NIST 2003

Gregory Lewin
glewin@bluefieldspulse.com

Sept. 5-Congratulation to Nicarao New York softball team for winning the 2003 NIST championship held in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The championship did not come easy because the official short stop for Nicarao, Mr. Marlon Cash, fractured his leg and had to undergo surgery. We wish Marlon a speedy recovery. 

The 2003 NIST was well put together but there was controversy.

1. The Friday meeting, where ground rules and other important issues are discussed, was held at the party hall with music blasting in the background along with the echoes of friends greeting each other. It was impossible for anyone to decipher exactly what was being discussed in that kind of environment. Let's hope that next year’ host has learned from these mistakes and know where not to have an important meeting. Guests and participating teams stayed at the Marriott Springhill Suites but someone failed to reserve the conference room for the meeting. 

2. The umpires were not invited to the meeting and therefore ignored any official internal NIST rules discussed in the meeting. We can't blame the ASA umpires because they were not aware of the internal NIST rules agreed upon. 

3. The schedules were not ready until the night of the meeting causing team leaders to scramble and call their players to let them know what time the games were starting. And as always, rosters were not turned in on time. 

Besides the controversies and shortcomings of the host team, it was wonderful to see friends greeting and hugging each other. The vendors, I am sure, were quite happy with the turn out because they sold out both days. 

Back to controversies!

As if the host team did not hear of the protest in Friday’s meeting about the meeting location, Monday's meeting, traditionally held after the tournament to discuss who will be the host the next year, was held in a room registered to Mr. Kennedy. A few representatives and board members were able to sit on a couch while the others sat either on the bed or the hotel floor. You would think that after Friday night’ fiasco that the host team would at least try to reserve a conference room. After all, a new election was being held to either re-elect David Hodgson as president or elect a new president. 

It was decided in the meeting that the 2004 tournament would be held in Los Angeles, CA with "The Bully's” as the host team. However, this may not be the case if Rene Brooks Sr. has it his way. He proposed that teams in their respective states should work together when the tournament is in their state in contrast to what took place last year in Miami when only Atlantic (Mr. Leban) and Bluefields Miami (Mr. Adalbert Johnson) hosted the tournament without the Old Bank Stars. Mr. Steve Hooker, manager of the Old Bank Stars quickly opposed the idea citing last year tournament. 

The rotation has the 2006 tournament in Miami with the Old Bank Stars as host. Mr. Brooks also believes that a host team can and should be able to take a tournament out of its state (as they did this year and take it to whatever state they see fit.) Other members saw it differently. They stated that if a team is unable to host the tournament in its state then the team should simply forfeit its term. After all, the tournament was created so teams could travel to different states to enjoy a vacation meeting family and friends. I truly don't think Mr. Brook's idea will work. Is he suggesting that a host team could host the tournament in Alaska? I guess this point is one to be voted on too. 

Another issue that was brought up in the meeting was one that I raised. I ask if there was a bank account for the NIST. The response was no, which brought up the next question. Is there any intent to open one so that the organization could have a better accounting system and show where the money goes? Many endorsed the motion and even suggested that the organization file for non-profit status. Mr. Steve Hooker raised many other important issues such as:

1. Submission of rosters 30 days and final roster 3 weeks prior to the tournament. If not the team should not participate.

2.  Schedule must be given to teams in a timely manner not the Friday before game day.

3. The Bully's organization proposed that all teams pay the inscription fee regardless of whether they participate in the tournament or not. 

4. Marlon Thomas from Cayman Island's Nicaribe suggested the tournament be more family oriented. He was also the only individual in the meeting who donated $40.00 toward the shipment of 3 containers to Bluefields loaded with hospital beds, mattresses, table, curtains etc. The shipment of these containers is a project of SLC INC. to improve the regional hospital and clinics in the communities. 

Dave Hodgson, Steve Hooker, Mr. Leban, and Mr. Vernon Hodgson were nominated for the presidency of the NIST with Mr. Vernon Hodgson emerging as the winner. The NIST now has a new president for the next three years. 

The newly elected president accepted the position and stated that he would like to take the tournament back to what it used to be.  

Anonymous sources told the staff of bluefieldspulse.com that there was wide support not to re-elect David Hodgson because he was too serious and strict. After announcing the winner, Mr. Johnson stated that it was time to start the healing process. He was referring to the Moscos team, which has been banned from the tournament for the past two years. Others echoed opposition to the idea since the Moscos hosted its own tournament last year in the immediate vicinity of the NIST.

The Bluefields, Nicaragua male team once again showed up to the tournament with no transportation arrangement thereby forfeiting games that should have been played. They didn't even show up to the meeting on Monday, not sure if they would have had a place in Kennedy's cram room. Anyway, the fact is they didn't show up. I find it a bit incomprehensible to spend between four and five hundred dollars to come to the US for a two-day tournament and not have transportation arrangements.