Let's Do Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth

Richard Hunkler, PhD.
Water Polo Planet

What a nice gift from the USAWP CEO Chris Ramsey. He is going to write a column called “Ask Chris: Questions & Answers with the CEO of USA Water Polo”. He is finally going to answer questions from the members of the USAWP. Or is he really going to “ANSWER THE QUESTIONS”? You will note after 30 days and 24 questions he answered only those questions in the list of 24 that make him and the USAWP look good. However it doesn’t appear as if he is going to answer the really tough ones such as the following questions:

Are we going to be able to see the list of questions that the members send Chris or is he going to be able to pick and chose which questions he wants to answer similar to what he did in the first edition of “Ask Chris”. If this is so then his answers will be nothing but cotton candy for the true believers of Chris.

Also how often is Chris going to answer questions – every day, every week, every month, or every year? In his first addition of “Ask Chris” he never mentions a time line for either questions or answers. Why is that so important Doc? Well, I am going to tell you why.

A couple of years ago when the Water Polo Planet: the Alternative Voice braced Chris for not communicating enough with the USAWP membership, he said he would send regular open ended letters on the USAWP web site to the USAWP members (sound familiar). Believe it or not in the beginning the WPP were cheerleaders for Chris and we tried to be an alternative, outside voice to him to no avail. Back to the saga of the regular open letters to the membership. If I am not mistaken Chris posted ONE open letter to the membership. It might have been TWO open ended letters but not more than two. As soon as we quit bugging Chris about communicating with the USAWP members, he quit writing open ended letters.

Maybe we at the WPP were not vigilant enough and that is the reason he stopped communicating with the USAWP membership again. Or maybe Chris is a slow learner. I don’t know if he is or not but I tell you what I do know and that is there is an old saying that my Daddy taught me and it goes like this, “Fool me once and it is smarty you; fool me twice and it is dummy me”. Do we really need or want a CEO in which we have to hold his feet to the fire to get him to do the right thing?

Chris Ramsey the CEO of the USAWP had to be braced by the WPP about his lack of communication to get him to write at least one open letter to the membership and I had to write two articles about answering questions to get him to start his new column, “Ask Chris”. Remember what Chris said in his initial email to me “that prior to my article he and Mike Graff had planned to do a conference call with me”. I wonder if “prior to my two articles” he had planned to start, “Ask Chris”.

All this goes to show is that Chris Ramsey is a reactive rather than a proactive person and at this point in time we need someone as the CEO of USAWP who is proactive. We need someone who can stay in front of issues that might cause the USAWP harm so he or she can solve them and in front of those issues that will do the USAWP a great amount of good so he and she can capitalize on them. This person needs to be a creator and a doer and not an imitator or a procrastinator. We absolutely don’t need someone who is so far behind the issues that he or she has to spend half of his or her time creating excuses and/or bandages for the miscalculated or bad things that have happened on his or her watch.

Also the turnover in office staff tells me that Chris is not a good manager of people or a very good leader. At this point in time the USAWP needs a proactive person who has good “people” and “communication” skills and who can not only manage his staff well but who can also inspire them. Moreover, at one time Educators thought they could solve all their problems by throwing money at them but it didn’t happen. Chris has to realize that all his problems can’t be solved by hiring more and more staff. If he continues to believe this then he had better start singing, “I believe in magic”.

It has been said that the US Mercury 7 astronauts had the “Right Stuff”. I thought when Chris started as CEO he had the right stuff but somewhere along the way he lost it. I imagine being the first CEO of the USAWP is similar to being one of those first astronauts because of all the unknown factors. It is a shame that much of the training for the CEO of the USAWP had to be on the job training. But similar to a good player or a good coach a good CEO has to learn to be flexible and to adapt to the circumstance in which he or she finds his or herself. I don’t think Chris Ramsey has done this or is capable of doing this. Of course these or just my opinions, and your opinion might be contrary to mine. You may think he can walk on water or he can electrify a room when he talks. But in either case don’t you think it is time the rank and file of the USAWP should have a chance to vote either for or against Chris Ramsey as CEO. I say we should either give Chris a pat on the back and say job well done or we should give him a pat on the butt and say, thanks but no thanks, goodbye. Finally, sometimes you have to look a gift horse in the mouth because if you don’t you might not find out from the teeth of the matter that even though the exterior of the horse looks good it still might not have the speed to keep up with the big boys or girls.

Should Chris Ramsey stay or go as the CEO for the USAWP.
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