Thursday, 28 August 2008

I Am the Walrus

Posted by speedygeoff on Thursday, August 28, 2008 with 6 comments
"I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.
"See how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they fly."

Until today, no-one knew what the words to “I am the Walrus” meant! Now I can reveal all, it is about us, the speedygeese – see how they run see how they fly!! Hang on, pigs from a gun? Sorry, it appears to be about speedypigs. Not us at all, some other fast running group.

Semolina Pilchard

Dunrossil Drive, running a 4.2k, me & Lynne

Elementary penguin

Whether we call ourselves pigs, penguins, or geese, we all enjoy outdoor activity!

Now to the “debate”: Are we Masters or are we Veterans? My personal view.

The loudest opposition to our name change comes from about four people inside the ACTVAC, while there is universal acceptance from outside the club. This is good, because the name change is all about promotion, recruitment, community recognition.

The loudest complaints (from these four) say that the club should continue to exist as it is for the sake of the oldest members of the club who set it up this way; that people might confuse us with the Masters Games, an organisation with which we want no part, and the word “Masters” means “male” so is anti-female.

(a) The notion that the word “Masters” is sexist is nonsense, “Masters” has many meanings and to pretend otherwise is really just ignorance or stupidity.

(b) The notion that there is something evil about the Masters Games is also nonsense. While the standard of athletics in Masters Games events is not always as high as in our Masters events, Masters Games are generally good fun and worth attending. But whatever one’s opinion of Masters Games, we have no affiliation nor connection with them, and any discussion about us becoming part of the Masters Games is simply irrelevant.

(c) The suggestion that Masters Athletics should really be for people much older than 30 (and therefore why should we want to attract more younger members) is a suggestion I find insulting and not worth debating.

So re-iterating why we need to change our name from Veterans to Masters.

(a) In making the change, we become, in the eyes of non-members, part of the larger Masters movement, which has wide acceptance and recognition. Were we to stay as Veterans, we risk being marginalised and seen by the world at large as an inward looking self sufficient group happily doing our own thing.

(b) Masters is the recognised name; anyone at all who does not know us and is wanting to connect to Masters or seeks to join us would not be sure who the “Vets” actually are. Remember that our national body to whom we ARE affiliated, and ALL the state bodies who are also affiliated, moved to “Masters” some time ago and it is only we who decided to stay as we were. These state bodies include the ones who like us opposed the change originally, but when the change to AMA was made, did the sensible thing and changed their own names in line with everyone else.

(c) Because we recognise that 30 year olds and over are part of our club and value them as much, equally with, 70 year olds, we need to have an identity that is contemporary, not one that only dwells in the past. Names are important. And a name that identifies us these days as “quirky” or “anachronistic” may not be a good choice. “Masters” is the only option now.

I don’t think anyone has suggested that we are just after “numbers” but I still want to make it clear that we are not after “numbers”, it is people from the community who we are seeking and who we wish to see involved in our sport. We do have a “wonderful product”, as our first President Peter Frylink quoted, and we do want to share this with as many people as possible.

When people get to Masters age, they might consider giving up sport for other things. We would like the people of our nation at thirty and beyond to take up sport, or continue with sport, and develop their skills and fitness so as to become happier and healthier citizens the longer they participate. Masters Sport, and within that Masters Athletics, is the perfect place for that to happen. It is not just for us who are already in it; it is for them too who are not yet part of it.

To make it clear who we are, the name “ACT MASTERS ATHLETIC CLUB INC.” should do the trick. ACTVAC becomes ACTMAC. Almost the same. Any problem with that? Work on changes to our constitution, to be put to next May’s AGM, will almost certainly proceed. And “only the name will change”.

I am the eggman... they are the eggmen...

ACTVAC Life Member and founding Secretary Ken Daniels awarding me the Vets Handicap trophy back in 1999, at Fadden Pines. Good egg, that Ken! Read HIS take on "Masters" in the September Vetrunner, now available for download.


  1. "Veteran" also means military - and you want to be runners, not soldiers.

    And old. :-)

    As a non-male, only-just-over-30 (haha), I'd be happy to join a "masters" club.

    go for it...

  2. Yes, it has been a very long time since we had a war, veterans are getting older and older. "My Grandfather was a Veteran". Of course, "veteran" has other meanings, just as "master" does, but usage of both words has changed over time.

  3. 'Master' sounds like you are good at it ... which you all are :)

  4. "Masters" of the universe, unite! We are the masters of our destiny!! I think your words say it all - ACT Masters Athletics - fantastic - we will stand tall and be counted (even though I'm only 5'3"!!)- so much better than Vets! And even though it's only a name change it will make such a difference to people's perspective of us.

  5. I'm a master of my domain :)

  6. But your domain is "blogspot"! You're not master of that!

    Keep it clean, Ewen.