Mud throwing is not a team sport

Before we begin let’s take a look at some basic definitions.  First, what is MUD?  According to dictionary.com, MUD can be described as a wet soft earth or earthy matter, as on the ground after rain, at the bottom of a pond, or along the banks of a river.  I think we can all agree on that one.  They also suggest a more informal definition; “Scandalous or malicious assentation’s or information”.  An example of this might be,  “The opposition threw a lot of mud at the candidate”.

Secondly, what is a team? The simple definition (for the purpose of this article) can be stated as “A number of persons asmud throwingsociated in some joint action to perform a task”.  Many of us think of teams as related to sporting events. But teams can also be a group of individuals that are part of a group or organization that have a common goal or task to complete.  At your place of work you might refer to your coworkers as a team.  Other teams can be your study groups when taking college courses, or even members of clubs you belong to.   As a matter of fact, as members of the ARA of NJ, we can be considered a team.  We are all associated with each other and we do have common tasks, such as the success of our industry, promoting standards, educating our potential customers and future rental entrepreneurs.

Speaking of sports, I read in the Wall Street Journal recently an article comparing the careers of David Wright and Derek Jeter.  For those of you who are baseball fans, I’m sure you are aware of these two NY stars.   For those of you that are not, just bear with me for a moment.

If you look on paper at the statistics of these players they are pretty similar, but the big difference over their careers is that Derek Jeter has been a member of the very successful NY Yankees while David Wright has been a team player for the not so successful NY Mets.  Now what if the situation was reversed?  Do you think we might see each player a little differently?  The obvious answer is yes.  Although both players have great individual stats, the success of the entire team makes the difference.  Although you can be thought of as a great superstar, the bottom line is you will be judged and remembered favorably on the success of your team.

One common trait both these players share is they are representatives of their respective teams.  If you notice at press appearances they each play down their individual accomplishments and speak highly of their team accomplishments.  This, to me, is a sign of a “class act”.  You can be sure if either of these players started throwing MUD, (see informal definition above) the press and the fans would be all over them.   We can list many sports figures in various sports that have learned this the hard way.   How many athletes have had their careers cut short when they take up MUD throwing?   Although they might think it hurts the person they are aiming it at, in the long run, it will come back and only hurt the one throwing it.

I consider myself fortunate that I can work with many members of the ARA of NJ. I consider these people players on my team, not only on large events, but also for advice and suggestions on everything from products on the market to specifics on venues and events we all commonly do.  As team players, we respect each other and keep communication channels open.  Throwing MUD is not even an option.  Our respect for the rental industry and its success is the glue that binds us together.  Much like David Wright and Derek Jeter, we represent our Association and the Rental Industry.  For those of us that have been in the industry for many years, we have developed a bond that keeps us not only as friendly competition but as team members we can count on.

For those of us in this Industry and any other Industry or sport that think MUD throwing will make them a better person, I believe they should do some soul searching.  When the day is over, and you are alone each of us needs to look himself or herself in the mirror and say: “Am I proud of who I am and what I did today”.

There is no sport that I am aware of that tolerates MUD throwing or encourages it.  Even politicians have learned that it doesn’t get votes.  The most successful individuals and companies have learned that teamwork is the key to success.

Growing up, my grandfather told me often “If you have nothing nice to say about somebody, don’t say anything at all”.   Many family dinners and gatherings he was very quiet.   I assume he had his reasons.  The point though is well taken and understood.

We have all made choices in our lives and have chosen careers that suit us.  I would think that we should all respect each other not just for our own personal satisfaction but for the good of our industry.  The next time you feel like throwing some MUD, step back and think of the consequences.  Mud throwing is not a team sport. That is clear as day and NIGHT.

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Pinball Machines and Water Buffalos

What in the world could these two items have in common?  They are as far apart in similarity as Democrats and Republicans (lets save that for another blog).  Why are these items of interest? Believe it or not, we can learn so much from these two objects.  Let’s take a look at the brief history of each.    When I’m done you might be thinking about a new career path.

For those of you that can remember the first coin-operated pinball machines were invented in 1931. They became popular very quickly and really grew in popularity after World War II. The ten year period of 1948-58 is referred to by some as the “Golden Age of Pinball”. Once video games emerged onto the scene; the popularity of the pinball machine declined.  By the late 1980’s the classic pinball machine, as we know it, was no longer even being manufactured.  The classic pinball machine has been replaced by video machines that are more electronically progressive, with video screens and computer technology.

Amazingly, “Classic Pinball” has become almost as popular as it was back in the day. It has become an “in” item with high-profile celebrities, baby boomers, business executives and families. They have become a fixture on many TV shows, commercials, movie sets and many magazine shoots. Perhaps it’s due to the nostalgia factor or the advent of personal home game rooms. Or maybe the realization that an individual can now easily purchase a used pinball machine, or  even the fact that playing a few good games of pinball after a hard day’s work can be a tremendous stress-reliever!

Now the Water Buffalo, I’m pretty certain, has been around much longer than a pinball machine. For hundreds of years, the water buffalo has been used in the fields to pull plows and help in harvesting tasks.  Around the mid 1980’s, about same time as the demise of classic pinball, the water buffalo began to be replaced with industrial farm tractors. They seemed to be more efficient.

Now let’s move to the present time. Low and behold, you have just become the proud owner of a classic pinball machine and a water buffalo.  Now how cool is that?!  There seems to be one slight problem though and it apparently is a big one.

You go to use your pinball machine for the first time and guess what, it’s broken.  So you go outside and try to plow your field with your new water buffalo and yes, you guessed it, the water buffalo has absolutely no clue what to do.  What do you do at the point?   Can you go call the neighborhood pinball machine repairman or locate a water buffalo trainer?  I don’t think so.  You want to know why? Few if any exist anymore!

It seems as new technologies develop the need for the old ways of doing things diminishes. With it so does the means to keep them working and performing.   This would be ok, but what happens when we find the old ways are better. Apparently, the farmers realized that the tractors weren’t exactly what they bargained for. They were costly to maintain and fuel is expensive. They would get stuck in places that a water buffalo would not, and my favorite, the tractors couldn’t provide the natural fertilizer that the water buffalo did.  Do I need to draw a picture?!

Now with all the high tech gadgets and video games out there, why would anyone want a classic pinball machine?  Because it’s fun!  It brings you back to a time when life was simple.  Nothing beats a great game of classic pinball.

So where have all the pinball repairmen and water buffalo trainers gone?  Well when the need for them disappeared so did they.  As for the pinball machines many “tinkerers” or “MacGyvers”” out there are finding new careers that they never dreamed they would be doing years ago.   Recently, in parts of Asia they have opened Water Buffalo training schools; apparently they have located some old timers that are now teaching the new generations “the ways of the water buffalo”.  From what I’ve read, teaching an 800 pound water buffalo to make a left turn is no easy task. It’s not as easy as flipping your blinker on.

So as you can see the Pinball machine and the water buffalo have quite a bit in common. Old methods have found a place in the land of new technology.  I have a strange feeling we will be seeing a lot of this in the coming future.  So hold on to your knowledge of the past, you never know when it will be needed.  If you’re thinking of a career, imagine the possibilities if you could train water buffalos and fix pinball machines.

Published in: on October 7, 2010 at 7:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Rememeber when quality was job #1

Spring training is officially under way.  How exciting is that.  This morning on the radio I heard that CC Sabathia was throwing faster than a runaway Toyota Prius.   For those of you that have not been following the Toyota saga that would be 94 mph.   First that is great pitching, but most disturbing is it being compared to faulty car performance.

Yes. Toyota is having its issues but they are just one piece of a economy that is so based on price rather than quality that corners are being cut and systems are failing.  I personally see this as a wake up call that as a society, we have to really take  a look at what is important and where we want to be in the immediate future.

As a small business owner I see first hand how price is driving this economy.  Its like nothing else matters.  Is the public so bent on a cheap price they are willing to risk not only quality but safety as well?   I think we have reached a point when we all need to speak up and let our voices be heard.  Please bring back quality.  I would like to see the day when “Made in America” means something again.

If we continue on like we are going, we will  see more accidents, more equipment recalls, more companies filing chapter 11, more lawsuits and more products that we depend on coming in from overseas.  Lets start to demand and insist upon quality made products and services.

Not only will this improve our safety and lifestyles, it will also serve as an economic stimulus for our country to get out of its growing debt.  Yes, we all agree quality comes with a price.  But you know what else comes with quality, that would be “PRIDE”.  Lets make and provide products and services that we can be proud of.  Pride is something that is needed today.  Lets take  pride to live in this country,  take pride to be an active member of a society that produces  exceptional products. Pride is something money can’t buy, it has to come from within.

Spring training is a new beginning for a new season.  You know the pride you have when your favorite team wins after playing an awesome game?  Lets have that same pride on the products and services we deliver.