Now the thing is, I know first hand what Ross has gone through and how and why this all came about. You see I have been there and done that myself with the same people. Calm down readers (for readers - read members in high places within a certain establishment which has grass you can't walk on without special shoes)I am not about to spill all on what happened with me, but I am about to write a wee opinion and as they say on the news when they do the football scores, if you don't want to know then look away now.
Anyway my point is this, this whole mess (and believe me it is a mess) could have been sorted out with just a smidgen of common sense and a sprinkling of intelligence.
The Club has had it's name dragged into the press. There's a whole load of Bloggers who have read the piece and are now typing away on their own Blogs about the Club and what the decision means for Bloggers. In addition the comments left about the article on the paper's website show a number of people who are in support of Ross and it seems a fair few of them seem to be members. So in effect the Club, in their decision to sack Ross rather than try to handle and discuss the matter in house, have only suceeded in their actions to draw even more attention to the Blog and to heighten Ross' stature as a Blogger. I'm sure his stat count will show a fair number of new hits to the site over these last few days...I know mine's has rocketed since my own sacking. In effect then the Club have only gone and made the matter a hell of a lot bigger and more public that it ever needed to be.
Let's take it a step further. There have been comments relating to the article which have pointed out that Bowling is indeed a subject which is openly ridiculed. That fact cannot be disputed. Two out of the four comments which were highlighted as being offensive referred not to individuals but to a satirical look at the world of bowling and the people who participate in it. Top comedians take the piss out of bowlers all the time. Tv programmes have comedy sketches relating to bowls....take our very own Scottish made Chewin' The Fat as an example. They have featured a series of sketches in the location of "Mosspark Bowling Club" which takes the piss out of not only the pomp and ceremony of bowling clubs but also the punters who play the game and I'll bet my ass that the very same people who have caused such a fuss over Ross' comments sit in front of their tv's with a grin on their face while they're watching thinking to themselves as they look at the characters "Oh he/she is like so and so". It's a basic fact that bowlers get slagged. Here's a wee bit of proof for you...The following is an extract from an online chat on the BBC Scotland website featuring Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill (stars and writers of Chewin' The Fat)...
Question from Ian Bowie: In your new series have you done any sketches involving Mosspark Bowling Club?
Ford: Naw, we've switched it for a new source of material - the golf club. Cos there's just as many a**holes there as in a bowling club.
So are we imediately assume that Ford will now be barred from all Bowling Clubs across the country? I think not. But what he's saying is there's loads of arseholes in Bowling Clubs is he not? Well yes but it's funny cause he's a funny guy. So to is Ross. Granted two of the comments were ill thought but the other two? Read them. They're actually very good descriptive bits of writing and not, to any one with an open mind or sense of humour, offensive.
Fred: I think I might take up bowls
Harry: Naw pal I wouldn't if I were you. It's very dangerous.
Fred: Dangerous? How is it dangerous?
Harry: Buggered if I know but it must be cause someone dies every other week.
It's a running gag isn't it? Thing is I know a lot of bowlers and they are all able to take a bit of banter and laugh at themselves. If only the beaks at the Club had been able to do the same... If indeed they find comments about the age of bowlers and their uniforms and their sport offensive then perhaps it's time to drag Bowling (kicking and screaming if need be) into the 21st century and show us all that the ridicule, comedy and comments are not justified. Sadly while the beaks that control the clubs continue to throw hissy fits and take offensive to every little thing the comedy value will remain. This Club had a great opportunity to show itself as a modern thinking, breath of fresh air but didn't want to know. Damn it , how 21st century would it have been to capitalise on Ross (or myself) being Bloggers and asking one of us to set one up for the Club? A totally interactive area for the members, where club news and events could have been posted. It could have been a great addition to what is frankly a dull and unintresting club website.
Of course let's not forget a few fundamentals. In losing Ross the Club have lost a good barman. A popular barman. One who always had a smile for the "old farts" and a compliment to the ladies. A barman who knew their drinks orders before they had to ask and who knew how they liked it served. They had an asset there whether they want to admit it or not.
And they've lost that. Like they've lost other good staff over petty things which they refused to acknowledge or change. If I cast my mind back, even to 2 years ago, it makes for a strange picture. Back then this Club had a body of staff who worked well together. A team of Bar Staff that any owner of a Public House would have been glad to have behind their bar. A team of Bar Staff who regularly received praise from visitors from other club's and words of thanks from their own customers. Now? Well I can't comment first hand but given the amount of people who make the comment "It's not the same without X, Y & Z behind the bar" I am assuming there's something lacking. It's just another example of a loss of asset to the Club through silly decisions.
The membership are a great bunch. They have a great Club there. They deserve not to see it splashed about the press and dragged to court but to be able to rely on those they elect to run it for them being ready, willing and able to make good judgement calls on their behalf. I fear some feel let down badly by events over the last year, regardless of the outcome of Ross' Tribunal and that's a shame.
What's more of a shame is the fact that some of those who made the decisions were once people who both Ross and I would have classed as friends. They were not just employers but people we'd have sat with and had a chat and a drink. Sadly there can be no happy ending. There can never be the day where Ross and I are back behind the bar. There could though be the chance of conciliation and a chance to put all this behind us. That though would require those who make the decisions to loosen their ties and be big enough to admit that enough is enough.
I can't see it happening somehow. Another opporchancity lost.