Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Henry Dawson: nerd, geek, swot --- and secretary of the Dalhousie University chess club

We already have a pretty clear (albeit highly stereotyped) image of the sort of people who join college chess clubs, as opposed to say ending up captaining the football team.

Equally, we know the type of person who always agree to 'help out a good cause' by ending up on the executives of clubs and societies.

But always they are consigned to the dogsbody recording secretary role in the background ----- never the glamorous upfront president.

And we know the difference between those natural leaders of every classroom (the students who can charm teacher or pupils alike without ever reading the course materials) and their opposites : the charisma-less swots with their heads in the books who always get the best marks.

Martin Henry Dawson's older brothers were more in the charming and natural leader category, while he was 100% full swot.

And yet, a clue as to how he 'led without being a natural leader' might lie in his strong sense of justice and instinctive support for the underdog.

Right up to his dying day, for a good cause, Henry Dawson never could say no.

And in his own modest way: once onboard, he wouldn't let go either.

All in all, a man very easy to badly underestimate....


So far, I have found him as business manager for his high school annual yearbook cum newspaper, secretary (treasurer) of his university chess club and of his undergraduate medical student society.

He was secretary of innumerable organizations over his entire life.

Someone willing to step into the breech, hardworking reliable, honest but not a dynamic or aggressive leader.

And he was also 'one council rep among many' on numerous occasions.

But for the very few times he headed up ending any organization, I think only special circumstances (no other candidate?) put him there.

It seemed he was never the natural choice of the membership considering who to vote for to represent their organization.

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