As unlikely as it sounds, good policy can enhance your life. Policy formation (essentially making rules) is a mundane affair. It’s not glorious and if there were ever a “behind the scenes” activity in sports administration, policy making would be the farthest behind the scenes as you can get. Yet, it creates the framework for the sport to conduct itself successfully. Policy has embedded within it the organization’s intrinsic values and core philosophies. Policy works in concert with the goals of the federation, and should be cohesive with the actual actions of the group. Policies in bodybuilding (usually contained in the by-laws and rule-book of the respective federation) of most federations seem to be written decades ago, never updated, and not synchronized with their day-to-day operations. Even worse, they omit policies on crucial business activities. In fact, good luck finding most federation’s by-laws on-line. And of those you can find, the policies are not version controlled or properly dated. Not that important as it turns out – no one really reads them anyway it seems.
Drafting or revising a good piece of policy is a satisfying endeavour. (I suppose that says more about me than about policy making.) Because good policy moves the organization forward. Even a small, tiny policy change can have a positive ripple effect. Take Physique Canada’s most recent change to its membership policy for Tier 1 Elites for example. Our new policy for our top-level bodybuilders and physique competitors is the following: you must maintain your membership in good standing, even in the years that you are not actively competing. To make this change affordable, we now offer a non-competing membership for $50. So, how is this a positive thing? How does this move our federation forward? It closes a loophole that exists in every other bodybuilding federation: no more “taking a year off” from competing in order to drug-up without being subject to doping control. Yes, that’s what fake-naturals are doing – they do not renew their federation’s membership, eschew getting on stage for that year to avoid drug-testing; meanwhile, they jack up on ‘roids to their heart’s content. Then they re-join the federation and compete again “clean”. Unlike most, we conduct off season drug testing, which is a critical component of any legitimate anti-doping program. Now, we’ve closed the loophole for potential cheating by insisting that Tier 1 Elites maintain their membership in good standing (at a very affordable fee) and thereby submit themselves to no-notice out-of-competition drug testing. Failing to maintain their membership results in getting stripped of the Tier 1 Elite status. We won’t tolerate the possibility of cheaters crashing our party – no more parachuting in un-tested and stealing a trophy from a hard-working drug-free athlete.
Do you really support drug-free bodybuilding? Well, put your money where your mouth is: pony up the $50 and make the statement: I’m drug-free even when I’m not signed up for the next competition. Ain’t policy making exciting?
President, Physique Canada