Support – Volunteer – Participate (Even with Two Left Feet)
September 6, 2012 § 3 Comments
If you have called, emailed or chatted with SignMeUp about online event registration any time in the last seven years, it’s likely you have conversed with me. I’m Katie, SignMeUp’s Customer Support Team Manager, and I have a couple of confessions that I want to share with you. First: I am a want-to-be athlete. I have spoken with thousands of event directors and athletes over the years, and I’ve heard some great stories about events and the amazing experiences people have at them. I always think, “that sounds like so much fun!” My other confession: I have two left feet. This isn’t a joke, it’s a fact. Walking my dog has sent me to the emergency room TWICE this year alone! The thought of running a race and tripping in front of hundreds of people isn’t that appealing to me. At least when I fall walking the dog, I know he won’t tell.
Things started to change for me after I had the opportunity to meet with some SignMeUp clients who put together Mudathlons around the Midwest. When I first heard about these events a few years ago, I thought to myself, “are you kidding me? People really run in the MUD??” I have a hard time walking in it let alone running in it. Still, something about the concept intrigued me. As it turns out, one of the Mudathlons was going to be held a couple of towns away from me. I decided to go and see what it was all about. I mentioned the plan to my manager, Diane Goldring Nesbitt, and she suggested that I offer to help at the event. I thought, “what a GREAT idea!” So I did.
When I arrived event morning, I was astonished to see it was like a giant fair! There were hay rides from the parking lot to the event, booths everywhere, music playing over loudspeakers. And there were people, lots of people, of all ages, laughing and having fun. Participants dressed in costumes, and almost everyone had mud smeared on their faces – before the race even started! The more time I spent there the more fun I had. Then it dawned on me – this is a race that even I can do! It’s expected that you will fall; it’s part of the fun! I wouldn’t stand out in the crowd as the person who fell, I would just be one of the many that do. As more and more people visited the booth where I was working and related their experiences, the more I was hooked. As I drove home, I called my daughter (who unfortunately has inherited my two left feet) and told her all about it. Even she got excited and that was it. We decided that yes, next year we will be there again, but as participants!
Event organizers, I understand that it’s often difficult to recruit event volunteers. Perhaps you could share my tale with others. Volunteering allows “want-to-be” athletes like me the opportunity to be part of the fun. And who knows, your event may just be the one that turns a “want- to-be” into an “I am” an athlete.
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