Blades of Inglory. (How do you say 'oops' in Dutch?)
Although I know virtually nothing about the technicalities of any of the sports I'm watching, I am semi-avidly following the Olympics.
Tuesday night's high - or low - point (depending on whether you're Dutch or Korean) had to be when skating coach Gerard Kempers gave a miscue to Dutch speed-skating supremo, Sven Kramer, just as Kramer was nearing the completion of another Gold Medal performance, and a record-breaking one at that. I didn't quite follow what the boo-boo was: something about changing lanes too soon, or too late. In any event, Kramer was disqualified, and the Korean runner-up got the gold.
Now, speed-skating - which Americans only concern themselves with every 4 years, when, all of a sudden, we know who Apollo Ohno and Shani Davis are - is a very big deal in the Netherlands. They have all kinds of folks over for the Olympics, including the Crown Prince, who's yucking it up nightly with the Dutch medalists. So, losing this race in this way is an extraordinarily big and public deal.
It was front page news on AD.NL, where, curiously, a picture of a yucking-it-up Dutch skating team was shown front and center. (I believe that is Coach K to the right, and, if I'm not mistaken - and I may well be - that's Sven Kramer in the black head band.) Presumably, this pic was shot in palmier days. Perhaps they were laughing at a good one the Crown Prince had just told.
Anyway, this has got to be about the Dutch equivalent of Grady Little leaving Pedro Martinez in when he'd clearly run out of arm. Only more so, given that this brouhaha involves a nation, and the Grady Little bad coaching just involved Red Sox Nation.
I trans-babel-ated some of the headlines, so I know that Kramer said "I do not let Kempers fall this way," that "Kramer makes excuses for clumsy action," and that, when he experienced his brain-fart, Kempers was "surplus inferred." (This latter one must have lost a bit in the translation.) But the reference to "fatale blunder" loses nada, zip, zilch.
There's a poll asking whether Kempers should be dismissed after this.
While I probably have no business voting in someone else's election, I voted, "Nee". (Which, when I voted, was the majority sentiment. I guess the Dutch are nicer than we are.)
This all got me thinking of the things that all of us screw up in our work. We hire the wrong people. We miscalculate. We don't catch an error when we proof. We build a product that nobody wants. We choose a bad business partner. We lose a deal we should have closed. We hire a vendor who fails us.
We all - at least I'm guessing we all - make errors in judgement, errors of omission, and errors in execution, at least occasionally. They may be negligible in terms of material impact, but they can also may result in heavy costs.
Most of us don't make the big problem errors on our own. And few of us make the big problem errors publicly.
Sure, some people will know if we f-up. But it's not likely that everyone in the world will.
Poor Gerard Kempers!
I feel a lot worse for him than I do for Sven Kramer, who will no doubt be able to recoup the big bucks, or, rather big euros, that not getting this medal will cost him.
But Kempers...poor bastard.
Will he ever get over his 'surplus inferred,' fatale blunder?
Bet he didn't get much of a night's sleep the other night.
Let's hope the good Dutch citizens keep voting "Nee."