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New Year’s Speech 2015

Dear VCCers and other guests, Thank you for coming with so many to listen to my musings. In case anyone remembers my previous musings, it will be known that I like to dream with you. Not dreaming for the sake of dreaming, but realizing them. I want to develop things in, get people moving, shake things up once in a while. And in doing so, it helps to visualize your dreams. Abstract? Let me give you some examples from the past year. Everyone who comes to the park here is always impressed by the beautiful accommodation we have. We think so ourselves. So much so that for several years we have been trying to get into the national T20 finals day. Until last year, in vain. Therefore, in early 2014 we decided to organize our own T20 day as the opening of the cricket season. That Hague cricket day on April 27 was named Muntaz Foundation T20 day, named after its sponsor, the father of co-organizer Akbal Mohamed. That day became a great success: 4 top teams from the region against each other for the “real thing” as the ultimate preparation for the cricket season. With that experience in the bag, our beautiful and ever-improving grass wicket and accompanying accommodation, and the fact that we were the first and only cricket club to be named a focus club by the KNCB this year (and by the public as the nicest club in LV), we put together a bid book to convince the KNCB that VCC deserved to host the national T20 final day as well. Successfully, as we got the allotment, albeit only four weeks before the scheduled date. Which left us with the volunteers led by Mark Steffelaar to pull an event out of the ground in the middle of the vacations. But that dream had already come true. Whether there will be that T20 final day again this year we don’t know, but at least we will organize the2nd edition of the Muntaz Foundation Cup this year (with a junior variant). So a highlight in August was that T20 final day, however the month was overshadowed by the death of two members. In early August we first learned of the death of youth member Saad Hussain, followed very shortly thereafter by the death of member of merit and former chairman Wouter Steffelaar. Saad was not long a member and an enthusiastic cricketer in the U16. Wouter was a long-time member and played a crucial role in selling and overseeing the move from Duivesteyn to Westvliet internally and externally. He saw that as an important step to continue to grow as an association and remain among the top in the Netherlands. And how I would have wished him and us to have moved one step closer to that top this year with our first team. We were close, but on August 24 in the all-deciding final at HBS all the quarters fell wrong, narrowly missing out on promotion. But this year there are new rounds, new opportunities, and therefore new dreams. It pleases many that we are slowly beginning to reap the benefits of a thriving youth department. The average age of our first team was already low last year; it won’t get any higher next year, now that a number of routinarians have indicated their desire to play lower. Moreover, the Inland Revenue is on the cricket clubs’ heels (by the way, don’t worry, we’ve always done business nicely), but that does mean that tighter regulations will make it much more expensive to attract the next Rob Fischer, Malcolm Waller or Ethan Bartlett. And for the balance in our leftal it’s kind of good to have some more experienced players as well and therefore have a bit more clout literally and figuratively. We also dreamed of the 100th youth member. We were very close to that, we were stranded at 98. The score is currently 95 (we have “lost” 3 as they have transferred to the seniors). Help make that dream come true and point out to your little cousin or neighbor girl the possibilities of mastering the first tricks just now in the gym of the Maartens School in Voorburg. Finally, I see us facing the task of continuing to transform VCC into VCC 2.0. VCC has evolved from a familiar club with less than 100 members to one that really matters in the Netherlands. We are being watched from all sides. We are in an increasingly complex world with a changing composition of members and a consequently we are also facing changing demand. How we deal with that as a club and how we want to organize for it is currently the subject of much discussion. Because, of course, not everything went well last year. To improve that, we will have to organize differently, perhaps set different goals and also communicate differently. The board is currently thinking about it. Small groups are brainstorming and others are taking a course on how to find more volunteers and what they all need to do. But in all those dreams, we need you! VCC is not the club of the president, of the board or of a select club of members. VCC belongs to all of us. We have the ambition to review our multi-year plan and would like to present it at the ALV in the first week of April. And we want everyone to have a chance to have their say in that, and so I invite everyone on Monday, March 9 at 8 p.m. to have their voice heard in this. So that we know what the members are dreaming about and we can dream with the members and work together to make those dreams a reality in 2015 and beyond. I wish you all a wonderful and healthy 2015!