New Jersey Woman Organizes Drive to Help U.S. Skaters Make It to the World Championships
Martha Polston is a skate mom ... has been ever since her son Zack joined the Frenchtown Speed skating team in Frenchtown, New Jersey, two years ago.
She doesn't skate herself. But to help her sons (her son Matt is now also a skater), she reads everything she can about inline speed skating.
She also trolls the digital world for information. And that's how she happened upon the Hyper Bulletin Board, an Internet forum popular with speed skaters (especially of the indoor variety.)
Reading through the Hyper Board one day, Polston came upon a post that "broke my heart," she says.
It was written by a mom who didn't know how she was going to tell her son -- a top, young U.S. skater -- that he wouldn't be able to go to World Championships if he made the team this year.
The problem was money.
USA Roller Sports, the nation's governing body for speed skating, had announced a few months earlier that it didn't have the funds to send athletes to this year's World Championships in Suzhou, China.
That meant that World Team members -- unless they had sponsors with deep pockets (few do) -- would have to pay their own way, at a cost of $3500 a piece.
As a result, many of them were reluctantly planning to stay home.
"I was outraged," Polston says. "I realized that we werent sending the best to represent the USA, we were sending the best-qualified who could afford to go."
Fortunately, Polston did more than fume.
One day on the Hyper board, she noticed a post by Annie Peck, a teenage member of the Frenchtown Speed team.
Annie suggested that skaters publish a skater calendar to raise money for the World Team. "Everybody knows skaters have great bodies -- and some even have nice faces," she wrote. So why not?
Polston liked the idea and decided to use her expertise as a process manager, gained during a career as a research library manager for AT&T, to get the project going.
"There are standard steps you take when managing a project," she says.
"First you gather a team. Then you brainstorm to determine what physical things you need. Then you network to figure out how to get those things."
And that's what Polston did.
First, she posted a note on the Hyper Board inviting readers to send her an email if they wanted to join the project.
The results were a little disappointing.
(continued ... )
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Copyright © 2005 by Robert Burnson
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Help the World Team:
Here's the Send the Best to Worlds web site, where you can buy the World Team calendars, posters and trading cards
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