Charity, sports shouldn't conflict

September 23, 2004|by TIM ROWLAND

Washington County's government recently rejected a request for a new, $42,000 position that would have coordinated volunteer ambulance companies countywide. With the money they saved, they have the funds in place to create a new, urgently needed position which would actually go a long way toward solving a number of serious problems in this growing county.

That position would be the Director of Insuring that Various Operations of Fund-Raising Charities do not Encroach.

Specifically, this new office would work toward the humanitarian goal of preventing local charities from holding fund-raisers, banquets and other affairs on days that conflict with major sporting events.

Why do I bring this up? Oh, no reason.

Although in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention in passing that a Habitat for Humanity picnic last weekend just so happened to be at the exact same time as the Maryland-WVU football game, not that I'm bitter.


If Washington County were to hire a Director of Insuring that Various Operations of Fund-Raising Charities do not Encroach (DIVORCE) this never would have been an issue. This is because all major sporting events would be plugged into a county database, which would be accessible to all charitable organizations. So if the local branch of the Anti-Scurvy League had been planning a basket bingo night on Sept. 10, it would have instantly realized that it would conflict with Miami-Florida State and made other arrangements.

This would truly be a win-win for everyone involved. First, it would be of great assistance to the charities themselves. Think of how much greater the attendance would be and how much more money they would raise from all the husbands who would otherwise refuse to show up if the event were held on the same afternoon as Redskins-Cowboys.

Second, it would save lots of family strife. In the case of the Habitat picnic, the day after I returned from a trip up north, the Florence Nightingale in High Heels began the conversation with a coy little giggle and the pronouncement: "You're going to hate me."

I have come to learn that when she says something like that, she is very seldom wrong.

"Oh?" I said warily.

"We're going to a Habitat appreciation picnic at noon on Saturday."



"Well here's the thing about that. I would love to - hate to miss out on the potato salad and all, but Maryland-West Virginia is at noon, so pass along my regrets to Jimmy Carter."

"Then we have a problem."

"No, we don't have a problem, you have a problem. I'm watching football."

"But I already told them you were coming."

"You did what now?"

"It's only for a couple of hours."

"Great. If the game goes into overtime I'll be front and center for the coin toss."

"But when I go to these things and you're not with me, everyone always comes up and asks where you are."

"So put it on your name tag: "Hi My Name is Andrea. Tim is Watching Football."

"But you don't want people to think that you're heartless."

"I don't care if people think I'm Simon Legree. It has nothing to do with heart, it's just that this may be West Virginia's biggest game of the season and I don't want to miss it. Look, a man can only be so strong. If Scrooge had had ESPN, Tiny Tim would still be eating boiled rat on Christmas; it's not pretty, bit those are the facts."

"I could record the game for you."

"Absolutely not, and here's why. If I tape Maryland-WVU and watch it after I get back, that means I'll miss Ohio State-North-Carolina State, unless I tape that, too. But if I do that, then I miss LSU-Auburn, which I could tape, but that would mean missing Tennessee-Florida, not to mention failing to be able to flip over to Yankees-Red Sox during commercials. So you can see the bind that I'm in.

"Believe me, this is harder on me than it is on you. So I'm sorry, I would really like to make an appearance, but this is one of those times that a man just has to put his pants down and show who wears the foot in the family - I mean - well, you know what I mean. I'm watching football. End of discussion."

So you can pretty much guess how this all came out. On the up side, the potato salad was delicious.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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