18 months ago, I spoke out against my then local club.
At the time I was on the committee and frankly was getting stuff done. Communications were fast and bridges were being built into the community as a small band of club members, actively tried to engage with new potential members and attendees of the show that club puts on.
We were featured in the press and on the radio, and what's more we also sought to bring back some of those whom, it seemed had become disenfranchised. We even got a few junior members and it was frankly looking good.
And then I opened my mouth and maybe, somewhat without guile aired a few points which were frankly pissing me off, in a private social media group consisting of other gamers of long acquaintance as well as a couple considered to be 'worth keeping an eye on'.
Sure enough, the shit hit the fan and the rest is history. I vacated my position and there was some rather toxic rhetoric bandied about including a really awful mail from a long term member who stated I was this, that and the other in no uncertain terms.
One particularly humorous moment came at the AGM last year when one chap suggested a censure of me, essentially a removal. This came on the back of the statement by the same person who sent the offensive email that if they were in power I'd be out on my ear.
Now, I think that when you get to the point that speaking your mind about stuff gets to that stage, you are better off on the outside. Moreover, when you have folks saying things like:
'We don't want to encourage kids, because the only time we suffered thefts at a show, it was kids.' (Absolute bollocks by the way)
'Traders are idiots.'
'We don't want fantasy really, because this is a proper wargames show.'
You don't want to be around to be used as a scapegoat.
I remember that when we had the local press in, the previous Junta blackballed the interview. Then, at the end of the year came around with the AGM, out they came claiming the credit and what's more receiving it to stop them throwing a wobbler.
Maintaining the status quo is one thing but pandering to folk lest they jump up and down and call you names, is another. It's all about power and little fiefdoms... Rather like wargaming when you come to think of it.
Anyway, 18 months down the line and my whole outlook has changed. Toy soldiers don't hold me in the way that they had done for over 3 decades, and although the transition and realisation that friends were actually nothing of the sort was a painful one, it's been for the best in the end. I had to laugh when I was offered tickets for the show this year, recalling as I refused them, conversations about hypocrisy back at the start of things.
Perhaps they were offered in all goodwill, but - and call me suspicious if you will - you can bet I'd be getting called a hypocrite myself had I taken them.
Ah well, it's getting late as I write, and I want to get some work done on my model railway layouts before bed...