Sadly, I feel the need to state that right now.
Next, I have to state that I really love drill. I LOVE RIDING DRILL. Drill is SO much fun when things go right.
Unfortunately, things can go so, so wrong.
If I could repeat the glory days of my first couple years of drill every year, I'd only be drilling. No reining or cutting for me. I'd be perfectly happy.
But somehow my team has morphed into some sort of drama central full of bickering kindergartners. I really, honestly felt like I was back in grade school tonight at a team meeting.
For the record I also must state that my coach is absolutely awesome and probably a saint. I guess she'd have to be to put up with all of us as much as she does and I know I only see a fraction of the drama that she deals with.
We had a round table discussion tonight in an attempt to air out some feelings with the hope of getting past some of the drama. Members were asked to talk about how they are feeling about things, both good and bad, and then any helpful suggestions or constructive criticism that might help get us back on track.
There were comments along the lines of people not talking to particular people while we're warming up, so that obviously means that they don't like them. Seriously? Just because I don't talk to you doesn't mean that I don't like you. Sometimes it does, but usually it just means that I'm enjoying being on my horse (or really pissed off at her and concentrating!) and just don't feel like gossiping. One of my very good friends is on the team. I do usually manage to at least say hi at some point, but I'm sure there have been times that we've gone entire practices without speaking. It doesn't mean I'm mad at her. It just means I didn't get the opportunity to chit chat because I was otherwise occupied. The end. We're adults and secure enough to not need that interaction every single time.
My favorite comment on this point was the person that argued that she's concentrating on warming up her horse so others shouldn't take offense if she doesn't say hi, then two sentences later whined about how she feels like she's ostrasized and no one wants her to be part of the team. Wow.
There was the suggestion (again) of making some sort of seating chart at meetings or assigning people different partners to ride with during practice so we can all get to know each other, not just stay in our cliques. Again...seriously? A seating chart? Assigned partners?!? I haven't had a seating chart since I was in junior high! We generally end up randomly spread out and riding with different people throughout the practice and in our drills anyways. If you want to make friends, go make friends. Don't wait for a seating chart to tell you who you need to talk to today.
There were tantrums thrown and personal attacks made, broad ambiguous statements made that people took as personal attacks and of course bickering, though that was mostly moderated. It was ridiculous and made me realize why I just can't seem to get motivated to get my ass off the couch on Sunday afternoons to go to drill practice. I'm only an associate member this year so I don't have an assigned spot in the drills and don't feel obligated to go. If I had a spot and knew people were counting on me, I'd be there with bells on.
Can't always promise a smile on my face though.
I love my team. I work my butt off for my team. When I am at anything having to do with drill I'm there 110% for my team. I make absolutely sure I am ready to go and on time. I volunteer to do things for the team and make sure I get them done to the best of my ability. I am conscious of the fact that at competitions and drill functions I represent my team and make a point of smiling, saying good luck to passing teams and making sure I don't do anything that would make my coach or any of my team members embarrassed to wear the same team shirt as me. My coach is very involved in the area associations and I believe one of her main goals at drill functions is to try to bridge the gaps between teams. I'm not outgoing by any stretch of the imagination, but I try because it's the way I believe my coach wants our team to be.
I also don't throw tantrums or play the blame game. You can't. It's just not productive. Or healthy. I want to win as much as the next person, but blaming other people for the team's short comings doesn't get you any where. All you can do is take responsibility for yourself and figure out if there is anything you could be doing differently to make it easier for other people to be correct. Or talk to them, adult to adult, about the issue. No yelling, no tantrums, no blaming. Take responsibility for your part and don't get defensive.
There are people on my team that throw tantrums. Big ones. They give the silent treatment. They stomp off (or ride off if they're mounted). They slam doors. They rip their horse around for no good reason. They send out mass emails to the team arguing and denying any responsibility or wrong-doing. They tell the teacher...er...coach. There are people worried about cliques and whether this person likes me or that person picks on me.
I absolutely cannot stand the drama. I'm an adult. I am on the drill team because it's a blast to ride and gets me on my horse. A lot. I do enjoy the camaraderie that comes with being on a team. I have extremely fond memories from my first year drilling of team meetings at the end of the day with a pitcher of margaritas and lots of laughter and good times. But I don't need or want to be every one's best friend. There are certainly some people on the team that I'd rather avoid. As long as they make an effort, are prepared and on time and don't cause drama I will absolutely respect them as a teammate. Regardless of their horse's breeding, their riding skills, how nice their rig is or whether I like them on a personal level. I think that is all you can ask of people when you have a large group spending that much time together in a competitive setting.
I just want to have a good time, enjoy my horse and hopefully kick some butt while we're there! Why do people have to make it so difficult?!?