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We ran into each other a few times after that and always reminded each other of that appointment. A time and place never materialized, but we finally found a time and place for the long-planned follow-up appointment.
Last time I was late for the appointment and this time the chairman was late for the appointment. His appointment before our appointment didn’t go as planned. The chairman was busy with one of the points of his plans for BNL: increasing the visibility of BNL. He had to give a speech at the 60th anniversary of a badminton club.
In the period between our two appointments, the chairman has not been idle. He has taken a lot of time for many conversations and meetings with people within the Dutch badminton country. Not only people within the association but also many people in the clubs.
Jan has a great, extensive and long history in Dutch badminton. He has been away from the Dutch badminton world for a while and had to orient himself all over again. Dutch badminton had changed a lot in his absence and in his eyes things were not going in the right direction with badminton in the Netherlands. Jan then took ample time to develop a vision, to make plans and to devise a route to realize those plans.
He is now developing the route he has devised together with the people within the organization (I think he means the federation office, the technical staff and the delegates). According to him, most people within the organization share the vision that things need to change. Only I don’t notice that yet as a normal member of badminton Netherlands. But according to Jan, that will soon all change. Soon there will be a bond meeting and then decisions will have to be made.
One of those knots that needs to be cut is Badminton Nederland is going to sell the badminton sport to the Netherlands. Will it market badminton as one of the healthiest sports in the Netherlands, or will they focus more on the social aspect of badminton? The chairman and I strongly disagree on this. I wonder if I was able to make the chairman doubt his opinion.
What the chairman and I quickly agree on is the performance of the Dutch teams during the 8 nations tournament and during the Dutch Junior tournament. That is far below the level that we both know from Dutch teams. The solution is obvious to both of us, but how to reach that solution is a longer and more complicated story. We also agree on that. It is now up to the chairman and the organization to develop a route to reduce the difference in level and to link up with the European top and to deploy it.
During the conversation it strikes me that this chairman spends a lot of time on Badminton Netherlands. He seems to be closer to the federation office (which he says has really hard-working people at it) than the previous chairmen and seems to be getting more cooperation than the previous chairmen.
Whether that is due to his background as a player, trainer and national coach or his background as a director, does not really matter. It’s about working well together and getting BNL in the right direction. In any case, there is no lack of a vision and plans from the chairman.
The previous conversation was an introductory meeting. This conversation was already a lot sharper. The chairman has lifted a number of tips from various veils, but he cannot say more (despite firm insistence on my part) because all this still has to be discussed and agreed in the bond meeting. If he achieves most of his plans, things will change in the long run.
It’s kind of the story of the whole big ship that has to change direction. That is not fast, it takes a while before the ship changes direction and so it will be with the changes within BNL. It will take some time before we, as ordinary members, notice the changes within BNL.
I have now received the chairman’s telephone number and a next appointment will now be arranged soon. And if he doesn’t get the plans he has now through the meeting, he can expect an even more spirited conversation.
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Article photo by René Lagerwaard