Team Work

Division of Labour
Probably none of us would consider orienteering a team sport. We like to think of ourselves as independent, self-sufficient, able to survive on our own in harsh conditions. Mild eccentricity is tolerated; expected, even, if we think of the stereotypical orienteer. But at heart it is a team sport, in the sense of teamwork rather than in, say, the football sense.

I have heard it said, in the context of children’s sports, that the two teams are not enemies or rivals, but partners: without the other team there could be no game. This is true in orienteering where, without the other clubs, none of us would get very many competitions. It is even more true at the level of the IOA Executive, where the team pulls the sport through and drives orienteering forward.

What do the IOA do, you may wonder. Without their administrative and coordinating role, we could not be members of the International Orienteering Federation and could not run in international competitions; we would have no insurance; no co-ordinated fixtures list; no Sports Council funding for development or coaching. In short, without the IOA we would be back to the beginning of orienteering here.

And who are these people who keep the sport going: the Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and so on? They are ordinary orienteers like you and me, with jobs to do during the day; volunteers with other things to do as well as devote time to their (our) sport. Surprisingly, two of the jobs on the executive remain unfilled since last year’s AGM. We have no Development Officer and no Honorary Secretary, while the Chairman also serves as the Mapping Officer. A welcome development, however, is the appointment of GEN’s Aine Joyce as the IOA administrative assistant.
Even more surprisingly, the 9 jobs on the executive are filled by members of just 5 clubs. There are benefits to be gained for your club by having representatives on the IOA, even though they are there to serve the sport as a whole and not their club constituents. Why don’t more clubs put their members forward to the Executive?

The IOA Executive committee now has 11 positions, 8 of which are filled
by Leinster clubs, one by a Munster club and two positions are vacant.
Though they have been very involved in IOA in the past, te two biggest clubs in Munster, for instance, currently have nobody on the IOA Executive Committee and have not had any for some time. Similarly for other active clubs in other ares. A relatively small club, Ajax, has three members filling four spots on the Executive.
So the (small) Leinster clubs do most of the administration and clubs
countrywide get the benefit. Or viewed another way: why should Leinster
do all the work? Is this right? Another view is that there are advantages for your club to being involved in the IOA: you can influence policy; you can avail of various initiatives that other clubs might not bother with; you can hear about opportunities and make international contacts.

Whichever view you subscribe to, there is an opportunity there for the taking: your sport needs you. (The IOA AGM is usually on during the Irish Championships at the beginning of May).