The HMBIA annual General Assembly is arguably the most important event on the HMB calendar – not only are captains and federation representatives given a debriefing of the highlights of the year gone by, but also critical decisions are made for the year ahead.
Edouard Eme, the HMBIA President appealed to all participants of the Summit and its organizers:
Of course, this year’s General Assembly was unusual. However, even in the proposed circumstances, we were all able to get together for a common goal to develop the HMB sports, that unites us and what we all love.
Of course, there was a lack of lively discussion and communication. But, nevertheless, we could not neglect the safety of people.
Having the GA 2020 in Romania would have been awesome. It would have put us in the mood for Battle of the Nations. Also, it was great to be able to study the reports and proposals beforehand.
I am grateful to everyone who took part in the Summit, to everyone who did such a large-scale work to prepare this event. We are all one team and this is a source of pride!
Gavin Stewart, the HMBIA Vice President told HMBIA News about the most important things that he personally and the rest of the Summit participants could take out based on the results of the event, which was held in an online format that is unusual for all of us.
“In accordance with Covid-19 restrictions, HMBIA was forced to hold the 2020 General Assembly online. This brought us new challenges, as we were entering new territory for this format, but where there are challenges, there are also opportunities; therefore, rather than just convert the format, we aimed at completely changing it.
In order to optimise participant involvement, files and presentations were uploaded before the Assembly itself, giving people time to view and consider presentations, and put forward questions about each area of discussion. This proved successful, and it allowed the presenters to focus on the questions during the Assembly.
135 participants were registered to take part in the online assembly – more than twice the highest previous number of participants to any GA – divided into Active (rights to ask questions) and Passive (observation only) members. Managing such numbers required preparation and knowledge, and we knew that technical issues could be against us.
Just under 80 HMBIA members took part in the GA in the end, and their participation was more successful than our technical aspect (computers crashing, sound not sharing correctly, etc.)! Perhaps the three most critical points came from the Marshal, Tournament, and Authenticity Committees, as the presenters had the most questions to answer. National representatives listened attentively and asked further questions in the most professional manner possible, underlining the seriousness with which our community takes this sport.
Although a live General Assembly is universally preferred, we still enjoyed a successful Assembly this year, and from an organisational point of view, there are many aspects which we will take into future planning of this crucial event. Although technically it was not perfect, the organisers in HMBIA took the challenge, identified the opportunities, and created a success which we will benefit from in the future”, said Mr. Stewart.
Of course, this year all the participants of the GA really missed the opportunity to personally meet with their like-minded people, who have become good friends. But still the event was well-organized, and the organization team took on a mammoth task to make it happen, and all its participants had an opportunity at least to talk to each other.
HMBIA News asked the participants of this year’s Summit to tell us how they find working in such an unusual online format. Here’s what we found out.
Daniel Winter, the captain of the UK HMB team told us that the event was very well organised, and all the documents provided before hand made everything very clear and is fantastic material for referencing back.
Brad Blackmon from the USA took part in the HMBIA General Assembly for the first time and gave a brief and honest review:
“It was my first year attending so it is hard to compare the online one to the real in person meeting I have heard so much about. Overall it was a simple transfer of information and something I would consider a success during the era of Covid meetings. The HMBIA Office handled the situation very professionally. Was cool to not have to wear pants though”, said Brad.
Unlike Brad, Daniel Felipe from Brazil can compare this Summit with, as he took part in the GA 2019 in Riga. However, Daniel also noted that the GA 2020 turned out to be very efficient:
“It was brilliant how it was managed. We could feel all the care from HMBIA to all the global community. We could not hug and kiss our Friends, but we could chat and feel the spark of the general assembly quite alive. Recorded presentations were very professional and reports were clear.
Questions system was very participative and transparent. We could feel the effort from HMBIA to make this event to be organized and also sensitive. It was like being at GA and a personal meeting was almost forgotten. And of course… I could say everyone missed the party, but we could revive it by chatting about the last GA party! It was awesome”.
Teemu Laiho, the captain of the Finland HMB team, took part as a passive participant and made a number of suggestions on how changes in rules and regulations can be presented to participants:
“I can say that reports which were given beforehand from different committees were really good arrangements. I would like to see this more often, maybe also before face-to-face GA. Some of those had really well all info and what has done and what’s changed, some had good numbers from past season.
About rules, to the Marshal Committee I would like to suggest that they should gather up a file where only changed rules. In format
“old rule how it was – “New rule how it is now” or “New added rule in category X”
Rules are a crucial point in our sport and those should be all clear.
The Saturday live Q&A session was successful, with only a few technical problems that were easily solved. All participants were following rules and it went smoothly through”.
Despite the reason for holding the Assembly in an online format, namely precautions and concern for the safety of representatives of the HMB community around the world, this format had a very positive and important aspect. It was the format that allowed representatives of the most distant countries, such as Australia, New Zealand and Chile to join.
Karla Loba Gatica Iturrieta, the HMB representative from Chile:
“It is a modality that helps us to be able to participate in these instances, because the possibility of traveling to Europe is not always possible, with or without a pandemic.
The availability and access to the General Assembly is greatly appreciated”.
So, the fact that the Summit took place in spite of the present obstacles, and the health of its participants was not threatened by anything, is undoubtedly a success. The online summit gathered a record number of participants who are concerned about the development of our sport. The team of organizers did a great job, which was highly appreciated by the participants of the Assembly. However, let’s hope that next year we will be able to get together without fear and obstacles, calmly shake hands with each other, hug friends and work together for the good of what we all love so much, namely HMB sports.