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An Open Letter to Sports Network International (SNI)

Before we begin, the results: positive. See you inside the Ocean Center this year.

Some Background
When I was stationed in Netherlands in the early to mid 1990s, I was trained in visual adjudication by two expert staff members of WGI who flew over and spent time with me and other prospective judges for Color Guard Nederland, the Dutch offshoot of WGI. I spent hours reading, quizzing, watching videos and making recorded commentary and then spent the next couple of indoor (Marching band-type) color guard seasons judging General Effect.

In 2009, I began writing books for the Military Drill World (MDW). My second book was an adaptation of Winter Guard Internationals Adjudication Manual that I adapted for the MDW with WGI’s permission. While I was writing it, I was also explaining it the best I could on a couple different forums with one of those forums belonging to SNI. In that forum I’m sure that I came off as a know-it-all to the owners and staff of SNI and also other forum contributors and readers. That was not my intention, but at the time, I did not know how else to relay the information that I had.I thought I could help others see what I saw, even if it ruffled some feathers at first.

I not only ruffled feathers, I insulted SNI’s the owners and staff by what I wrote in the forum- with the intention of explaining how the adjudication system I wrote would serve the MDW much better than any other system. Now, while I still believe that, I could have come across much better and even waited until I finished writing the manual and even sent complimentary copies to SNI’s staff for their perusal.

My insults to the National High School Drill Team Championships judging system was a slap in the face to Justin Gates and Samantha Ste.Claire. and Justin took appropriate steps by removing me from the forum and banning me from SNI events. I forced you into taking steps that, in the eyes of some, made you the bad guys, when it was my fault all along.

And the Main Point
sni_nhsdtc_logoIt is embarrassing to write this, to admit I was very wrong in my approach to something I have been so passionate about for decades. However, sin must be called sin and as a Christian man, while I may never live up to, Jesus, the Model set forth by God, I must strive to reach that goal and ask forgiveness when I fall short and boy, did I fall short.

Justin and Samantha: I sincerely apologize to you both and to the others who I may have offended on the SNI forums or elsewhere concerning this issue. Hindsight may be 20/20, but sometimes it takes some time for an incident to come into focus.

Yes, I would like to be allowed back into SNI’s competitions, but I know that it may not be the right time yet, that is up to Mr. Gates and Ms. Ste.Claire. I do not expect open arms and embraces any time soon, but maybe one day I can sit down with you both after a long Nationals weekend and we can laugh at how stupid my actions were.

I have never wished SNI, the owners or staff any ill, I only hope the best for them all. After all, a Nationals weekend is something that lives on in the memories of thousands of former cadets across the Drill Nation.