Sport as metaphor


John Walmsley

Since being invited to be the next chair of BaseballSoftballUK I have been doing a lot of thinking about what the next few years ahead will entail. I do not formally take over from Geof Ellingham for another couple of weeks, at the annual general meeting, but it has not stopped me preparing. Let’s say I am in the on-deck circle.

Listening to G20 speeches last week David Cameron extolled eurozone leaders to “step up to the plate”. I wonder if at that moment Mr Cameron consciously knew the origin of what he was saying.

I am sure many involved in British baseball and softball are like me, with an ear tuned for everyday references to our sports whether on television or radio or in other media. I suspect that for most people it simply passes them by – almost like a well-pitched curveball.

The following was posted by Liam Carroll a few days ago, “coaches can influence a game by giving signs and so on but ultimately the players are the ones who must execute”.  Which brings me to the sports metaphor at the heart of the administration and governance of BSUK. In considering my role as chair, and those of my fellow non-executive directors on the BSUK board, we might perhaps be seen as coaches. The players would be the executives, the management and the staff out on the field in various positions, each with positional responsibility and accountability. As coaches we need to ensure the team is well prepared, trained, and equipped to fulfil its mission. As chair and non-executive directors we cannot play the game for them, but we can be strong and vocal supporters as well as setting direction and recalibrating the compass from time to time.

I am genuinely excited about the years ahead for BSUK. The team has seized opportunities and risen to challenges over the last decade, and I am sure this will continue. Under Geof’s stewardship BSUK is punching above its weight among all organised sports, and certainly in relation to its major funder Sport England. Mindful of not slipping from metaphor into cliché, I am pleased to be taking the baton from Geof for the next leg.

I welcome .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) within and outside the sports who have a passion for what BSUK is about and wish to contribute in helping write the next chapter.

Best regards

tagged under: chair, john walmsley, geof ellingham, board

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About John Walmsley

John Walmsley

John was chair of BaseballSoftballUK from 2011 to 2017, a non-executive directorship. He is a past-secretary of the British Baseball Federation (2007-09) and past-president at Richmond Baseball and Softball Club (2006-10), in Surrey. John enjoys coaching and developing people, both in sport and in business. John and his partner Robyn split their time between Surrey and Lancashire. John is an executive with a global consulting and technology company, where he focuses on the commercial management of large-scale engagements.

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