boogie Woogie! ya know?
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Dear Reader,  

Happy summer everyone! I hope all is well with you! 

I'm sorry I'm not able to write to you every week. I'm jam-packed with non-swing writing. Remember, I'm a freelance writer!

Still, hold onto your pants. Love to you all... 

The Lobby
Lobbying in The Church
Before I get started, I want to mention a couple things:
Yes, what happened in France really happened. I get why it's trying to be hushed up, but it's not a fabrication. It's a reality.
Novice divisions, the biggest $$$, are shrinking due to April's Fool. So ED's are proclaiming that they are now judging on technique and triples. But they fired all swing judges and hired free Abstract help or judges who are part of The Church. When you get a promise like that, be sure to check the scores. Accountability, accountability, accountability!!!
We DESPERATELY need a website listing ALL non-WSDC events!!! I'm tired of seeing new "convention" sites, only to find shrines to The Church, point conventions and such slanted writing and blogs that you'd think the other 75% of the WCS community didn't exist!!!
Do you have any idea how many NON-WSDC events are going on out there? One day events, two day events, three day events... they all deserve to be listed!!! The WSDC site only lists events who pay them money and who hold Nov, Int, Adv, AS & Ch divisions!!! 

Do you have any idea how many conventions can't support that many divisions? A TON! 

I know you guys are waiting for me to design a site. I can't. I've donated all that I can these last three years. And I KNOW ya'll are some special tech-savvy peeps. Get on it!

Lol! The politicians have started rumors that contacting the hotels doesn't work! You know why? Because it IS working! The stories and the thank you's are flooding in for that little tip, and people are being creative about what they report to the hotels - you can report more than just the music apparently - so have at it. Enjoy your right to live abuse-free!

Ya'll know my stuff is copyrighted, right? Yeah. It is. 
And my TWITTER is now @wcsrevolution and I'm loving every minute of it!

Now, on to the big stuff!

A couple of years ago, I was asked to grab A for an important meeting. It was hard. A was talking, if that's what you'd call it, with the parents of a 30+ year old guy in The Ten. I didn't know who they were at the time though. I just knew that this pair of parents simply wouldn't let A go. They were very insistent on telling A just how stupendous their son was. Very very insistent.
As I tried to pull A away, they practically grabbed A. And as I heard all the glories of their son they were sharing, I realized who their son was. A confirmed it as we finally walked away. And even thought we'd broken away, A kept repeating apologies and frustration about them, their desires and the 30 year old son/boy/adult?
You see, even though their son was in The Ten, they still weren't happy. He hadn't won. He danced well, but he hadn't won. And they wanted A to change things. They pressured A, and A just felt so bad for them, so bad for them that A kept apologizing and agreeing about their son even after the, what I would call it, confrontation. Oh he was on the podium - placed second that day, and 2nd-5th for the last ten years. But that was not enough.
It was very very clear this wasn't the first time. He's been around awhile. I hope by now you've realized that members of The Ten are frustrated that the same people keeping winning. Yeah, they are on the podium all the time, but all they care about is first place. Most are Nissies after all, but you have to admit... no matter what, most aren't going to win... and most never have. Those #1 spots are reserved.
I remember the year that the teachers who always win had to take five months off. So when the podium was announced for Classic at the larger event at the time, I half laughed and half teared up. I mostly felt ill. What had we become?
NO ONE up on that podium was happy. The winners? Who finally got to win for once? Went out to bow when their win was announced... and no one was cheering. The heads of the Church weren't up there... so why should they clap? And these weren't members of The Ten... so the definitely shouldn't clap! Who cares if they are world champions in ballroom and country? That means nothing in The Church!
I was so so embarrassed for this couple. To be so completely dissed and ignored by the entire ballroom upon winning. It made me squirm. But it didn't matter. They weren't happy either. They knew their win didn't mean anything.
And the other four couples on the podium? They weren't happy either - they all thought that they deserved the #1 spot now that the heads of the Church were gone. I turned to Nick and said, "wow - everyone up their looks extremely pissed." And they did. Good gravy. What a disturbing sight it was.

But back to this guys parents. As we walked away, hearing A feeling so bad and backed into a corner, all I could think was... Wow. This guys parents have been pushing for him? All this years? Really?!?! 

It really made me think. My parents? They introduced me to dancing... okay. But they've never seen me perform. They never attended the Open, despite it being less than an hour away, and they've never seen any of my routines. 

So, to think of my parents lobbying for me? They have NEVER lobbied for me - not in the slightest. Though it would've been nice if they'd showed up for even one of my performances, I would never have felt comfortable with them pushing the head of the WSDC to makes sure I place. Ew. Ew. Triple Ew!!!

So I tucked that little experience under my hat and moved on to other things that weekend. But I never forgot it.

Lately I've been thinking about this aspect again. It's begun rolling around in my head once more.  The "parents" angle... hmmm.

Do you know? Almost every member of The Ten has at least one parent backing them... mostly mothers? Heck, the head of the The Ten's mother works for a member of the Council - and has for the last ten years. Haven't you noticed the mom's following them around? And I wonder, when the other "kid" I mentioned in The Church piece is not hired or treated well, did you know their dad or mom places a direct phone call to chew them out? Or that they are at the Open to make sure they are respected correctly?

About a year ago a mother of one of the All-Stars emailed a really nasty, disturbing and raging note. She wasn't on my email list, and her daughter is doing very well in Abstract, so I left it alone. You can't talk a Church member out of their beliefs.

Then, exactly one year later, her daughter took off her shirt in a Jack & Jill and danced in her lace bra for her spotlight dance. Got points for it and everything.

I expect her mom was proud.

There are SO many stories surrounding the creation of The Ten and the WSDC and the Points... and I just can't believe now, looking back, how many parents were and still are, involved. And if it's not parents, it's uncles, nephew's, siblings, etc. If you don't see their parents at events,  you at least see them online or texting other dancers... making sure they travel, teach in their town, etc, etc, etc.

Mothers. Fathers. Lobbying for their kids. I guess that happens in other sports, but in our case, A listens, acts, and even talks down their competition to the judges.

Thank God my parents never put A in a corner and told her to make sure I got the No. 1 spot. I might have been a member of The Ten.

And that's just the scariest future I could imagine.

I am a lucky lucky girl.



Katherine Krok Eastvold | PO Box 61555 | Santa Barbara | CA | 93160