The Stampede #1: Notes from the President.
The Stampede is a fortnightly series of updates from our president, David Bartlett.
Well, I can’t quite believe it – by the time the final whistle blows next week we will have played half of our entire regular home season. It has been a blast.
And that date will also mark about eight months since I was invited by the new Chargers Board to become President of this great club. To say it has been a whirlwind, wild ride is to massively understate it.
Last week at the game I said to one of our key sponsors “I haven’t been this stressed or this busy since I was Premier of the state….”
To which he very quickly responded: “Well that’s good, it means that this must mean something!”
That thought stuck with me and I have decided he was right. It does mean something. To the outsider it might just look like a couple of games of basketball played every couple of weeks. But to us; the fans, the supporters, the volunteers, the sponsors, the players, the coaches and all of our families: it means something much bigger than that.
Over these last eight months I have watched a club pick itself up off the ground and turn itself around. From close to $100,000 in debt and what seemed like few options to go forward we have, through the sheer hard work, dreams and passion of dozens of club stalwarts and newcomers alike, picked ourselves up, re-engaged our community, massively paid down our debt, rewarded our sponsors and put two great winning teams on court in a great stadium.
I think the whole of southern Tasmania – whether they have been to a game yet or not – is watching and is building pride in what a community and volunteer run club can do.
And of course, just five home games in, this is only the beginning of what we can achieve together. We have a three-year plan to be strong on the court, strong in the community, strong on the balance sheet and strong for the future. We have laid a great foundation for this but there is much more to be done.
This year alone some 8,000 young Tasmanians will engage in clinics and camps run by Chargers players. That work – although hard and sometimes costly – will lay a foundation for the Chargers and the whole basketball community for the future.
Of course, we have not solved all of our financial challenges yet – but with game night at the DEC proving to make a solid contribution to our revenue we are headed in the right direction.
And of course we have seen already what our two great teams can do on the court. I am confident both of them will be there in August playing finals basketball and we will be right behind them.
Finally then, I know there are dozens of people that could and should be acknowledged for their contribution. Every game night I see the Menadues ushering people to their seats, I see the Van de Kamp family selling merchandise, I see board members and volunteers working hard to make everything run smoothly. Every Game Night I see Mykal Salter helping set up and pack up, I see Ronnel Riggs diligently putting together great footage and interviews that we all enjoy so much and I see Jason Green (well often I don’t see him because he is obscured by a giant Rhino head!) giving great joy to the kids following him around the court.
These are the people and dozens more like them who make the journey joyful and rewarding for me. Someone smart once said: the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams – I believe the future most definitely belongs to the Chargers.