Sometimes it is difficult to avoid a quick knee jerk reaction. Everyone has the tendency to make that gut reaction without thinking things through or act out to please some immediate emotional response from a support group. 

Sometimes it is difficult to avoid a quick knee jerk reaction. Everyone has the tendency to make that gut reaction without thinking things through or act out to please some immediate emotional response from a support group. When misfortune hits someone, they may just want to vent by lashing out or make snide comments. Think down the road just a bit further. Reality television has created an environment where young people are expected to be dramatic, rewarded for poor behavior and why would we expect anything different from our young people. But is this the way life really works? What if we were to take the higher road? It might make you feel good about yourself and it could even pay-off.

I am sure like me, you watched the 2010 Winter Olympics. The American skier Lindsay Vonn was having a good time in her first run of the Giant Slalom. She slightly missed a gate and was forced off line and crashed into the plastic net fence, unfortunate and regrettable. Because of questionable and deteriorating weather, racers were released at one minute intervals on the same course. Vonn knew her teammate Julia Mancuso was coming down behind her, and for safety precautions, Mancuso was flagged to stop in the middle of a record setting run. Every racer knows that mental preparation is critical to a good run. She was visibly shaken maybe a little too much. She eventually finished in 19th place. I think reality television and the new “me” generation was on full display by both young ladies as the media played for the drama.

I believe Vonn blew a great opportunity. Imagine if she had maneuvered to get under the safety net and off the course, clearing the way for her teammate. What if she did that? What would the public think of this act? Imagine if Mancuso would have finished with a medal in that race? I believe Vonn would have been the hero of the Olympics by acting courageously to help her teammate. But it was not to be and we got the full drama treatment and the news media ate it up.


A Dutch speed skater was on his way to an easy gold medal, but he was misdirected by his coach to a wrong lane and was ultimately disqualified. What a shame and how heartbroken he must be. The skater, as of this writing, is apparently unwilling to meet with the coach and does not plan to forgive him. If I were the Dutch skater’s brother, I would ask him, “Do you know who won the 1999 British Open? It was Paul Lawrie.”

Very few people know Paul Lawrie; even fewer know he was a British Open Champion. But almost all golfers know Jean Van De Velde and clearly remember how he lost the 1999 British Open by imploding and taking a quadruple bogie on the last hole. He will live in infamy, not because of all the other tournaments he has won, but because of his self-imposed dramatic and flamboyant collapse on the 72nd hole.

Now consider the Dutch skater’s unfortunate circumstance: he was disqualified on an obvious gold medal run and it was absolutely not his fault. I know there was more coverage on this event then the gold medal winner. Proof, because I have no idea who won.

If the skater was to make up with the coach and even embrace him with total forgiveness, imagine the marketing and commercial possibilities. I could see ad agencies creating a series of comical ads for them. The real gold would be the cash you could be making and everyone knows you should have been the gold medal winner. He can have it all, if you just think about it for a few moments. That coach could be his new best friend. If I am wrong, what’s the harm? Who do you hurt?

The coach and his family must feel horrible. I believe these commercials would play big in Canada and the United States. I think coming out looking like a hero and making a ton of cash would be worth more than a gold medal, that everyone knows was yours anyways. Maybe taking the high road could pay off, if we just look down that road a bit further and think of the possibilities.

We run across these unfortunate moments in our life and maybe we should ask the question “What would Captain Sully do?” before we act too hastily.


Walls & Ceilings will be in attendance at two important events this month. First off, visit us at the Northwest Wall and Ceiling Industries Annual Trade Show and Convention, April 8-10 at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa, in Tucson, Ariz. Stop by booth #44 and say hello.

Later this month, we’ll be in Denver for the industry’s largest trade show for the wall and ceiling industry April 23-24. The magazine’s staff will be in attendance at INTEX Expo. Be sure to visit our booth #637. W&C