Back to the Future: Can we revive Bob Fine’s spirit of democracy?

First issue of NMN.

Page 1 of first issue of NMN.

The late Bob Fine was chair of the AAU Masters T&F Committee and wrote the first WAVA Constitution. He also edited the first issues of National Masters News. One of his goals was promoting masters democracy. In the very first issue of NMN (see Page 1 in PDF), he asked whether masters athletes wanted a single committee or one split between track and LDR. The split view eventually prevailed, but it took individual votes into account. And not just from delegates who attended an annual meeting. He sought ideas from anyone with access to the National Masters Newsletter (as it was called). A project underwritten by the USATF Masters T&F Committee has begun — posting every page of every issue of early National Masters News. As I commence scanning thousands of pages of NMN from 1977 to sometime in the early 2000s — for later posting on USATF-underwritten mastershistory.org — I’m struck by the courage it took for masters leaders like Fine to involve every adult age-group athlete, not just the ones able to attend conventions. Bob in 1977 would have loved an online vote. But that doesn’t keep us from developing such systems. Why can’t USATF masters track reach out to membership? Surveys and elections are conducted around the world this way. What’s stopping us?
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January 22, 2014

2 Responses

  1. Bob White - January 23, 2014

    Ken, I second your thought that more can be done to engage the rank-and-file. You and NMN are doing that with access to information; USATF can and should do that for some of the more important things that require votes.

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