Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Lost In Translation

When you write 3,000 words on a topic that you have a 1,000-word limiton, sometimes the original meaning isn't going to come through clearlyin the wash. Especially when discussing a topic that generates such passion.

After re-reading yesterday's missive, there seems to be a disconnect between the meaning of "nothing" in my head and the meaning of"nothing" as it may be interpreted from the final product on the page.

I suppose that it's more important to look at the context. When Mr.Maday asked that question, I interpreted it as "What large scale, proactive and tangible things has OnGoal done to help the Cauldron grow?" (Yeah, I managed to parse all of that out in the half-second Ihad before answering...)

So many of the things that the Cauldron has done throughout the years have been of our own accord and in spite of the previous ownership group. Aside from the openness and willingness of OnGoal to accommodate us, the initiation has remained largely unchanged this year. From the scarves that we've done, the Man Of The Match scarves that are presented to the Wizards players, the t-shirts that you see on our members, the flags that hang from the railing in front of our section and flying in our section during the game, and the intricate tailgate (which is open to the public, by the way... Don't be scared, we don't bite.) put on before each game, all of that has come to fruition through the sweat and hard work - and in some cases considerable financial outlays - of the denizens of the Cauldron.

I certainly didn't mean to slight the many things that OnGoal has doneto help grow the Cauldron throughout the 2007 season. From the increased and improved marketing of the Wizards and the Cauldron experience to a college-age audience to the efforts to broker a deal for an appropriate level of self-policing in the Cauldron to their assistance with the flags that have recently made an appearance,OnGoal has indeed done considerably more than "nothing."Has the Cauldron received help from OnGoal? Yes, definitely... We couldn't have done some of the things that we have done without their help. We asked and were certainly pleased with the help that the newownership group has provided. And there are some things that theyhave done that we haven't taken full advantage of.

Do we appreciate it? Cautiously, I'll say that we appreciate it more than the people who are providing the help know. (Yes, we're a bitgun shy. After the missteps this year and several years of conditioning to expect the worst, it's only understandable.)The interest is there. The efforts have started. But if I were asked the question again, I still don't think I'd change my answer, and I hope you understand why.

This has been (again)
Baines Finicky Liver


Anonymous said...

why'd you back off some of your earlier points?

Anonymous said...

What is this? Did someone in the front office try to reach out and touch you and threaten to take away your beer if you didn't make nicer? Seems to me that the "nothing" was a rather true representation of how the denizens in the Cauldron feel mostly. I suppose the wordy explanation to make OnGoal feel warm and fuzzy was fine, but your original "nothing" was accurate.

Sam said...

There's a fundamental problem with terminology. If you mean "The Cauldron" as the section itself, then this FO has done a whole lot to promote it and help it grow.

If you mean "The Cauldron" as defined by the organized group of folks largely revolving around the tailgate, then the answer is back to "about the same as the old ownership".

Which is more than "nothing"...the CJ-era administration did work with the Cauldron in a variety of ways. A grill, some promotion, some access, and, most importantly, the carving out of an area inside the stadium where fans can stand and cheer.

The question is, what's the next thing to ask for? What's the help The Cauldron is looking for? And, most importantly, "What is 'The Cauldron'"?

I'm cool with critiquing the front office. I know I continue to do it internally as an employee. I just have a few suggestions.

Anonymous blogging is not the best way to affect change. People who send emails in or make phone calls get personal answers and their problems investigated. Progressive suggestions for perceived problems go a long way.

The part I really don't get the perceived need for anonymity with these criticisms. Ticket holders are customers. The Wizards are a business. The team isn't going to take your tickets away or not be nice to you if you complain. Season ticket holders complain *all the time*, and we do as much as we can to help them out. The paranoia doesn't project the image of a good partner.

The Cauldron is more than the tailgate, though that's certainly a big part of it that has only gone from strength to strength. It's more than a ticket section, too, though that has grown by leaps and bounds as well.

Just trying to help, because nobody has more emotionally invested in the success of the section as I do. The positive to negative ratio of things that have happened this year for the section is staggering. We had *500* people in the section Friday night! We were talking about 250 as a target for this year, and, together, we blew it out of the water. Let's build on that, not snipe. We'll have a lot of challenges to work on with moving into a new facility for next year and going on into the future.