As we in the Tulsa-area try to dry out from what feels like the soggiest spring in a long time, the weather has forced me (at least temporarily) away from my beach volleyball duties and back indoors. So, when life give you lemons, make lemonade (as they say), so I'm taking the opportunity here to post about The OC and what I feel is the start of a new chapter for us.
The "First" Chapter
Since The OC was founded in 2016, I have had the privilege of serving as the original club director. A few factors led into me being the first to serve in this role, and I'll always remember being a bit overwhelmed before even "officially" beginning. It wasn't so much with feeling like I couldn't do a good job, but rather all of the needed pre-planning before we even started (we had to accelerate our timeline and needed projects to get the club started, all while in the middle of the high school volleyball season - I was the Varsity coach at Claremore at the time).
Since that first season, we've seen growth in so many areas:
the number of players participating in the club (now approaching 100)
the number of volleyball programs we offer (first was indoor girls, then beach volleyball, and now boys indoor and beach volleyball)
the number of coaches in our program (it's a true honor to work with them)
This past year was especially exciting and challenging for us, as we virtually doubled in almost all areas (# of teams, participants, staff members, practices, tournaments, etc.).
With that came some growing pains that any organization is likely to experience when they double in size. All-in-all, while I think that our club knows there are areas of improvement we can continue to work on (side note - our philosophy is that there is ALWAYS ways for us to improve), I know that we've put forth our best effort to make the experience for our members at The OC a positive one.
The "Next" Chapter
So this "next chapter" you keep hearing about.........the story is this......
I truly believe the success we've had is the result of a few things: (1) we have some GREAT people in our organization; (2) we've always tried to do the RIGHT thing, even when it's hard; (3) we've always tried to be HONEST with our members, even when that's hard too; and (4) the director (ahem....me), has been smart enough to let the great people in the organization do what they do best, and has put his faith in their abilities. The "team" concept, which volleyball coaches stress so much to players, is one we have always tried to practice as we've preached. It's a great way for our staff members to "talk the talk, then walk the walk" and set an example for players.
Now that The OC has laid most of the groundwork for their mission as a club, our administrative staff has elected to continue to further push the team concept. We're fortunate to have a great addition in Coach Abby Piha joining the club, both as a head coach and as a new member of the staff (she will serve as director of our girls indoor program). Her addition and new roles means a reduced role and responsibilities for another staff member, and that someone is yours truly.
To be honest, I'm really excited about my new role for a variety of reasons: (1) the new structure of our administrative staff continues to follow our goal of "letting people do what they do best"; (2) my new role, which puts beach volleyball program, as well as overall operations and long-term planning under my realm of responsibilities, will allow me an opportunity to perform those duties even better; and (3) .......
My time as club director has required several sacrifices, both from me as well as some other very important people (and, indirectly, those people are unsung contributors to The OC as well). The club director, as I've told several people, has been "a full-time job at a very part-time salary". The only reason I've been able to dedicate so many hours to the club is through the generosity and patience of my wife (Karen) and daughter (Holly). The heavy dose of nights and weekends the director's position has demanded has required me to sacrifice time I've been able to give them. Without their willingness to have me away from home all those evenings and weekends for the past 30+ months, I truly believe our club is at a different and less-impressive position. So, my reduced role means that I may get to really spend more time with my family (you may begin to pity them now in 3.....2.....1.....)
So.....what's really changing?
Good question, and I'm confident in my answer here. I think the biggest change you will see is in the overall quality of our club.
We've worked hard to put together the best club volleyball experience we can for all of our members, but starting anything from scratch normally means extra challenges, an unintentional mistake here and there, or the most frequent event - the unexpected things going wrong.
Going forward, The OC should be able to focus even more on areas where improvements are needed, and put our talented people to make positive and bigger impacts on the experience our members have. And, as we continue to add great people to our organization going forward, we'll have even more people in positions to "do what they do best", and that should mean great things in the next chapter.